At 6:15 in this morning, as I’m whizzing around the kitchen, I found myself trying to answer my son’s question:
“Mom, how do you ask someone out?”
No doubt, his question caught me off guard. At soon-to-be 11, it still seems kinda early for a dating question.
“Someone?” Oookaaay. I ask if he has someone particular in mind. He hesitates. I casually remind him that we talk about everything—no secrets—no subject is off-limits.
“Well, there is this girl…” He tells me her name. I know who she is.
So back to the question, “How do you ask someone out?” Heck, I’ve been out of the dating scene for many years! Am I “qualified” to respond? LOL! Sure I am. I am his mom. I am going to teach him the right way to approach young women.
I glance over at my son. The Cheerios in his bowl are floating around, guided by his spoon. He is patiently waiting for my answer.
The words roll off my tongue something like this:
Well… before you ask her out, you need to make sure that you share similar values. If she likes you, she’s probably going to be nice to you. But watch carefully how she treats others. Observe her to make sure that she is respectful, courteous, and a genuinely nice girl.
“She can’t smoke!! I don’t want to go out with a girl who smokes!” He declares.
I say, “Yeees! Good!” She ought to be a good student too. You know, she cannot use drugs, must go to school, work hard, earn good grades, and stay out of trouble.
I’m thinking, “What did I miss?” Virginity? LOL! Too soon for that! I think I’ve covered the basics… for now.
Once you decide that she’s of good character and you’ve gotten to know her over time, and through daily conversation, and… you suspect the feelings are mutual, then you pop the question “Would you be my girlfriend?” or “Do you want to go out?”
So there is a possibility, that I may sound corny or hokey, but that’s how I put it out there to medium (He prefers “medium” over “little” man). Anyway, I believe in plain old fashion straightforwardness and honesty, with no games.
For the fellas who are reading this, what do you think? Please? Give me a male’s perspective? I can’t wait to hear hubby’s response.
I tried to get a clear definition of what “going out” meant to my son. I don’t assume current day jargon and phrases to mean what they did years ago. That’s an age revealing statement right? But it’s true. “Going out” meant the same as it still does to me, asking her to be his girlfriend.
When I asked him more about her, my heart melted when he said,
Do you hear me, “SHE’S KIND!”
I’m raising a gentleman. I love, love, love, his ability to recognize and appreciate compassion in someone. Anyway, it turns out that the little lady is a classmate and is hospitalized.
I asked Medium man if he wanted to visit her in the hospital. He does. So we will find out if her parents are okay with a visit from a potential boyfriend.
Parental obligations kept me from CrossFit today, so I look forward to tomorrow’s class. I missed working out today.
Emphatically blinking to hold back the tears, her aged but youthful eyes spoke for her. In a moment though, her glossed over and molten eyes released the flow of tears that stained her flawless almond colored skin.
Three years senior my daughter, this young woman is experiencing the harsh realities of life.Life as a single mother of a three-year old.Life as a daughter to a mother who has grown tired of mothering.Life as a role model for her younger sister, whose same mother has grown tired of mothering her too.Life as a divorced mother, who is uncertain about the future.
I listened attentively. She thanked me for sharing my story at the luncheon.Even better, she tells me that she had felt discouraged, but the speakers at the luncheon influenced her to believe that quitting is not an option. In spite of her situation, she attends college and is working hard to carve a better future for herself, her child and her baby sister. Her journey is one of challenge, but I’m convinced that she can overcome and continue to move forward.Quitting is not an option was the topic of today’s luncheon.
When things go wrong as they sometimes will, When the road you’ve trudging seems uphill, When the funds are low and the debts are high, And you want to smile,
but you have to sigh,
When your care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
Someone whom I admire and have a great deal of respect for asked me to speak to a wonderful group of young ladies today.Young ladies that have been erroneously written off as failures, although I disagree!They are smart, creative, witty, strong-willed, determined, and rebellious but they are genuinely trying to see their way through dim clouds to a brighter future. They simply need nurturing, support, guidance, positive influences from patient women and adults who won’t quit on them.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.
Earlier in the day I was also inspired and emotionally struck by a conversation that I had with an extraordinary recent college graduate. Why extraordinary?For nearly four years, he fought, what seemed like an endless battle that most adults would have given up on.
As a young child, he came to the U.S. (undocumented) with his mother.He attended the public school system.He was raised by a single mother of two boys who earned modest wages. Most challenging?Peer pressure, the absence of his father, and the unsettling and dangerous community where he lived.
In spite of the obstacles and roadblocks, he sustained and ultimately acquired citizenship and graduated college. During college continued to work through obstacles, however he participated in many social and political groups and helped to raise $1,000,000 for his University! I am so proud of him.He accomplished what many said was impossible.Quitting was not an option for him.
Success is failure turned inside out. The silver tint of the clouds of doubt, And you never can tell how close you are, It may be near when is seems so far; So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit, It’s when things seem worse,
that you must not quick.
Be inspired and do encourage others. Regardless of what ever it is that you’re moving toward, remember that quitting is not an option!
Below is part of a conversation that took place between me and my son about his girlfriend.
My son: “I asked her if she would have me as her boyfriend”
Me: “What did she say?”
My son: “She said yes and asked me if I would have her as my girlfriend and I said yes.”
Me: “So how long have you guys been dating?”
My son: “We’re not dating! We are boyfriend and girlfriend!”
Me: “What do you like about her?”
My son: “Her personality.”
My son: “Everyone thinks that we shouldn’t be dating!!”
My son: “Because she’s in fourth grade and I’m in third. They (his classmates) said that she should have a boyfriend in the fourth grade.”
My son: “Mom, can we have a play date on Saturday?”
Me: “We won’t be doing a play date, but you must introduce me to her.”
My son: “Okay mom. If she’s at school when you pick me up tomorrow, I’ll introduce you.”
Uh, yeah! This is a real conversation that I had with my nine-year old earlier this week. Hubby drives him to school and I pick him up after school. When he’s not in a talkative mood, the ride home is quiet and I must work hard at getting feedback from him about his day at school. Other times, like today, he’s chatty and hardly stops talking to take a deep breath.
Curiosity led me to ask, “What does it mean to have a girlfriend? He said, “It means I really like her.” Therefore, in the mind of my nine-year old, “really liking” someone is cause for the establishment of a serious relationship.
On the surface, the statement might sound reasonable. However, the reality is that to like someone you must spend a great deal of time getting to know them. I’m not talking about a physical attraction or chemistry, but instead the formidable journey of getting to know and then learning to love that special someone, including all of their idiosyncrasies.
Anyway, I can see that I have my work set out for me with my son and the girl thing. He’s definitely a “looker” and pays attention to a girl’s hair, clothing, and even how they smell. He certainly caught me off guard. My 22-year-old showed no interest in a boyfriend until her late teens.
As with our oldest, we monitor T.V . shows and movies that he watches. Still, he’s overexposed like the rest of our kids. The fact of the matter is that we cannot keep our kids under a rock and shelter them from the real world. The real world is in their face with a vengeance every day.
As parents we must talk, talk, and talk some more. Talk to the kids about EVERYTHING, nothing is off-limits. Answer questions truthfully without using made up or silly words.
My son’s declaration of his first official “girlfriend” is confirmation that he’s ready for our conversation to take on greater depth and meaning. I can’t wait for him to introduce me to his girlfriend! The introduction is a perfect Segway for what will prove to be an intriguing conversation. I’ll keep you posted.
“I do!” “I will!” The promise is to love, to honor, I skipped the obey… till death do us part…. an exclusive proclamation of love, for life. Each time I witness a sacramental event, I wonder if the bride and groom have actually fathom the depth of their marital vows. For the couples who do understand, they are most likely more mature and have taken the time to get to know each other and take the commitment seriously. For the couples who don’t get it. Well, they’re in for a rude awakening.
Not taking for granted 23 years of marital bliss, I know that our marriage has been showered with blessings. That said a recent chat with “Robin” (not her real name), a fellow wife and working mom sparked this post.
Like me Robin and I often hear comments such as, “you’re lucky, you have a good husband!” “You’re lucky, your man works!” “You’re lucky, blah, blah, and blah.” We both agree that luck has little to do with it and that marriage is more about work.
Long lasting, healthy, and stable relationships don’t come by way of luck. They arrive through endless minutes, days, weeks, months, and years of commitment and a good dose of divine intervention.
At 23 years old and after five years of dating, my hubby and I tied the knot. We didn’t have a clue about our marital endeavor. Although he was two years my senior, like me, he was in the dark, but we shared a love and a passion for the other.
Looking back on our 28 year relationship, I can honestly say that they have been happy years. Were they perfect? Absolutely not! Trials, tribulations, prayers, laughter, tears, hand-in-hand, we plowed forward. We consciously grew together and are blessed to share basic core values. Those core values opened the doors to maturity and growth.
We have and continue to discover new things about each other and about our relationship. Both are consistently evolving; if the evolution stops, I will be concerned. Anyway, my conversation with Robin got me to thinking about what has worked for my marriage.
1. Communicate, communicate, communicate, communicate….. Before we married we talked about everything; religious beliefs, public school vs. private school, family size that we’d like to someday have and more. What person can really read minds? Hello, no one!! If hubby doesn’t explain what’s on his mind that leaves me to use my creative imagination– sometimes dangerous. One thought leads to another and another. Then I could “act” on what I “think” he’s thinking leading to disastrous results.
2. Give & Take. You can’t “win” all the time. Know when to walk respectfully away from a discussion, disagreement, or argument. “Winning” doesn’t accomplish anything, other than an ego boost and hurt feelings. Relationship preservation is more important than winning an argument.
3. Be realistic about your spouse. See the person for who they are. If the person is a slob, they’re a slob! Do what you can to work with the behavior to bring yourself sanity. Stop thinking that you can change him/her or that they will change. The only person you can change is yourself, and that’s conditional, providing that you recognize the need for change and commit to making the change.
4. Look in the mirror at yourself and be honest with what you see. I recognized very early that I was a hot head, a fire-ball, and like gasoline, was quite explosive. My easily fused temper was not healthy for our relationship. Early on and after a few outrageous incidents on my part, I realized that I was capable of destroying our relationship. On the flip side, hubby realized that he had a nut case on his hands and often walked away. The balance and contrast in our attitudes and personalities enabled us to work through it.
5. Know your emotional triggers. Take time to figure yourself out. Journaling is a great tool to do this. I’ve been journaling for over 15 years and it has and continues to be a positive way for me to sort through life’s challenges. When I’ve gone back and read entries, I am thankful that I wrote my feelings on paper and not said what I was feeling; my thoughts were rather twisted. I can laugh now.
6. Be nice and be a good friend. Hubby is friend first, hubby second. Our relationship evolved from a valued friendship so I try to keep friendship first.
7. Avoid manipulation and playing mind games. Thankfully, this has never been our style. If I don’t like something that he’s said or did, I tell him and expect him to do the same.
8. Settle disagreements in private out of the eye of the public, including family and friends, and our children.
9. Respect that men and women ARE from different planets. I don’t like to generalize, but this is true. There are at least two perspectives on everything: male & female. We think differently; don’t expect him to think like you and don’t try to think like him. It’s unnatural to do so; I just try to work with what I’m given.
10. Give credit even when it’s not do. Lol! I’m dead serious! It’s an ego thing and works well.
11. Don’t do anything stupid in the absence of your significant other. Translations? Before you decide to sneak around and creep on your partner, think about how they would feel when not if they found out. The truth ALWAYS prevails. If this doesn’t motivate you to do the right thing, then YOU don’t care about that person and should not be married.
12. Don’t seek or take advice from everyone you talk to. Not everyone has your best interest at heart. Misery loves company.
All I’m saying is that some things seem to be easier and simpler than they are. Have you ever watched someone do something and then you tried it, only to discover that it’s much harder than it looks? Well, marriage is one of those things.
I am not naïve. Some couples weren’t meant to be a couple; therefore, some marriages weren’t mean to be and should be dissolved. I also know that couples grow apart. A big part of the challenge is trying to figure out how to grow together and stay in sync. It’s not easy.
For the single folks reading, multiply all of your daily challenges time’s two adults then add kids into the mix. It’s work either way. By no means necessary am I complaining, I’m just trying to bring another perspective to the table. Marriage is work and just like most investments, if you do your work and stick it out, the dividends can be warding.
Before my father died, my parents were married for over 20 years. How many of those years were happy,? I’m not certain. I do know that much of what I saw was dysfunctional. So long before I married, I promised myself that I would never be a part of a marriage like theirs. My parents will never understand the valuable lessons they taught me about relationships.
It is often said that, it’s not where you come from, but it’s where you’re going that matters most. While my marriage isn’t perfect and I’m not delusional in thinking that everything is always going to be hunky-dory okay, I am in it for the long haul. You bet, he gets on my last damn nerve at times and I know that I can work his nerves, but that comes with the territory and we both accept that. I don’t know what the future holds for my marriage, but I stay positive and look forward to the best of times.
I’ll leave you with this brief story. Some years ago, when our daughter was in her early teens, hubby and I were engaged in a serious discussion and/or debate. No shouting or arguing going on as she was in ear shot range. She dramatically and tearfully screamed, “Oh my gosh, I wish you guys would stop arguing!!” Hubby and I look at each other and I burst out laughing hysterically. I’m thinking, “OMG are you kidding me! You think this mess is an argument??” She thought our serious toned debate was an argument. Man, she was living a fairy tale life and had no idea what a real argument is like.
Needless to say, I think we’ve done our job in setting an example for our daughter of a healthy and loving relationship. Thank God!