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My Daughter is 13 and in Love
My daughter is 13, she's a tad shy of 5'9". She has gorgeous blonde hair to the middle of her back. She wears makeup and knows how to do her hair. She is beautiful and she looks like she's 17.
I'm her mom. I'm 33. I freak out every time I look at her.
I can't believe how she's grown. Just two years ago she had her baby fat, and dorky bangs, and was awkward and unsure of herself. Now she's gorgeous, confident, funny, charming, intelligent and has a quick wit. What boy wouldn't fall for her? I knew this day would come, but it's still a weird scary time to be a parent. How do we parent our children through their first love?
She and I have a nice relationship. I'm her mother, I yell at her about chores, chew her out for her messy room, and take her phone away for any grades below a B-. But, I'm also her friend. We laugh together, goof off together, and have long conversations about her life. I'm so lucky in this way because I feel tuned into her in a way that not all mothers get to be.
I saw this coming...
Because of our wonderful relationship, I did know this was coming. This boy she's now in love with, she's been texting and talking with him for the last 8 months or so. It started this summer, she was a pitcher for her Middle School Fast-pitch Softball team and he was a pitcher for his baseball team. The girls and boys teams often played in the same locations so they would take the same bus to games. They would talk about how their games went after the game or talk each other through pre-game jitters.
Then they just started texting random thoughts to each other. Then jokes, stories, complaints and finally flirting. Now that school started this fall (8th grade) they both have to take a shuttle bus to their Middle School. My daughter has a lot of friends, both boys and girls, and she often sits with different people on the bus, striking up conversations with anyone. One day she sat by him, and they talked. No different than with anyone else. No big deal. Except, she already knew she had a crush on him, and she was on cloud 9!
What does 13 year old love look like?
After that first morning of sitting together on the bus, he texted her that night asking if she would sit by him the next morning and they have sat together every morning since. They play with eachother's phones, talk, sometimes they each just listen to their ipods and don't talk at all. They text 200 times a night. Most of the texts are only a word or two long, but it seems like they are in constant contact.
She isn't officially his girlfriend. He hasn't asked her to be his girlfriend and she says she's not asking him. But all of their friends know all about them and they are accepted as a couple. I'm not sure how much weight the official word has at this age, but as far as I can tell, they are boyfriend and girlfriend.
They were trying to steal eachoher's phones on the bus. She reached for his and he grabbed her hand and then didn't let go and they held hands the whole 10 minute bus ride. She was seriously walking on air tonight. I thought she was going to float away at the dinner table.
Later, she was at her church youth group meeting and she got a text from him. They are learning some Spanish in school. The text said "te amo"
Yep, that's it. It's official. She's in love! The smile never went away after she told me. Her cheeks flushed and she was so obviously, beautifully happy. A wonderful moment that I'm honored to share with her.
How does mom feel about her 13 year old being in love?
Honestly, it kind of scares me. I know what stage she's moving into now. These next few years will be full of heartbreak and tears; questions about sexuality and morality and lessons on relationships. I remember it all so vividly, how a relationship can cause the highest of teen highs and the lowest of teen lows.
But, when it comes down to it, I am as happy for her as she is for herself, and she can see it on my face. I think that's why she shares it all with me. I remember that feeling, the first time you brush shoulders with a boy you like and it feels like electricity is moving between you and through you. The first time someone you REALLY like holds your hand and your stomach fills with butterflies. How you can regain that feeling over and over again simply by thinking about that moment. Every thought consumed by the touch of his hand on yours for days. I remember what it felt like to not have bad things bother you (like being yelled at by parents or getting a bad grade) because all you have to do is think of his hand in yours again and all of that melts away. It's like you're dreaming, but you don't ever have to wake up.
So this mom feels like it's really all okay. I'm happy for her. So happy! I could never try to take this feeling away from her by pushing my own insecurities and uncertainties on her. I WANT her to feel this way, to feel this good, to live this dream. Her joy brings me joy. I will let her experience this once-in-a-lifetime feeling for as long as it lasts and I will do nothing to deter her joy. I won't bring her to reality or try to convince her that it's only puppy love or explain how fast this could fade. I am going to let her live and love every second of this first love.
And when it ends, I will be there to hold her and hug her and let her share her tears.
I will let her be young. I will let it all be new. I will let her soar and let her fall. Like millions of parents who have come before me, I will let her go because I love her so.