Saturday, January 5, 2008

What is Love?

My daughter just asked me a difficult question. Recently she has become interested in Zac Ephron and those twins from "The Suite Life of Zac and Cody" and some other cute boys from t.v. and movies. She's decided she wants to be famous so she can be a guest star on "Hannah Montana."

So tonight as I'm kissing her goodnight, she says "Mom, what sort of things does a boy say to you when he likes you?"

Wow. You're asking the wrong person, girl! Immediately I think of all those things, so many things: "I love you in ways that I don't even understand." "I want to be your man so badly that it tears me up inside." "We have only hinted as to what potentially lies ahead for us." "You are such a catch. So beautiful, smart and loving." "I want a life with to day, you know, routine stuff." "Kitten - I love you like I've never loved another living soul."

Those are the things a guy says to you when he "likes you." Or at least I thought that was what they meant. But it didn't really turn out to be the case, did it? How can I advise my daughter on something so big as "how do I know when a boy likes me?" when I've been so wrong at judging another's true feelings, his intentions, his character?

Well, I have to try. I tell her, "Honey, he might say anything, really. Like 'You are such a good friend,' or 'I always have fun when we're together.'"

"What if we're out on a date? What would he say then?"

A date...hmmm, let me try to remember..."Well, he might say, 'I am so happy to go with you to the dance!' or 'You look very pretty tonight."

To which she added, "Or he might say, 'It's okay, darling, I'll buy the popcorn.'" Yes exactly.

But I felt it important to add, "Just make sure you always feel good when you're with him. If he ever makes you feel bad, or is mean to you, just don't go out with him anymore." There. Bases covered, right?

Wrong. Do you know what she said then, my little psychic one? "But what if I love him?"

Yes, honey. Exactly. What if you love him? That is kind of the mother of all relationship questions. I forge on, determined to win this battle, a battle more with myself than with anyone else. "Well, you just have to decide. If you feel bad more than you feel good when you're around him, then you have to stop seeing him."

"But what if I really, REALLY love him?"

I had no answer.


tod said...

And sadly, there is no answer. As a parent, even though I'm the parent of two boys, I feel your pain. We want to protect our children with every ounce of strength in our bodies. But some things, they'll have to find out for themselves. And when it comes to the awesome power of love, with all its joys and sorrows, they're going to have to navigate that road on their own. Now matter how much we try to pave the way for them.

Plus, I haven't been very good at picking women, so my sons are probably better off without my sage advice.

caryl said...

I don't know what to say. I think your daughter sounds very wise because she didn't just accept your answers (unfortunately!). But you were right. You shouldn't stay with someone who makes you feel bad. Yeah, you SHOULDN'T, but lots of us do.

Chicken & Waffles said...

Margaret Mitchell (another fine Georgian woman) once astutely wrote:

"I was never one to patiently pick up broken fragments and glue them together again and tell myself that the mended whole was as good as new. What is broken is broken -- and I'd rather remember it as it was at its best than mend it and see the broken places as long as I lived".

I quite see that. Your answers were perfect.