Middle School Amor

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.

12 thoughts on “Middle School Amor

  1. Wow Sra. Lopez sad race is an issue we have to think about.

    I think most kids don’t really notice race. Lucky.

    Last year, my son had a crush on a girl. I asked him to describe her to me. He told me ALL about her, curly hair, had glasses, likes playing ball, etc.

    One day, after school, he was playing ball with a girl in the front of the school.
    As he got in the car to go home, he says, “that’s her mom, the girl I like”. She was African American. Which is completely fine with me, it just really stood out to me how much he had said to describe her but never said her color.

    I felt proud, that that didn’t even matter to him, he had seen her just the same.

    I think more of us should be like kids.

  2. I just read an article about racism and kids and how they don’t even notice race until society starts coloring their world. Chances are she didn’t break up with him because he’s part Latino.

    This is the first of many dating heartbreaks your boys will encounter…be brave mama!

    • @ HeartinHand – Well, to be clear, I don’t think the girl wanted to break up, but the parents made her. I’m just wondering about why the parents had a problem. If it’s just their policy that she can’t have a boyfriend at all, that’s completely understandable, but you would think the girl would have known that in the first place. That’s why I’m suspicious.

      Anyway, ’tis the first of many, as you said.

  3. As always, I have two things popping up in my head. 1) I have a similar issue here, but with all my daughters friends being very children of well known, affluent members of the town, dr’s and lawyers and board members and business owners and then, us. We are not only NOT in their circle, but we aren’t even in their age bracket (mid 40’s). We are the only couple of mixed race, in fact, they are all white. Blonde, skinny, BMW driving, kinda people. I ways wonder how this is going to play out, but my kid is awesome and I believe it’ll be fine because of who SHE is. If not, their loss huh? 2) As a parent to a daughter who is not allowed to date, but is at that age where she is “sorta” interested, she might have tried it. OR just used the parent excuse because she didn’t really want a boyfriend but likes him and so she didn’t know how to say no. I had two boyfriends that I said yes to because they were my friends and I was put on the spot when they asked me out and later had to come up with a reason to say “actually, no.” Poor kid, girls are nuts! I do think the race thing will be harder for him, being a male, then for the girls. :/

    • @ Humincat – Thanks for the insight. Ay, chicas! I don’t understand them myself! LOL. I was thankful to have boys only b/c they’re less complicated! I can barely sort myself out, let alone daughters and their locuras ;)

      As for being the only mixed couple where you live – when you get out of that general area, do you see others at least? … I’ve been noticing more and more this past year. It’s fun to give each other a knowing smile as our shopping carts pass. (Though some people give you a mean look like you’re going to try to take their man. LOL.)

  4. O.M.G.

    See this… All that up there, I… I don’t even know what I will do when my mocoso comes home and tells me that.

    If the time comes all too soon, I’ll just call you.

    Yes, you talk to him. See.. Problem solved!

    I’m still freaking out about Sex Ed. on Monday.

    Ay MAMA!

  5. My younger boys (12 and 15) have not dated just yet. Seriously, I’m in no hurry for them to start. However, my eldest (19) has dated plenty. Thankfully my 12yo shows very little interest if at all.

    We live in a mixed neighborhood [about 40% Mexican, 40% Asian, 20% everything else]. We often wonder who they will end up dating and eventually marrying. I always try to stress that race is not of importance, but the quality of the person is. Is she smart and ambitious? (she will keep you on your toes and intrigued)Is she a free Nelly? (you can catch an std)

    As parents we have many concerns for our kids when they start dating, but race should be the least of anyone’s’ concern.

    • @ Catalina – The whole STD thing is a scary reality. I don’t envy single people today – not that STDs are something new, but they certainly seem more widespread.

      I agree with you that race should be the least of people’s concerns. So far my boy’s crushes have been on girls who are smart and kind, so I think they’re doing well :) I don’t even ask them “What do they look like?” – because I don’t want them to think “beauty” is important either.

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