The Secret Boyfriend
Over the weekend, my wife and I found out rather unexpectedly that our oldest, Thing 1, officially has her first boyfriend. He apparently asked her out via text message. Kids these days!
This all came to light when, during the family gathering to celebrate Thing 2’s birthday, somehow the topics of high school and boyfriends came up. In response to this, without an ounce of subtlety, Thing 1 ran into the bathroom and locked herself in there for about 15 minutes, until her aunt dragged her out.
My sister-in-law told us the little secret that she’d been keeping because she “felt it was something [we] should finally know about and [she’s] been keeping it a secret long enough!”
While it’s fun to see Thing 1 experience the new relationship jitters and butterflies – something that unfortunately fades away over time – the news also came as a shock. We’ve tried very hard to be open-minded parents and make sure our kids know they can talk to us about anything, that things they feel are pretty normal for their age, and so forth.
I fully understand that as open and approachable as we try to be, we’re still her parents and therefore, we’re just a couple of old idiots who don’t know what the hell we’re talking about, despite still being young enough ourselves where we vividly remember what it was like to be in high school. Still, my wife and I both felt hurt to know that Thing 1 went out of her way to tell other people except us, and asked them to keep it a secret from us.
Perhaps we were foolish enough to think our parent-teenager dynamic was somehow going to be different than the rest, when it came to these big firsts.
If the secret was something serious or life-threatening, we’d be handling the situation differently, but since it’s “just” that she was asked out by a boy she’s liked for a little while now, and they haven’t actually gone on any dates, it’s not the end of the world. And so we move on and like so many other countless times while being a parent, we push down the unintended hurt caused by something our child has done and let them know, simply, that we love them.
I suppose we should just be happy that she didn’t agree to date the jerk-wad that she was smitten over, who knew she liked him and just kept toying with her feelings.