I was out the other day with The Girl, doing errands. It was beautiful out – the wildflowers doing their final display. We live out in the country1 and the drive was extraordinarily pleasant. We were heading to the grocery store when she announced that she has a girlfriend. A Girlfriend-Girlfriend, she clarified after I asked.
“I thought you were trying get that verb – what’s his name? Oh, yeah – Chase! I thought you were going to ask verb-boy out?”
[I’m really not sorry, at all. Teasing your Teen is one of the great pleasures of life. Besides, I have very little wiggle room on this one. I did, after all, name her after a season.]
“Well, he and Best Friend #3 are dating.”
“Ah, I see.”
[We continue down the road in my little car. Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock n Roll” comes on, so we gleefully sing along. When the song stops, I ask The Girl to tell me about her girlfriend.]
“What’s her name?”
“Pretty Girl Name.”
“That’s nice. Haven’t heard anything about her.”
*teenofended* “I have told you all about her, before.”
[I am amused but keeping it on the downlow because this really IS the first mention of Pretty Girl Name.] “Ah. Well, I am sorry. I guess it’s my old brains making me forget.”
“Ah, you’re just 30 years old, Mom!”
[I just snort at this blatant butter-up attempt. After a few more miles, I ask her tell me more about Pretty Girl Name. She does so, with enthusiasm. She is happy and animated. She describes Pretty Girl Name’s likes and dislikes in music, food, clothing, anime. We ramble on, like you do.]
I don’t know if this is something permanent in her world2. All the literature I have read 3 says otherwise though. Kids in her age group are just feeling their way through life, trying on different things, seeing if they fit. I didn’t offer her any unasked for advice. Nor did I say anything that could be construed as judgmental. For one, if she does decide this is a life path that she wants to stay on, I would not be fussed about it. For two, being anything other than gently supportive4 is The Wrong Thing To Do with kids her age.
Am I worried about this? Yes, but not in the “traditional” sense. I am worried that it might cause her some social problems. We do live in a small Texas town. I am worried that some of her family might not be understanding or supportive or willing to just step back and let her make her own decisions. I worry about her because I love her and I want to make sure that she is happy and healthy. That she knows she is loved and appreciated. And that we are always, always there for her.
Addendum: Wanna have a moment of pure terror? Google “gay teens” and see what the fourth hit (out of 24,000,000) is.
PSA: This is my kid, on my journal that we are discussing. If you feel that you have to share something ugly or discriminatory? Why, you can cheerfully go fuck yourself.
19 thoughts on “Oh, hey. Milestone.”
Sounds to me that with a mother like you, whichever path your child ends up on, she’s going to be just fine! ;D
Thank you so much. 🙂
“I want to make sure that she is happy and healthy.”
This is the most important thing; and it seems like you are doing a great job with Girl. Much love and patience to you both through this new chapter.
I appreciate your saying that, Treasure. 🙂
In the event of reincarnation, and a non-linear timestream, I would like to reserve a place as your child, please.
Me too! Shotgun, I call shotgun!
Aww! That’s one of the nicest things anyone’s said to me. 🙂
Well done.. both of you!
She IS pretty super, you know. 😀
I wouldn’t worry too much about bullying. The fact that she is comfortable talking to you about the subject at all shows that your relationship with her is strong enough to help her through any of that. Besides, if anyone hurts her, they have a rather enormous clan of people-what-loves-the-girly to deal with. And many of them have very large collections of medieval weaponry.
I hope so, Rob.
RE: medieval weaponry -> *snortlaugh* True. True.
I know so. The girly is a bright spot in the lives of anyone she knows. You get massive amounts of credit for that.
You can always broach the subject of how open/out-of-the-closet she’s comfortable being with the rest of the world. I think it won’t hurt for her to be aware that some people will ignorantly judge her, so that she can think about it and be prepared with a well thought out response when the time comes. Even if this is a “phase”, or she breaks up with Pretty Girl next week, and moves on to a boy, she might appreciate a conversation that prepares her to stand by a friend in a similar situation.
I like that you’re treating this as a “This is what is for now. It may stay, it may go, but it’s the is that we’re living together now,” instead of as a Major Life Defining Moment That Will Forever Mark Her. I think a lot of parents, whether they embrace or reject the idea of a same-sex interest, might see it as The Choice being made, right there, for life. But you and your literature are right. Kids are figuring it out as they go, sussing out how love and emotions and relationships are going to work for them.
If what she takes away from this is that love is love and relationships are about who the other person is and how well you fit together, then she’ll be better off for the light touch on larger meanings in the long run.
You consistently amaze me with what a great parent you are.
Aww, thanks Rowan. Esp. coming from you, that is a fabulous compliment.
I love the way you’re handling this. We’re still (hopefully) a decade away from dating at my house, but when we get there I hope I can handle it with your kind of grace. We’ve had the conversation about why [Friend] has two mommies instead of a mom and a dad (because they love each other and decided to get married and have a family) and why [Cousin-in-a-same-sex-marriage] had to adopt a baby instead of just growing one (because two men can’t make a baby together), and my daughter has informed me that she’s going to marry [Female Friend] because she is CERTAINLY not going to be growing any babies in HER body (*snickers*). But I think it’s just easier to handle those kinds of questions in the context of 6-year-old innocence, you know? It sounds so horrible, but I’m not worried about my kids being homosexual. I’m worried about other people hurting them because of it. We need a better world.
No, I totally hear you on that.
It is a scary world sometimes. I see a lot of wonder and magic. I also see a metric ton of scary.
sounds like conversations i’ve had with my son since he was 16. and i handled them much the same way! “well, tell me about the pookie, i’m interested!”
very well played, mom. WELL played. 🙂
Thank you, 🙂