Today I want to talk about teenage dating. How can something be so terrifying and exciting at the same time? Yes, Cadence, I know you’re going to kill me for writing about your dating life, but here we are (feel free to insert a shoulder shrug emoji right here). At this time I’d like to make the official announcement, Cadence has a boyfriend. There I said it.
Cadence started high school in the fall. So, it was only a matter of time before the topic of boyfriends or girlfriends came up. But I thought I had a little more time to process my daughter not really being a kid anymore before I had to digest the thought of her liking someone enough to say yes when they asked her to be their girlfriend. I mean, she’s still a kid, but she’s also growing up faster than I want to think about. And time is only going to go by faster the older she gets.
Cadence came home last week and told me that she was asked out by a boy in her class. I immediately started to question her. Who is this boy? How did he ask you? Is he nice? When can I meet him? Thankfully she answered all of my questions because we are at the point in our lives where she answers approximately 50% of them before she rolls her eyes and walks away.
I remember when I told my mom I had my first boyfriend. She became our biggest fan. You could say that she was the President of our fan club, so to speak. But she was also cautious about it. She worried whether I would get my heart broken, and how I would react to it if it happened. But she also cheered us on. So when Cadence first came to me, I was suddenly given the opportunity to choose how I would react. Would I err on the side of caution and be the mom who worries about everything or would I take on the role of fan club president? Ultimately, I chose to start the fan club.
I have always been Cadence’s number one fan. I have cheered her on in the front row ever since she was born. I know it sounds cliche but I’m grateful to have such a good kid. So naturally I want her to be happy. And if this person can make her happy, even for a little while, then I’m satisfied.
Cadence has struggled with depression and anxiety for the last few years. I worry about her health and wellbeing all the time. Is she eating enough? Is she eating too much? How is she feeling today? What can I help her with?
But I have noticed in the past week things have started to turn a corner. She is happier, she actually wants to talk to her parents, she isn’t sleeping as much. I’m not saying that because she has a boyfriend she is automatically cured of depression and anxiety. But I am saying that I think this newly formed relationship has helped her see the world in a different light.
Has Cadence met her soul mate? Probably not, but the world is a crazy place, so you never know. Has she made a really good friend that has evolved into a relationship? Yes. Will I worry that she might get her heart broken? Yes. Will I worry that she might be the one who breaks his heart? Also, yes. But that is a risk I’m willing to take if it means that she is happy and content with her life at the moment.
Obviously, things can change in an instant. They are 14 years old after all. They have their whole lives ahead of them. But I’m choosing to sit at the head of the table as President and cheer them on loud and proud. I will be the embarrassing mom who gushes over how cute they are, and makes them take pictures on their first date. But I will also be the mom who sits back and watches from the sidelines letting her make her own choices and mistakes and help her to learn from them.
I mentioned at the beginning of this column that teenage dating is both terrifying and exciting at the same time, and I still fully believe that. But we have the choice to be their biggest fan and cheer them on but still be there to pick them up if fall. No matter how terrifying things can get, I’m choosing to be their biggest fan…for now.
Steph Hightree is a hot mess mom who is fueled by stress and too much caffeine. She is a Three Rivers native who talks about the good, the bad, and well, everything else about parenthood.
Any views or opinions expressed in “#MomLife” are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Watershed Voice staff or its board of directors.