Thursday, June 25, 2009

Young Love

June 25, 2009

I can see it coming: we are getting ready to sail into uncharted territory here as parents. Just around the corner, there are times of some of the biggest highs and lows in a young girl's life, and one of the toughest tests of a mother's heart--young love.

Love during the high school and college years is powerful, magical. As my daughter embarks on the years that will bring her her first all-consuming crush, her first tentative hand-holding with a boy she's been daydreaming about for weeks, and her first goodnight kiss, I feel excited for her, but also protective of the inevitable heartbreak and disappointment she will also encounter along the way.

These next years may hold for her some rocky roads:

The boy whose affection takes on a fiercely possessive note.
The boy who believes jealousy is proof of love.
The boy who isn't mature enough to understand goodbye.
The boy whose devotion isn't enough to create that 'spark.'
The boy whose own self-esteem is so low that he must bring others down with him.
The boy who will self-destruct to try to prove passion.
The boy who believes conquest is more important than relationship.
The boy who wants to have a girl by his side, but a few others in his sights.
The boy who tells her she will if she loves him.
The boy who will break her heart.

She may encounter those, or some variation on those themes. I can't protect her from them; I can only be there to hold her hand and offer her a shoulder to cry on and advice about how to move on when it happens. It's part of life, and much as I want to keep her from having to struggle through the heartache of relationships, it's how we grow, and part of how we learn about who we are. But with the lows come the highs, which also help us to know who we are. I hope also that as she begins on this journey she will find:

The boy who is a gentleman, who speaks highly of her to his friends.
The boy who becomes a life-long friend.
The boy who can always make her laugh and find the light in every circumstance.
The boy who gives her a forever memory of a first kiss under the stars.
The boy who shows her how important friendship is to making a relationship last.
The boy who can talk to her for hours and never run out of things to say.
The boy whose arm around her is a connection, not a weight.
The boy who will look in her eyes and see his world.
The boy who will tell her she is beautiful, whose eyes will show her that it's true.
The boy who will make her feel like a princess when they dance together at the formal dance.
The boy who will recognize the strength of independence and the bond of togetherness are not mutually exclusive.
The boy who will be her first true love--madly, truly, deeply. The one who will make her understand 'soul mate.'

Yes, it's coming--right around the corner. And though these days bring the possibility for despair, they also bring promise and hope. Though I wish I could protect her from the tough times, I know that without them there won't be those magical memories that she'll cherish, either. As a parent, I have to let her fall sometimes, so that she knows she can get back up. It's part of the growing up process for both of us.


  1. I have been making a list with my boys already of qualities in a girl that make her a keeper :-)

  2. I have a 17 year old son and a 19 year old daughter. These are interesting times.

  3. I watched my daughter go through quite a few boyfriends in Junior High and High School and it seems she knows what she wants or doesn't want. She's pretty attached to the current boyfriend - over a year! - but college is coming soon and I've decided that he may be alright if indeed he is her final choice. And that's saying alot.

  4. Oh so well put. You should definitely print out this post and hang it in a place that you can come back to again and again for reference. I'll have to show this to my 11-year old daughter (fortunately, she's not into boys, yet)...

  5. Awwwww...miss those days! Must be torture for parents!

  6. This is a terrific post, and I definitely relate!