I’ve always been a late bloomer, the last to come to the party. It’s true now, as it was at 13.
Remember being 13? All giggly and blush-y and boys (!), with a little bit of Barbie thrown in for good measure. It’s such an awkward age, at least it was for me. Still a kid, with toys and pink rooms, but on the verge of ‘growing up’ and beginning to think that maybe your parents don’t know everything.
I was the last of my girl-friends to come the conclusion that boys could possibly be good, even though they smelled funny at times and made fun of my growing boobs, and couldn’t answer a question without some strange innuendo. My girl-friends made weekend plans to go the movies with the boys – big group dates where one parent would shuttle eight 13-year olds in the back of the station wagon. I always went along, but never really felt comfortable with the boys. I felt awkward, gangly, unsure of myself.
Not long after my thirteenth birthday, I got my first call from a boy. This boy was a nice enough kid, a year or two older than me. He was in the youth group at church, which I had attended once or twice before deciding it wasn’t for me. He called, my mother answered, and heart pounding I walked to the phone.
And then he asked me out.
For realz!! I didn’t know what to say, I was stunned and VERY scared. I knew in my gut that I didn’t want to go, and it wasn’t because of him but was because I just wasn’t ready for this. In a flash, I told him I’d ask my mom and asked him to hold the line.
I ran, sprinted, to my mom in the kitchen. Told her that this boy had asked me to the movies, all on our own. I’m sure she could see the fear in my eyes. Moms are good like that. And so she said:
“I don’t mind if you go, but if you don’t want to go and you don’t want to tell him that, you can tell him that I won’t let you go”.
Cop out? Sure. Best Mom Ever award? You bet.
I did turn down the movie offer, and I did tell him that my mom wouldn’t let me go. Do I feel a little bad about that? Kind of, because I’ve since been turned down for dates and it doesn’t feel good that’s for sure. So maybe he didn’t feel too good about me saying ‘no’ back then. I’m confident he’s over it by now.
I’m still grateful to my mother for taking the fall on that. For letting me grow up at my own speed. Because, as always, kids grow up too fast. Shouldn’t we let them slow down just a little. A play with Barbie in their pretty pink Princess bed?
What’s your best mom or dad memory? What trick are you using to help your kids grow up at their own pace?