I did not think I'd start the Slice with something so intimate, but here goes... a story about my son and a coed party that has dominated discussion in our house the past few days. If you're wondering, I have now emailed all the host parents, to introduce myself and to try to get to know them. And I'm struggling with "letting go". Here's a story that shares my struggle with that!

Last night, my husband and I walked to the mailbox in the strangely warm Ohio evening (it should not be 50 degrees in February, but that's another post!) and our last few minutes of discussion were all about our son, who is invited to a birthday party this weekend... at the house of someone we don't know... and he wants to then sleepover... at another kid's house... and we don't know that kid, either.

We have told our son so often that "We trust you" and the truth is, we do. But what does worry us is the biology of 14 year old brains, racing toward adulthood on full speed with a giant tank of impulsiveness fueling it. And our kiddo has not yet hit puberty yet; he's a late bloomer, hanging out in a crowd that's a few steps ahead of him, along for the ride but in the backseat. The waaaay back.

When we got home from the walk, R joined us on the front porch for a talk. We've been figuring out this party/sleepover for a day, so he knew it was on our minds. 

"R, if kids are partnered up and making out, you don't have to make out with the last girl that's left. You can just talk to her, you can say "Let's go for a walk.", you can say you have to go to the bathroom and then text us and we can come get you. We won't ask any questions."

"Mom," he says in a serious voice. "It's not called making out anymore. It's called hooking up."

"OK, hooking up, right. And if you want to kiss someone, you can. But only if she wants to kiss you. Remember how we talked about consent?" (Now I'm bumbling, wondering if I'm making him feel like no one wants to kiss him. And do co-ed parties even work this way anymore, with everyone partnered up, listening to make-out records in someone's basement? Oops, I mean hooking-up records.)

"Mom." Now his voice is gentle. "I know; I know."

"And you can call us. We won't ask any questions. Even if you're not where you're supposed to be. We trust you, and we know you might make mistakes. Or be around other people making bad choices. That doesn't mean you can't call us. I promise not to ask questions."

He's still listening as I run through every rule and situation that could arise. My husband is earnestly nodding his head in agreement, making me feel like "I've got this," but honestly, I'm not sure this is an effective "talk". Then David climbs in my lap (yep; he still does that) and gives me a long hug. My amazing kid. In that hug is full reassurance that he knows we love him, and he'll try to do the right thing. He might not "get" girls yet, but he sure gets his mom. And now that I think about it... he's probably going to be a pretty good boyfriend one day. 


  1. Is the party chaperoned? If not, I'd try to find out why.

    It's tough letting go, but you can't keep teens sequestered forever.

  2. Oh, my first thought as I read this was, I'm so glad those years are behind me. Walking through possible scenarios with him is a powerful way to prep for these events. And I love your thread of trust that runs throughout the slice!

  3. I never had kids and the opportunity for that has long gone. I often wonder how badly I'd have managed these serious conversations. I am a conflict avoidant introvert and talking about serious topics has never been my strong suit. It sounds like you did a marvelous job, to me.

  4. My son is also 14 and just "broke up" with his first "girlfriend" (a phone calling/texting flirtation that lasted all of nine days), and honestly, it's brutal to be a mom to a 14 year old! I am sooo not ready for all of this. I very much struggle with "letting go" too. In fact, I just don't believe in it! You handled this beautifully.

  5. Oh God. I also have a 14 year old son. I think perhaps we should form a support group. Elisabeth are you in? I didn't breathe through this entire post. You are so very wise. We haven't come up to this situation yet. Thank goodness. Wondering if I can avoid it for about 10 more years . . . Thank you for sharing so openly!

  6. This is a struggle for all parents -- that delicate balance between letting go and holding on. Your son is lucky to have such open and understanding parents. It will all be good!


  7. What a beautiful piece--made me nostalgic for my boys who are now dads themselves! I have been known to say that if you make it through age 15, it's all good. I found that 15 was the year that the serious choices were made of which kids to hang with.

  8. Oh my. I have a 12 year old who is also lagging behind in the puberty stuff, but is miles ahead in the "makes impulsive decisions" area, so I'm pretty much terrified. I can only dream of handling things with such wisdom and composure!


Post a Comment