“Mom, I’m in love with him,” she said as she clutched her hand to her heart and stared into my face.
Those six little words from my 18-year-old daughter sent a pang through my heart so strong that I felt it in my jaws too.
All I could muster was a slow head bob and a breathy, “Wow! OK. I’m happy for you!”
But the true thought in my head was “Please God, he better not break her heart.”
I wasn’t totally surprised at her announcement. I have mom-sensory overload. I knew something was up right away. Her cheeks turn bright red every time she mentions his name. Her hands tremble right when she is about to see him. The strings of hearts they leave on each other’s Facebook pages, kisses in the rain, and the constant love note texting. Not to mention the long, late night phone conversations that often culminate with him driving across town to our house just to say goodnight to her in person.
This is a whole new level of parenting, people.
Colic, potty training, broken limbs, shaky math grades, sibling rivalry, and even grade school bullies – you name it, we survived and conquered!
But first love? Where do I even start? I feel like I’m watching a Jenga tower being built before me, and I have one piece and I don’t know what to do with it.
I chewed my nails wondering about her sharing the perfectly crafted heart her father and I worked so hard to nurture. She starts college in a couple weeks, would her outlook change on this relationship? I think about my own experience and how different of a person I was at 21 than I was at 18. How was I suppose to relay that to her without sounding insensitive? Then again, there are many happy couples that fell in love at 18 and went on to lead fruitful lives, right?
For the first time in my 21 years of parenting, I became confused at what my role should be in the situation. Where and when do I add my Jenga piece? I mentioned this to her and she reassured me that she is a smart young woman and I had to trust her. She promised to tell me if she needed my help or advice. Tears welled up in my eyes as I agreed. We’ve spent many nights since, sprawled out on the bed, giggling and chatting about love, bad boys, nice guys, father figures and everything in between if you know what I mean.
Can you believe that once I loosened my control over my daughter and let her fly, our relationship actually became closer? I didn’t think that could happen, but it did.
Here we are, six weeks into the relationship and it is still going strong. We’ve all come a long way. I’ve made it a point to get to know her boyfriend and even give him a playful (but serious) round of twenty questions about his life, viewpoints, family and most of all his feelings for Maya. He sat up tall and answered every one wholeheartedly and passionately. He is a bright, sincere, creative young man and it’s easy to see he truly loves Maya back. They have a great friendship and make a great match. Last night at dinner, I watched as they scootched together, looked dreamily in each other’s eyes and then kissed.
My daughter is in love. In my nightly prayers I send her blessings that this will be a positive experience she’ll cherish for her entire life.
Still, he better not break her heart!
I would love to hear your stories about first love, advice, handling young love, and all that jazz!