My oldest son will be 12 years old in a few months, but when it comes to the whole dating scene, he’s been way behind his peers. It seems like all his friends have been dating since Kindergarten, but my son didn’t start showing a mild interest in girls until this year and seemed in no rush to have a girlfriend, which was fine by me!
All that changed last Friday. When he came home from school he said, “I want to tell you something, but you can’t ask me a million questions.” (Don’t you love that?… it’s worse when they say, “…but you can’t get mad.”)
Anyway, he said, “I have a girlfriend.”
I clapped a hand over my mouth to stop the million questions from spilling forth. He stared at me. I took a deep breath and composed myself.
“Oh… that’s cool.” I feigned nonchalance. A minute passed… “Um, so, like… no questions at all?” I said tentatively.
He rolled his eyes… “OKAY, but not too many!”
I selected them carefully.
“What’s her name? …” (Liz.)
“How do you know her?…” (She’s in my classes.)
“What do you like about her?” (She’s nice and smart.)
I backed off and left him alone even though I was dying to know more. Over the weekend he showed me her picture in the year book. I had been wanting to ask him if she was Anglo, Latina, or something else, (He had a crush on a Korean-American girl last year), but I didn’t want him to think that I thought race was important. His father and I don’t care what race he dates or eventually marries, but we are curious to see how much more mixed up our family will become!
When I saw her picture in the year book, it was fairly obvious that she was Anglo, (of course, you never know for sure.) But based on her features, (not so unlike mine – blue eyes and freckles), and her surname, that would be my best guess.
Later that night I reported back to my husband everything I had learned about our son’s first girlfriend. We laid in bed, the house quiet, as we had our nightly chat before falling asleep.
“I wonder what her parents will say,” my husband said aloud.
“About what?” I said.
“When they find out their daughter’s boyfriend has the last name López.”
I hadn’t thought about that. We laid in bed, staring at the darkness for a minute.
“I’m sure it will be fine,” I said.
On Monday, our son came home from school. He closed the door behind him and set his backpack on the floor. “Well, we broke up,” he said.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
“Oh yeah! I’m not upset about it at all. Whatever,” he said, heading towards the kitchen.
“That’s good… but, what happened?”
“She said that her parents told her she can’t have a boyfriend.”
“But she must have known that. Why did she say ‘yes’ when you asked her on Friday?”
“Good question,” he said shrugging his shoulders as he emptied the cupboards and refrigerator in pursuit of an after-school-snack.
I’m relieved that the question of racism hasn’t entered his thoughts as a possibility. I’m just sad that it’s entered mine.