Rules of dating
February 15, 2007
My second born son will be turning 11 at the end of the month.
Yesterday he called his girlfriend to wish her a Happy Valentine’s Day. Yes, that is right I said girlfriend. Hold me.
I have discovered long forgotten truths about dating in the preteen world, which differs vastly from the grown-up world.
Rules for being a girlfriend or boyfriend at 11 years old:
1) You do not actually go anywhere together.
2) You do not make eye contact with each other.
2a) If you happen to make eye contact with each other accidentally you will avert your eyes and quickly run away to the other side of the room.
3) You will not speak directly to each other in public.
3a) You may talk occassionally on the phone, but you will not mention these phone calls in person.
3b) If you are in a group you may talk to everyone else in the group, except for your boyfriend/girlfriend.
4) If you have something to tell the other person, you will tell their friend who will relay the message to them. No matter what the message, “I like your shirt.” “You have a big booger hanging off your nose.” “Want to sit next to me?” you will shrug noncommitally and act like it is no big deal.
5) The amount you ignore the person is directly proportional to how much you like them.
If you saw my son and his “girlfriend” in public together, you wouldn’t realize that they even knew each other.
I know one day I will look back at this and wish I could turn the clock back to this simpler time in his life. A time before he has been hurt by a girl. A time before he guarded his heart a little more closely. A time before he became cynical and jaded about love.
But for now I can’t help but feel protective. I want to grab the little 70 pound girl in the girl’s bathroom, push her up against the sinks, and tell her, “Hurt my son and I’ll hurt you.” I want to, but I won’t.
Instead I watch from a distance, holding my breath a little. This is what they don’t tell you when you bring that baby home from the hospital. That for the rest of their life, every pain they feel you will feel also, sometimes more acutely than they feel it.
And I have seven children. No wonder I need drugs.
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