SALT LAKE CITY — It was getting late, and I was waiting for my oldest son to come home from his date. As is natural in this past-curfew situation, I decided to call and check on him.
"You're late," I said.
"I know, but I just really wanted to kiss her," he announced.
"I know you did," I replied. "Now, come home because I'm really tired."
A few minutes later, my son walked in the back door and proceeded to tell me about his first kiss. I listened as he told me how it happened, and it was as magical and extremely awkward as you would expect a first kiss to be. He said things like "I'm not sure if I did it right" and "I'd like to do that again."
I listened with intent, while at the same time making sure my son knew that if he ever intended to spend time with her again, let alone let his lips touch hers, that he needed to come home in a timely manner.
As we parted ways, I couldn't help but smile about the moment we just had that has been years in the making. One does not just get to know about a child's first kiss; these moments are hard-earned.
As his mother, I have spent countless minutes sharing stories of my first kiss, and subsequent relationships. My kids know all about the time when I — uh, never mind; that information is privileged. But they also know about the time when I got dumped, the time when I broke a boy's heart, as well as how the dating years were the best and worst of my life. They know (almost) everything because I want them to feel like they can talk to me about anything.
Because as awesome as my son's first kiss was, I knew full well that there would be a rough ride ahead. Kissing can lead to more kissing and improved relationships, but it can also lead to heartbreak. It is an essential learning curve that leads down a road to the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.
As my son (and every human who enters a relationship) has found, relationships are not always fun. Relationships take work that often includes a roller coaster of emotions on a ride that you have very little control over. And, without someone to help you through it, the ride can get off track pretty dang fast.
While I don't profess to have the secret recipe for how to be a safe place for your children to go, I know that being there for that first kiss opens doors to be there for those other things as well.
How do I know? Well, let's just say there hasn't been a second kiss — and I'm not (totally) blaming the current world crisis. Distance does have a way of making the heart grow fonder, but it also has a way of contributing to loss of interest. #YouCantKissWithoutContact #KissingIsAContactSport
What tips do you have for keeping open communication with your teenagers? Let us know in the comments.