26 February 2007

Dr. Phil the Younger

My son has a girlfriend. He's 14.

She's great, by the way. Smart, quick smile to go with an edgy wit, doesn't put up with crap. She doesn't even do the TeenSpeak thing to excess, which, ohmygod, is like, soooo awesome? So, if my youngest of offspring must have a girlfriend (Seriously? You can't wait until you're 35, son?), I couldn't have picked a better one. Plus, she'll keep him in line.

So, my son, still fresh in the blush of Young Love, suggests that I may want to rethink my stance on relationships. Apparently, I should be dating more. Or dating period.

I'm a single mom. Three teenagers, two big dogs, mortgage, full-time job. I currently do not have the time or inclination to take on a relationship. This, of course, could instantly change, should Antonio Banderas, Johnny Depp, or Denzel Washington suddenly come a-knocking. Or should I win the lottery and suddenly have time to shave my legs and paint my toenails.

These scenarios could easily occur around the same time that monkeys fly out of my ass.

Dear Son: Yeah, so, I'm just saying, you maybe should think about how you look at relationships. You know, you're always saying a relationship takes work and energy, and you already work and have kids and stuff, but maybe you should think about that in a different way.

Me: Different way?

Dear Son: Yeah, you know, like it's someone to talk to and know about, plus it's fun. Maybe it would give you energy instead of using your energy, or something. Like maybe it's a good thing, not more work.

Me: ...

Dear Son: So, like maybe you're not thinking about it fairly.

Me: What are you, Doctor Phil?

Are you serious? The kid whose stretchmarks I bear dispensing advice to the lovelorn? Is he not here as a direct result of a heartily embraced relationship? Well, that and The Best of Barry White.

Scratch that.

So, it's all fresh and exciting for him. Relationships have not yet evolved to include such mundane things as Effort and Work. Good for him, I mean that. Damn, I love that kid. And he's probably right. To some extent. You, Gentle Readers, understand the many layers and phases of love, and he'll get that someday. Hopefully slowly, and weighted toward the joy end of the spectrum.

I look at his (too) handsome, earnest face, and know there's no explaining it. He'll learn it all -- good, bad and ugly -- as we all do. Young love: nothing better.

So, I've been Dr. Phil'd by this young man whose diapers I changed. WTF?


It probably wouldn't hurt to consider his thoughts. Throw off a bit of the (well-earned) cynicism. I wasn't always cynical. I was once a fresh-faced romantic. Of course, I also wore acid-washed, pleated jeans with tapered ankles. You move on. With wisdom comes a certain amount of cynicism. That's just the way of it. But, don't we all sometimes think on those days when it was just fun and your heart was close to bursting?

Go on with your bad self, Young Dr. Phil. Just not too fast.

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