Growing Up LaMe
I don’t know if I ever mentioned this on the blog, but I’ve always told my kids they can date when they are 16, and not before. I figure at the age of 16, they will be working, which means they will have their own money to pay for wherever they want to go and whatever they want to do. Also, they will be driving at 16, which means they can get to and from said date.
The whole thing made perfect sense to me. I mean, really, why should I have to fork out money and play chauffeur when I haven’t been on a date in more than a decade?
My, son Lane 1 has been driving me crazy about this rule. He has “a whole bunch of girls who really want to date” him. The self-described stud muffin has tried everything in the book to get me to cave on this rule. Recently, he topped the cake.
He came home from school in a yellow sports car. A girl was driving him home. His school isn’t that far away that he needs a ride. I saw him flirt as he waved and said goodbye to the cute driver. Waiting at the door, I said, “Hi. Who was that?”
“Dude, are you stalking me?”
Following him to the kitchen, I said, “Yeah.”
Looking over his shoulder at me, he continued to act natural. He headed straight to the fridge just like my little 14 year old.
“We need to talk.”
I looked at him very seriously, because, that is usually my line, and now he was telling me that we needed to talk. My mind whipped up all of the imaginary concerns a teen could be facing. I thought how grown up he is for coming to me with his problems.
“I’m here for you, son. Whatever you want to talk about I’ll listen.”
“Good. Because this no dating until I turn 16 thing is…”
I thought, “Yeah, so much for coming to me in your time of need you little brat. You’re just like your father!” Only, I didn’t say a word.
“…well, lame. Anyway, this is what I was thinking, Adriana, the girl who drove me home, has a car, and a job and she is 17 and she really wants to go out with me. She even said she would take care of paying and getting us where we need to go.”
I was sure I wasn’t hearing this. What would a 17 year old girl want with my little boy?! Wait! I don’t want to know! I tried to keep my game face on even though on the inside I was thinking how slick he is for coming up with that as a reason to break this life-long rule. Yup, just like his father.
“I think it’s nice that she offered, son. I don’t think you are ready to date. Besides, it would be really lame to let her be the one who takes care of all expenses. Every guy who likes a girl, at some point will want to buy her a present or flowers.” I put my foot in my mouth that time!
“Well, Mom, I am working. So I do have some money, enough to buy her a gift here and there.”
Damn it all and damn me to hell and back! I forgot that he does have a job. A job I got for him. He is working at the teen center, where I volunteer. He is a tutor for little kids. He goes four days a week after school, and they pay him 15 dollars per hour. Shit!
“It sounds to me like you have really thought this out well, but I can’t go bending rules now.”
“Don’t get mad. I’m just sure you aren’t ready for all the drama that comes with dating, especially the amount of drama that comes from a 17 year old girl. Besides, she is going to be leaving for college soon. What if you fall in love with this girl, only to have to say goodbye for four years? By then, you’ll be off to college and you’ll have another three years of waiting for this one girl.”
“I didn’t think about that. I’m not in love though, Ma. We are just really good friends.”
“Why ruin a good friendship? Can’t you kids just all go as a group to see a movie, go horseback riding, or fishing, go bowling, play pool, go to the swimming pool, hit the teen center on dance night, or go out for pizza, or something non-date-ish?”
“What about prom, Mom? She really wants me to go with her.”
Wondering why a senior would want to take a freshmen to prom was boggling my mind.
“It’s her senior year prom, Mom. It’s important to her, and she asked ME.”
“That truly is an honor. But, son, prom is really expensive.”
“She already bought the tickets. All I need is a tux rental and she gave me this,” he dug a dress swatch from his pocket.
“Oh, that’s pretty. So she asked you and you really want to go?”
“Yes, I really want to go.”
“What if I say yes, just to prom, providing your dad is okay with it, but…”
“There’s always a but.”
“You’re learning kid. BUT… you will be home immediately following prom. No after parties, backseat make-outs or anything, straight home.”
“You mean it?!”
“Well, I have to talk to Dad first but I’m pretty sure it’ll be okay with him.”
“Oh man, thanks!”
He ran off to use the phone, smiling ear-to-ear.
Tux rental: 95 dollars
Shoe rental: 25 dollars
Haircut: 18 dollars
Corsage: 22 dollars
Mom’s therapy bill: 1 thousand dollars
Bending rules: painful, yet free
The smile on their faces: PRICELESS