Monday, April 27, 2009

The Ups and Downs of Teen Romance

Okie dokie...very much to cover, and not a ton of time to blog today. Short version...I am a little over my head in Motherhood, but I am not sure anyone else would have any answers either.

In addition to being just about the nicest weekend you could possibly imagine, we had our very special French visitors for the weekend. They arrived right on schedule on Friday, managed to avoid getting swine flu, and left Sunday morning.

First of all...he is adorable:-). Just a really good-looking kid, with a fantastic accent, too...I can see why she is drawn to him! And a super, super kid, as well. He is very polite, and very engaging (again, all in his second language) and seemed really easy-going...and totally and completely enamored with Munchkin to boot;-). He was definitely a big hit with her friends, including the boys who may have been a little bit pre-disposed to dislike him. And he passed all of his difficult judgements, as well...even Big Sis had to admit that she really does like him, even though he has a girl's name:-P.

Second, the two of them are actually very similar. Both are just a little bit more serious than you would expect from a 14-year old...without losing the spirit of being that age. I don't think he comes across as being quite as grown-up as she does, but I feel like he seems older than his age (maybe you would think he was 17, while you'd think she was 19).

The things that really surprised me is just how well they know each other. They met for about a week four months ago, and other than that have only corresponded by phone and email...but they really seem like long-time friends. They have inside jokes, they tease each other good-naturedly, and they have zero awkwardness around each other. They laugh at the same stuff, find the same things interesting, and basically they just get along really well.

I found myself just feeling very happy for her. Happy that she found a boy that she can have real, substantive interactions with...that she can really enjoy being around for more reason than just the raging hormones that draw most teenagers towards each other. Happy because she is clearly smitten with an incurable case of puppy love, and it is with a charming, handsome boy who is similarly afflicted. I just like to see her glow like that:-)

Now, the hard part...after they had left on Sunday morning, it became very acutely (and painfully) obvious to her that really, really liking each other is not going to be easy. Her advanced stage of maturity includes the requisite realism, and she knows exactly how unrealistic it is for her to have a "boyfriend" who lives an ocean away. And that led to some crying...actually kind of a lot (she doesn't cry much at all...less than I do;-))

She knows that she feels differently about him than she has about any other boy that she knows....she has certainly had plenty of crushes, and several boyfriends, but she recognized that she feels very differently about this one than anyone else. She also knows that they will see each other, if they are lucky, maybe once a year. And while she may not be thinking specifically about how much people change at that age, and how unlikely it is that two kids who live in different countries and totally different cultures will still like each other as much at 15 or 16 or 17 as they do now...she definitely knows that 14 year-olds don't have the sorts of relationships that can be carried on overseas.

Which kind of leaves her confused about where it goes from here. How, exactly, do you continue to get to know someone when you can only talk once a week, email and maybe see each other annually? What is the point of being boyfriend and girlfriend? Wouldn't they be better off just acknowledging that they may be great friends and trying to keep in touch? Does that work with kids that age? I doubt it. She is a very thoughtful kid, and I feel like she is thinking about where this may go, and very few of the results are particularly appealing. I can't really just shrug my shoulders and say "Eh, in two years you will have had five new boyfriends and you will think this was all really fun."

So, I spent most of Sunday with her...we did some retail therapy (she actually needed a lot of new clothes), and we walked up and down Newbury Street for most of the afternoon and met Smoking Hot Roommate and Big Sis for lunch outside. We tried to cheer her up as best we can, and helped her talk through her thoughts on the is a very complex set of emotions for a girl her age to deal with.

Although, she managed to wrap the whole thing up pretty nicely: "Right now, I just feel like this all really sucks."


HappyascanB said...

Awe, God love Munchkin's heart. She sounds like she enjoyed her weeekend with Frenchie, and that she is heartbroken over him living so far away.

Anonymous said...

Although I'm a 27 year old only living four and a half hours away from my man, I still feel her pain. I'm not sure if you have a webcam at home or one installed on a laptop, but Skype is an amazing tool that not only is FREE but allows you to see the person or make phone calls for free....even internationally. These two little lovebirds should look into that. Although it may not be forever, it doesn't stop the way it feels inside her little munchkin heart. So cute.

Desperately Seeking Seersucker said...

I continue to be impressed with your "mothering" skills! How terribly difficult to know what to do, what to say.... You two are so very luck to have each other :)

I can't wait to hear how this romance progresses. Wouldn't it be fun if one day (post college,other boyfriends, etc) they ended up together!

Windy City Kelley's said...

Aww, poor thing. Teenage love is hard no matter where you live. Hopefully they will keep in touch until they are old enough to move to the same city :)

Becky said...

It sounds like you are being supportive and not patronizing her during this. I think that is great because this is a real thing to her. I do have a feeling that French Fry isn’t going to be the only romance in her life for long though!

Accidentally Me said...

Happy - Yup, that about sums it up:-). Just very sad today...

Anon - Maybe when she is 18...but I don't like the idea of a webcam in her bedroom;-)

Desperate - My mothering skills are still limited mostly to ice cream and new clothes:-D

Windy - Oh christ...if she tells me she is going to college in Paris, I will flip...

Becky - How have I not thought of "French Fry" yet?!?!?

Ys said...

Aw the poor little thing. This post just makes me so sad :( I really think you should try to keep her calm about it and not get too upset (easy to say I know...). Maybe you could encourage her to see the good side of it: how much she likes him and he likes her now, and that tomorrow is another day that at fourteen she does not need to think about. It's not like they're getting on a bit and want to settle down and have babies. There's plenty of time for them to work out all that stuff if they're still together then. Of course she's bound to upset just after he leaves and I think you're doing a great job of taking care of her feelings. With my sister all I ever could do when it came to boys was give her lots of cuddles and tell her to cry it all out for as long as she needed to. I suspect Munchkin will feel better about it all once the dust has settled. I honestly think she should be encouraged to just enjoy it though and not over-think it just yet.

Wow super long post! Lol, sorry! Just takes me back to my little sister.