Tuesday, September 13, 2016

My Baby Has a Crush

Last Friday morning I was going about my normal morning routine.  I set the breakfast table, and next to each of the boy's juice glass, I leave a vitamin gummy.    It's super cheesy, I know, but my mom did it for me, and I have continued this instinctively without even realizing it. 
Four little gummies. I even pick out each of the boy's favorite colors. 

I once told my therapist that I like having all my birds in the nest. It not only makes me feel happy and hen-like, but it gives me a sense of control. Something  I need a lot of.  Hence the reason for the therapist.

I went about my day, happily knowing that I even packed a healthy lunch for them in their color coded reusable lunch containers.  (Again, control issues, I know).  

My oldest son is now 13 and to my knowledge, up until 4 p.m. that evening, he liked football, dogs, video games, friends,  fighting with his brothers and eating copious amounts of food at one time.  But at 4:01 p.m. my world came to a halt. 

He had asked to go to a high school football game with his friends.  Although this made me feel uneasy and out of control, I agreed to it, because that is what I need to do according to my therapist. If it were up to me, I would lock them all in the house for popcorn and movie night, even if it was against their will.  But I'm trying to make progress, so I agreed.

But when I asked him why his sudden interest in high school football came about, he said he wanted to see a girl.  I could hear screeching tires in my brain.  Wait, what?  A girl? Who is this "girl" ( heavy on the air quotes) and why is my son being so honest with me? Couldn't he have said, he wanted to check the school out, or he likes football? Here he was, being all honest.   As cool as I tried to be, I'm sure my face had all of the above written all over it.

I immediately texted Don asking if he knew about this "girl" who our son was wanting to meet at the game.  His response was just " yes".  It turns out everybody knew but me.  Maybe I was too busy treating him as a six-year-old to notice.

So I dropped 3 of his friends and him off at the game.  I watched as the moved their little herd into the front gates.  I waiting in the car to make sure they were safe, and I truth be told, took a few pictures.  My oldest bird had flown the proverbial nest.  I didn't cry or anything. I just looked in the review mirror at myself and thought, how is this even possible?

I called my mom.  Naturally, she wanted to know who the girl was, I said I didn't know, anything other than her name. And that they met through a friend on Instagram.  INSTAGRAM! Is that the 8th grade equivalent of Tinder? Or for the older folks, Match?  

My husband had taken the other boys camping so my mom suggested I go to Target to avoid the empty nest. I was already on my way.

I reminisced that the first time I stepped foot in this Super Target was 13 years prior when my son, who is now a walking hormone was in his little carrier. We would wander the aisles and pick up essentials like, diapers, wine and coffee.

I ended up meeting a few friends out later that night for some drinks and of course talked about this.  To make matters even worse, they told me rumors of what some junior high girls were up to these days.  None of their daughters (of course), but they had intercepted some photos of young girls that were a bit provocative.  I ordered another martini, and we talked about it.  If there is one thing I do when something is on my mind, is I talk about it, ad naseum, until I feel better.   This has been known to drive my husband crazy because we have still not finished a conversation about something that began 14 years ago.

The next day, I felt a little bit more clear-headed and asked my son how it went, meeting the "girl".   Based on the advice from a male friend of mine, he said that I needed to be interested but not weird, just normal and "cool". So I said, " so you like her?" He said, "yeah."   Do you mean, like a girlfriend? "yeah", he said.  My mouth dropped open.  He stood there looking at me. I'm so damn proud of this kid for being honest, but at the same time, I'm feeling reality which had hit me in the face, that he is not a little kid anymore.

I said, "that's cool." and he walked away.

I'm not going to say, I stalked his Instagram account, figuring out her last name and then stalked her mother's Facebook page or anything, but I did come to the realization, that she may be a really down to Earth girl. Who likes, football, dogs and pizza.  And her mom may have pictures of her on her first day of school just like I have. 

He is in Jr. High after all, and it is no secret that when I was his age, I wasn't boy crazy, I was boy certifiably insane.  And that didn't stop until, well, I'm not sure it ever did.  This isn't marriage; it's the first crush.

It was still a perfect opportunity to do a refresher course on the birds and the bees, as well as the talk about boundaries.  To which his response was, "You know I'm in 8th grade, right?"

He meant that he is still young, and what I heard is that he is growing up too damn fast.

Eighth grade.  We are on the threshold of high school and in less than a year, he will be crossing it. 

It reminds me of a time in college when I was in love.  This was before I was attached to a smart phone.  I took my watch off. Covered the clocks in my apartment and put tape over the digital clock in my jeep.   I had a day without time.  I wanted to spend it with this person because I didn't know how long it was going to last, and I didn't want it to end.  It was our day without time, and I never forgot it.  We were suspending the belief that time stood still for us. Love is something that you want to last forever.

I'm not saying that that wasn't love because, for that one day, it certainly felt like it.  But I had no idea what guttural, rip your heart out love was until I felt my son kick me from the inside for the first time.
My love for him has only grown, and the realization that he now is experiencing something that makes him feel, even a tiny minutia of the love I have for him, is a gift,.

I will release any control I mistakenly perceive that I have.

And let him experience it on his own.

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