Saturday, April 10, 2010


The waiter circles back for the third time to check on Jeff and me. We have been deep in conversation for some time so he says politely, "Do you have any questions?"

"Yes," I say looking up from Jeff, "Is our 14-year-old daughter too young to date?"

"Hmm, does her boyfriend drive or do you have to drive them everywhere?"

"He's 16 but doesn't have a license yet. We have to drive."

"Well, that's not dating, that's a playdate. Here's the wine list," he says and leaves us.
Yes, Grace, my Freshman has a boyfriend, Billy, a Junior, and love is in the air. This has caught us completely off guard. Whereas we know just the kind of boy Lilly (11) likes (short, muscular, dark, and slightly bad-boy), and Atticus has had girlfriends and friends who are girls since 6th grade, Grace never discusses boys even the movie star kind. Also, for some ridiculous reason, I thought because I was a late bloomer my daughter would be too. Silly me.
It's thrown the whole household off a little. Atticus mentioned that he saw Billy in school and wasn't sure how to react, "We made awkward eye contact," he said. Jeff seemed to turn into a bit of a neanderthal dad saying, "I need to meet this boy before you go out with him!" and I'm not sure what to do.
Only Lilly is sure of her supporting role. Over spring break, Grace and Billy did something every day. By Thursday they had run out of ideas. "Mom, what should Billy and I do today?" I had no idea.
Lilly jumped in, "Well let's see, you've been to the movies, had a picnic, walked around Lake Glenview, and he helped paint your bedroom. If this were a Disney movie today would be either wash the car and spray each other with the hose or have a mis-understanding and get in a fight day. You could have a mis-understanding about me--maybe Billy is threatened by our relationship."

"Thanks, but I think we'll just go to the park and he can push me on the swings," Grace replied.
When he came over one day to watch a movie in the basement I realized just how little I understood what my role was. "Lilly, go downstairs and make sure everything's okay," I said.
She looked puzzled, "What do you mean?"
"You know, spy on them and see if they're kissing or something."

"Well, aren't they supposed to be kissing?" she said reasonably.
"Umm, well, ummm," and again I realized I was in the weeds on this. In the end I just went down every half hour or so (the "or so" is key--predictability renders the exercise useless) and asked if they wanted a snack or something. I figured that somewhere between leaving them alone with a bottle of wine and candles and sitting between them like a human bundling board (look it up) lies my role.
So that's what's going on around here. Grace is twitterpated, Atticus feels uncomfortable, Lilly is coaching, and Jeff and I are so clueless we're reduced to asking single waiters at Wildfire for parenting advice.


  1. awwwwwww! they're so cute! here's my theory (at least until my 11 year old daughter starts bringing boys home): let nature take it's course! ha! ;>)

  2. Hahaha, it seems that Lilly is the most effective dating consultant for both the parents and the daughter.