Sitting in a local restaurant, sipping coffee, eating grilled stickies (yeah, yeah I know) killing time while my son, the soon to be 15 year old, is on his first outing in a non-group setting. Remember, it’s not a date; but he did change clothes 3 times!
It’s easier in someways than it was with my daughter. With girls, it’s a different type of worry. I don’t think I have to spell it out, especially for the parents of daughters. That being said, we can’t let our sons off the hook at all.
I said to him in the car, “What’s expected of you tonight?” Surprisingly, there was not the standard eye roll accompanying his answer. He said with much sweetness: “Mom, I know what you have taught me and I know what I need to do—be a gentleman and treat her with respect. It’s just the right thing to do and the right way to be. If you didn’t personally tell me, certainly all of the stories you share, from your own story, to stories of women who need the shelter, to even family members, I know better.”
Teenage attitudes, smart mouths, eye rolling, and sometimes language can take its toll and test the nerves of the most patient of people. Moments like this make all of the rest of the behaviors seem infinitely small and unimportant. This is what a mom wants her teen to learn and most significant—to understand. Of course I stress waiting until older to become intimate, to be better prepared for potential unplanned outcomes that will forever change their life; but I spend much more time on the importance of treating a date or partner with kindness and respect and that consent is a 100% non-negotiable for all parties.
Maybe I need wine instead of coffee and perhaps I am jumping the gun a bit, but it’s never too soon to educate. For tonight, I will simply enjoy the last “first date” my children will experience and try to remember his words echoing in my ears as headed into theater…”It’s not a date mom”. Oh but son, it is, and so we enter a new chapter.