“I love you Grayson.”
That’s what a little piece of yellow paper had written on it that the boy found under a book on his desk. My 9-year-old third grader had a little lady falling for his redheaded ass.
A part of me wanted to high five him, do a chest bump and let him take a swig of my beer. But the father of a daughter in me took over and immediately I began to fume.
My hypocrisy regarding my views of youth and relationships was already beginning to creep its way into real situations sooner than I’d anticipated.
Since the day we saw the sonar of our precious little wienerless fetus on the screen during the pregnancy, I knew the day would eventually come when I was standing with a shotgun in front of the daughter’s bedroom door while tossing a pack of condoms to the boy.
Since the day the wife spat our little daughter into the world I’ve been randomly polling the women in my life regarding how their father’s dealt with them as teenagers.
“My dad wouldn’t let me date till I was 18.”
“My boyfriend snuck into my bedroom constantly at night.”
“I had my first baby when I was 17.”
I stopped asking after that last response.
Next, I quickly decided I should make a list. That’s what the old school 80s After School Specials always recommended… “when you’re in a pinch on a tough decision, turn on some Poison and make a list!” So I did.
How I Will Treat Relationships the Boy & Girl Have As Teenagers
Boy: Lend him my quality porn collection so he can learn how to handle himself in the sack.
Girl: Show her medical videos of people with horrific cases of gonorrhea and syphilis.
Boy: Provide him with condoms so he always has protection.
Girl: Sleep on the floor next to her bed with a shotgun so that she’s always protected.
Boy: Make sure I don’t cockblock him when he has a girl over to watch a movie.
Girl: Sit on the couch next to the daughter’s male friend and drink a bottle of whiskey while cleaning my chainsaw and staring at him as they watch a movie.
Boy: Explain to him he should be free, enjoy his youth and not lock himself down with a girl for years.
Girl: Drill into her head that you don’t really understand love and relationships till you’re 29 so she should just wait till then to kiss a boy or anything else ookie like that.
It was at this point the wife ripped the sheet out of my hands, balled it up, slapped me and said “get a grip you gap-toothed idiot. We’re going to treat them the same, give them both the exact same tools and opportunities. We’re going let them screw up and learn from it. We’re going to support them through the whole thing and arm them as best we can to make good choices. We can’t guard their every move.”
And she’s right. It’s the only thing to do. I don’t ever want to look back and know that I was too overbearing and sheltered them from becoming who they truly are. I want them to make mistakes, have their hearts broken and learn all the amazing and sometimes painful facets of love.
I touched the wife’s shoulder, smiled a “you’re right” smile at her, then stopped by the girl’s bedroom to make sure all the hidden cameras had fully charged batteries in them.