Most of last week, I was in Las Vegas on a project, but every time I spoke to Sisi by phone, I got an earful about "The Boy I Like"-- hereinafter referred to "B" for "boy"--to protect his privacy. Of course, there's no way in hell any of Sisi's friends would EVER do something as lame as read her mother's blog, but it is the Internet and I guess you never know. I wouldn't want to ruin my daughter's social life by revealing too much...
(Can you tell by the emphasis in the last two sentences who I've been talking to about this? Oh, the limits of the black and white thinking of as teenager! Pun intended!)
Just before I left town last week, Sisi was trying to decide if she was going to Homecoming. Tickets were on sale, and most of her friends weren't going. They are, after all, lowly freshmen and not as fully invested in the school as the upperclassmen.
On Friday afternoon, when I had a break from my work, I called home and was greeted with an enthusiastic: "I've been waiting all day to tell someone this news!" I wish Sisi got excited about getting an "A" on a project, but I knew better. This had to be about "the boy she likes."
"B asked me to Homecoming!" she gushed. "So I'll need a dress, and shoes, and a hairdo and..."
"Slow your roll," I said. "You're not Homecoming Queen. Take it easy here."
Let the negotiations begin!
We decided she'd get a new dress, borrow a pair of my fancy heels, style her hair herself and buy some inexpensive jewelry or a sparkly barrette or other hair ornament. Budget $100.
Because I was away, Kevin got the dress-selecting job. It's one of those things that if you'd told him six or seven years ago that he'd be doing on a Sunday afternoon, he'd have laughed, but there he was patiently sifting through cocktail dresses in the Juniors department of Macy's, doing his best to keep his step-daughter classy and not trashy-- with some brief guidelines from me. No strapless, not more than two inches above the knee, please. They found an adorable dress on-budget and sent me a picture.
Good. Sisi was bubbling with excitement. Her first Homecoming--- and her first real date!
I got home on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, our house was full of the usual cadre of girls. "This is my dress," I heard her telling them as passed by her room. "With these shoes... and I'm thinking of twisting my hair like this..."
But by Thursday the picture had changed.
"He dumped me," she said when I met her after school. Her eyes filled with tears. "He said he didn't think it would work out and he'd rather be 'just friends'. He's taking someone else."
Of course, she was hurt. But we had a good talk. About how there are plenty of fish in the sea. About how "B" may have done her favor by breaking it off. About why it would be stupid to try to chase after him-- and smarter to act like you just don't care.
"You've got a beautiful dress. You could go anyway with a group of friends," I suggested.
"But none of my friends were going," she told me. "I don't want to go if I don't have anyone to hang out with."
I started looking for the receipt for the dress.
So, here we are. Homecoming was tonight...but Sisi didn't go. We returned the dress this afternoon, and instead, she and her friends held an "anti-Homecoming" party, playing board games and eating pizza. They had a blast. If she's thought about "B" at all, I can't tell. She's seems perfectly content with her friends, her games, her music and her pizza.
Heartache healed...for now. This one was easy: she liked this boy, but it wasn't "love," thank goodness.
First love, however, is coming. My next door neighbor's son just graduated from the same high school... and is marrying his girlfriend next month before joining the Air Force. "They've been dating since freshman year," she told me. "She's his first real girlfriend. He's always made good decisions and never given us a minute's worry..." she sighed. "But they're both so young. This wasn't in my plan for him. None of it."
Or Sisi's friend who breaks up with her 15-year-old boyfriend once a week... and threatens to kill herself every time. She doesn't; it's mostly drama. But it's still scary to hear and has caused Sisi and the girl's family considerable distress.
Not in the plan, either.
Love is coming...and heartbreak is coming, too, the kind pizza and Wii don't cure. I hate the thought of it, but there's nothing I can do. It comes to us all, it some point. It's one of the experiences that leads us into maturity.
I can only hope Sisi shows the same resilience and flexibility she has over this incident when love and heartbreak come. I can hope... but love, like so many things, has it own plans.