Rules for Dating My Son

Hey, you!

You with the cute shoes and optimistic eyes…

I’ve heard your name, and I see you sitting next to my son. I’m not sure what’s going on – if you’re just friends or just friends  – but we need to talk. No, I need to talk, if you can spare a moment of your precious adolescent time. Scoot this way and listen, you darling bundle of hopes and dreams and happily-ever-afters being written, erased, and rewritten on the secret pages of your heart.

Lots of moms these days are posting “Rules for Dating my Son” and other such stuff. Maybe I’m a terrible mother for not having a logically numbered list, but I do have some thoughts, so let me lay out a few things, just so you understand, darling.

First and foremost, and don’t you dare forget this: You are precious.

No, I mean that. You’re precious, you with a heart so big and beautiful and open wide to a world beyond your wildest imagination. I’ve done my best to teach my son to be gentle, honest, and faithful, and I’ve told him over and over that girls are strong, smart, and capable – and not to be trifled with. (His sister is helping me in this endeavor). I pray my son remembers all I’ve told him. I expect him to show you the utmost respect, as fully as possible comprehending the beautiful complexity that you are. I expect him to handle your heart with care for as long as you entrust it to him. I hope you’ll respect him as much as you deserve to be respected and that you’ll be as careful with his heart as I’ve taught him to be with yours.

But the reality is this: Most likely, one or both of your hearts will break. I beg you, woman to blossoming woman, be as kind as you can. On my end, however badly you act, however badly he acts, I’ll remind him how young you are, how young he is, how you’re teaching each other how to love – and sometimes how not to love. Happily ever after might take a few rewrites. Be kind to each other, even if you have to write each other out of your beautifully unfolding stories.

I thought I’d have more to say – all the other moms have lists of ten or so rules they expect you to memorize – but that’s it. I find, now that we’re face to face, I don’t have anything more to say to you than I would say and have said to him.

You’re precious.

Be kind.

However the story goes, be kind.

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