Our home is currently a bit wounded in that the garage door is wide open indefinitely. I’m going to get right to the point here and explain that this exposure is the direct result of our son’s first love, his brain completely checking out, and a direct hit to the lower quarter of the garage door while simultaneously backing out and being goo-goo-gah-gah. The incident occurred the morning after he finally, finally admitted to the reason for the change in his emotional status which followed weeks of us being fully aware of the reason for that change.
We get it, buddy, parents are dumb. You can get anything past them. Am I right?
One of my favorite parenting moments was when our eldest (now 21) realized just how wise we were throughout her teen years. As that frontal lobe developed, she got a clear picture of just how much we really, really knew and how few topics or events were actually not a well-kept secret at all. In the last few years, she has gained full insight as to how parents are really just below professional private investigators status, whether or not they want to be.
Trust me, child, we know way more than we want to know. Way more.
Yes, in the case of the garage vs first love, there have been endless revelations for which I have begged my own brain to retire its spidey senses. There have also been a few analogies of how one can be a lesson for the other. Slow down. Check your review mirror. Remember what we’ve taught you. Check behind you, again.
When we were dating, my husband and I had many “how would we” discussions, one of which was how open we would be to our children about relationships, the feelings that come with relationships, and, well, the sex. He and I had both grown up in homes where sex was rarely discussed though not necessarily because it was something to sweep under the carpet. My husband and I were both children growing up in the 80s with parents whose own parents likely talked even less about sex and so, the mystery was simple status quo.
More importantly? My husband and I, our parents, and our parents’ parents…all reached that explosion of hormones stage without a little thing I like to call “The Internet.”
Our children have had unlimited access to all the things since their status update changed to “born.” While we have done our best, in our home, to restrict wifi, install firewalls, and create common sense, the reality is that they have always been just a clickety-clack away from images of lady bits, gentleman junk, and the merging of the two. Because of that unlimited access and because we have always wanted our children to feel like they could talk to us about anything at all, we have been very open about sex. My children would likely say we have been too open, but I’m not sure that’s possible in a world that is full of dangers related to cybersex gateways.
Our eldest preferred distance with an eye roll, keeping any dalliances to herself with departures from conversations that were meant to encourage us to stay out of her life. Our youngest? I have a strong feeling we will soon know way more than we wanted to. I have that strong feeling because he recently sat across from us proclaiming “Oh, you’ll know!” in reference to rounding those romantic bases. Wine? Check.
This boy, my little man, is on cloud nine. He is completely head over heels. He is experiencing all the firsts that probably would have come years ago if it weren’t for that pesky pause in development and socialization a few years ago. He has talked a big sexual game but, we are learning, that was all just fluff as he is now truly diving into a season of firsts. It is adorable and frustrating (garage doors are expensive) and sweet and annoying (often forgets to return home on time).
As his primary mom, I’ve considered it one of my “jobs” to raise a man who will be an amazing partner. I’m so proud to say that he does seem to be well on his way as he is incredibly kind and caring with his first girlfriend. Sure, his brain is elsewhere 37 hours a day and most of our conversations begin with, “Do you not remember me telling you this!?!” but it will return to normal someday, right? Right? Thankfully, most of the really deep sex talks are reserved for his father so that they can compare notes on whether boobs or butts are better.
I say “thankfully” but I also wonder where I (the cool mom) went.
Just a few months ago, I’d have been willing to discuss just about anything sexually related with my son yet now I’m having trouble seeing him as anything but a sweet seven-year-old asking for a snack. For years, I was the more deliberate parent in leading the charge on sexual sense. Heck, when we went on our first post-pandemic vacation, a cruise, I provided a small goody bag lest the appearance of cute girls in bikinis would prove too tempting after nearly two years of social distancing. He was, after all, 16 years old at the time and his hormones, after all, had been stalled drastically by virtual this or masked that. As our ship sailed toward crystal waters, I felt so hip knowing that should my boy go from dormant to raging, I had prepared provided all the precautions.
We have reached the age of raging hormones and suddenly I am walking around with eyes the size of saucers and a cowbell around my neck.
Still, I do see that as his hormones have risen so has his insistence on being respectful, patient, and, well, the gentleman that we aimed to raise. Now that the dating train has left the station I know that it will likely be sooner than later that that final base will be tagged as our youngest reaches the pinnacle of getting physical. I can see his brain at work as he strolls through the house, butterflies at work while he daydreams about that next date with his new love.
I have stopped asking “Do you not remember me telling you this!?!” because I already know the answer. “Sorry no, my bad, I don’t remember this at all.” Love truly is wonderful. First love? Oh gosh, don’t we all remember trying to sneak a peek at our crush between classes and the elation that accompanied eye contact? I know my son believes that what he is feeling now is forever, that it will never come to a sad end, and that he and his girlfriend will dash off into fields of daisies for a lifetime. So, while he is oblivious to the life that continues to go on around him, I am doing my best to be patient and sweet and open so that he will continue to be patient and sweet and open.
It will be a month or so before our garage door is fully functioning. Well, our new garage door and our new garage door opener (also destroyed as the infraction occurred as its gears were hard at work). “A month or so” is a lifetime in the cadence of first loves. Heck, this whole thing could end before then leaving us with a pile of sad teen to navigate. Heck, he may be in a whole new relationship, applying lessons learned from this first, before we aren’t manually forcing that door up and down. Slow down. Remember what we’ve taught you.
Maybe, just maybe, in round two he will even think to check that rearview mirror, both in the garage and out in that big world he is about to embrace.