Friday, January 18, 2008

J-Man Has A Girlfriend

Intelligence reports started coming in on Tuesday. J-Man, it was reported, had officially declared he had his first girlfriend. I could feel the gray hairs meeting on the top of my head, reminding each other that they’d be having new neighbors really soon.

Now, I would have loved to talk to him about it, but I wanted him to tell me first. And, I didn’t want to be too snoopy, at least not this soon.

This morning, we are driving to school and he says, “I know you know.”

We went round and round about what I knew and when I knew it for a while. Then, I unloaded his bike from the back of the car. I said, “I was waiting for you to tell me.” He said, “You didn’t ask.” I forgot about the requisite parental privacy invasion clause in my contract.

After many half-ass attempts to talk to these kids over the years, I’ve hit upon a couple of sure-fire methods. With the boys it’s go for a ride in the car. They don’t have to look at you, but are in proximity, so they got the “Mom loves you vibe.”

With Em, the best method is to sit right across from each other, maybe even holding hands—or touching in some way, like having my arms draped over her with foreheads touching.

I sensed he wanted to talk about it, but didn’t see that we’d be alone in the car anytime soon, so I did a J-Man. He likes to talk by e-mailing me from six feet above me in the loft. So, what did I do? I called him on the phone. He called me doing so, “random.” I had all kinds of things running through my head.

HAH: So, do you want to tell me about this girlfriend? [Please, don’t let her be 35 and one of your teachers]

J-Man: Her name is *Suzy* [Ah, a name I recognize—one of his GATE friends]

HAH: She was at the basketball game Saturday?

J-Man: Yup. [You seemed a little eager to spend an entire afternoon with just sweaty teenage boys]

HAH: So, what does it mean to be a boyfriend? [Don’t you dare say you hope to get your own stable going to make a little spending money.]

J-Man: What do you mean? It means what you think it means. [Son, you don’t know what I think it could mean]

HAH: It means all kinds of things to different people, how does it look to you?

J-Man: I dunno. [Long, close, slow dances and liplocks have no place in there, right?]

HAH: Will you be going out on dates, just the two of you?

J-Man: No, her parents are strict; I don’t think they’ll let her. [Thank you parents of *Suzy*]

HAH: So, you’ll be doing the group get-together thing? [Damn right!]

J-Man: Yes.

HAH: I think we’ll be revisiting the safe sex talk though, okay?

J-Man: Yes. [At least he didn’t say, “too late.”]

We talk about sex frequently – the physiological mechanics, the emotional consequences, and the way to behave and treat your partner if you do decide you’re going to have sex. I don’t condone having sex young. I’d like them to wait. They know that too. If you ask any of them when they are allowed to get married or make me a grandma, they’ll, by rote, say, “I’ll be at least 25 years old and have an education and a j-o-b.” Kind of a family joke, but the idea behind it is sincerely and deeply meant. I want them to get a start in life and not be tied down by the aftermath of having sex early or starting a family or being forced to make a choice about abortion or adoption. There are more condoms laying around all over this house than in some 3rd world nations.

But, I also know that ultimately, it won’t be my choice – and I won’t know when it happens. My parents didn’t. I’m pretty sure it will shock me too. I want them to be armed with as much information as they can load into their brain despite that it retracts in proportion with the growing strength of their hormones and urge to procreate.

I know, I’m making some leaps from first group-date girlfriend to me getting an appliqu├ęd sweatshirt from Wal-Mart with “World’s Best Grandma,” but jeez. How did we get here so fast?

© Lori Hahn, 2008


Jos said...

Hi Lori,
What a wonderful post! I love it!

p.s.: just a little remark: for the time being (we are investigating alternative options) we would like our Contributing Authors to only use their name as a 'tag' -- this way your post will show up on the list on the left sidebar showing your posts. When filling out a tag, just typing the first letters of your name will make it show up for you to click. I hope you won't mind, but the use of other tags makes these tags appear as "author names" as well.
p.p.s: your post contains a lot of html codes, which seems to indicate that you are probably (?) using MS-Word or something to write your posts. If this is the case, may I suggest you copy/past your text into the HTML-mode rather than the Compose-mode of our editor?
Please let me know if I can be of assistance, ok?

Mo and The Purries said...

I think you're a great mom.
I wouldn't be the parent of a teenager today.... well, okay maybe for all the tea in China...

I think it's great that you're not only talking with your kids about S-E-X but about SAFE sex! Kudos to you!

Anonymous said... sound like such a fantastic usual way to handle things is to ask too many questions and then ask hubby to step in...Our wonderful 16 year old
has had a boyfriend for a year...we love him..they go to different schools and don't see each other that often...
Jos..I don't know what the heck your talking about...could you spend a year or two teaching me the computer? maun

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Lori --

I've got a second grader who has been hanging around a girl (both are in the Gifted program, too). I may need some instructions in the whole sex talk thing... got a manual lying around I can borrow?

Jos said...

No Problem, Maunie. Nothing you need to worry about. The only thing we would like you all to do is only enter your name (as it appears on he list on the left hand sidebar) in the "labels for this post"-section at the bottom of your posts and - for the time being - nothing else. Of course we admins will check and correct this anyway :)

Me. Here. Right now. said...

No problem Jos - thanks!

Maun - I hope I am doing okay, I fly by the seat of my pants - we'll see.

Mo - I think it's the only thing we can do. It's tough, this teen thing.

SHG - Yeah, mine were in second grade...yesterday.

Me. Here. Right now. said...

No problem Jos - thanks!

ndpthepoetress Jean Michelle Culp said...

I admire you Lori Hahn! If more Parents could be like you and keep the lines of communication with their kids open, then perhaps early pregnancies would surely decline. For the best protection may very well be, information.