It is a trying time being the mother of a tween and teen boy, having to constantly resolve the conflicts and competition that arise between them. Lately, my oldest son has complained a lot about my younger son’s attempts to charm the girls at their school. Due to this recent groaning, it came as no surprise when I got a call from my daughter asking if I’d seen my older son’s facebook status having to do with his younger brother. I had not seen it, so I asked her to tell me what it said; fully expecting a reprimand would be in order. Apparently, my son deemed it necessary to post a warning to all the girls at school about his younger brother. His status update read, “To all girls that go to my school, if my brother asks for your number, PLEASE say NO!!” My daughter and I were laughing hysterically.
After I hung up the phone and composed myself, I asked why he felt the need to post the warning. He replied in a rather dramatic fashion that his brother had asked the entire girls’ basketball team for their phone numbers and it was causing him, big brother, a great deal of social stress. I thought it only fair to get little brother’s side of the story, knowing full well it would be entertaining. I was not disappointed. The conversation began with me inquiring whether he was asking girls for their numbers. He grinned, nodded his head and said, “Yeah, a few.” Knowing him as I do, and feeling the need for a little comedic relief, I could not resist asking to see how he went about this. Based upon his very theatrical performance, this, my friends, is how it goes down…he swaggers up and opens with, “Hey, I was wondering if you have a boyfriend or somebody in your life?” If she says yes, he nonchalantly says, “cool” and moves on. If she says no, he continues, “So I was thinking maybe I could get your phone number.” He said they either say no or they give him their number.
In my biased opinion, this seems like a smooth approach, not to mention pretty darn courageous, but I am not a middle school girl, and I find my son quite charming and adorable. I asked how many numbers he had gotten and he said one. I was thinking how glad I was that he had not been totally shut down. He interrupted my thought by telling me he had called the number and got a message saying, “the number you are calling is no longer in service.” OUCH!!! He was not shy in expressing how rude he felt this was and how he should probably just throw that piece of paper in the trash. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I wanted to laugh, because it was really funny, but at the same time I had an overwhelming desire to protect and defend him against those mean girls. As gently as possible, I tried to explain why it would be best if he played it cool and backed off for a while. Now that the warning bell has rung, I believe the gathering of numbers will stop for the time being.
I thought it was difficult being a teen girl, but I’m starting to realize it is just as tough being a teen boy. It takes a great deal of confidence and bravery to put yourself out there knowing that rejection is a real possibility. As much I want to protect my sons, I know this is a lesson they are going to have to learn on their own. To my sweet, sweet boy, I want to say that I love you so. One day a very perceptive young woman will give you her real phone number and all will be well. In the meantime, I have something to say to the girls dissin’ on my baby, and that is, thank you. I thank you for I am nowhere near ready for the phone to constantly ring once you realize what an awesome catch he is…or better yet, maybe it won’t ring because he has given you a number that is no longer in service!
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