Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Remember in the movie Bambi when spring had sprung and all the animals in the forest started hooking up? The females began hopping around singing "La La La La" in operatic tones and batting their lashes, ultimately putting the lovesick whammy on their male counterparts. The cynical old owl called them "twitterpated". Bambi and Thumper swore they wouldn't become goofy and soft-headed like the others, but before you could say "La La La" they'd each been twitterpated by a female of their species. As the owl put it, "pain in the pinfeathers, that's what I call it".

Well, both my teens have been twitterpated. And both in the last 2 weeks. I talked to my son yesterday, and he told me about his new girlfriend and how in his words they are "so cute together". Goodness, he's past head over heels and gone into loopy.

My daughter has her very first boyfriend. A boy she's known and had a crush on for well over a year. She's not quite as goofy and ga-ga as her brother and I think it is because she's known this boy for so long and hung out with him on various occasions.

The rule for my kids is that they can't date until they are 16. Surprisingly I didn't get any hassle enforcing this rule. Talking to my daughter last night, she says, "This is my first boyfriend", and I said, "Aren't you glad you waited?" She said that she was indeed glad that she didn't get caught up in the emotions of dating at a younger age.

I know from where I speak, as I started dating at age 13 and had a serious boyfriend at age 14 (he was 17) whom I dated exclusively for the next 6 years. I know my parents were trying their best and my mom even said later when I was an adult that she didn't know what to do with me at that age and that my boyfriend seemed like the only thing that made me happy. He did make me happy at times, but having such a serious relationship at that age without having the life experiences and mature perspective to draw from was very difficult. From having that experience and the emotional turmoil that went with it, I am now very protective of my own kids.

I know I can't protect my kids from everything, but I wish I could. Now that they are both dating someone, I am already anticipating the heartbreak that will probably accompany these young relationships. I don't mean to sound too negative, but the chances that this young man and young woman are my future son and daughter-in-law are fairly slim. It is so hard to see your child's heart broken. I remember my son's break-up with his first girlfriend and it was SO painful to watch him have to work through it, so I guess I'm preparing myself. A mom would always rather feel the pain herself, than watch her child endure it.

Life's lessons are sometimes sweet and sometimes bitter, but we all have to learn them. I am happy for both my kids; it's another step towards mature adulthood (and ultimately grandkids, right?!) I think the owl in Bambi had it wrong though; love is not a "pain in the pinfeathers", and I also think the poor old owl was a bit jealous that he didn't have a long-lashed warbling female after his cranky hide.

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