My daughter is growing up.

Sigh.

Over the weekend she went to her homecoming dance – she had gone to the dances in the past, but always with a gaggle of girlfriends. This year she had a date.

For the past few months she has been “hanging out” with this guy Matt. They swore they weren’t boyfriend/girlfriend, but she admitted to me that they both liked each other. I thought that was a tad odd. I mean, if you both like each other and you like to hang out, why not just be a couple?

As the weeks have gone by, they were spending more and more time together, especially on the phone. I had to laugh – she’d be on the phone with him from the time she got home from school until she went to bed at night, with the exception of dinner and homework. But hell, I remember doing the same goofy stuff when I was her age – actually, even younger than her. They spend at least one weekend day together either at our house or his. But this weekend, the weekend of the dance, they spent every day together.

Saturday, the day of the big homecoming dance, we got her all ready. My girl has naturally wavy hair, but I added some more spiral curls and I have to admit, she really looked stunning. Over the past 6 months she has learned how to apply eye makeup and how to take better care of her hair, and it shows. When Matt showed up he had a wrist corsage for her…and he went up 10 notches in my book. My daughter’s first corsage, and her first date to a dance, and probably her first kiss. After taking the required amount of photos, Matt’s parents drove them to the dance, and I basked in the thought that she looked really happy.

And I noticed they were holding hands.

I like this boy, too. He’s cute, and very nice. He’s the perfect first boyfriend for my shy little girl. I don’t believe he’ll try to pressure her or make many moves on her at all. But to be sure, I usually have my youngest daughter “tag along” with them when he’s over.

The day after the dance we had to go to Walmart, and we took Matt along. I noticed while walking through the store, my girl and her guy held hands the whole time. It was cute and sweet and it made me realize that their relationship has moved on to that next level…the holding hands, kissing, can’t live without you level.

And it makes me think I need to have a talk with my daughter.

For instance, she is having a belated sweet 16 party the weekend of Halloween. The plan is for a bunch of her girlfriends to come to our house, hang out for a while..eat some food, goof around, and then I will take them all on a haunted trail walk. This morning she asked if Matt could come along for the trail part of the party. I explained to her that while I have no problem with that, I cautioned her to not become one of those girls who abandons her girlfriends now that she’s got boyfriend. I told her she needs to be able to spend a night out with her friends, and leave the boyfriend out of it.

I’m wondering what she’ll decide to do. In any case, my little girl is growing up. It’s so bizarre – I have to remind myself that she is 16 and not six. It’s about time she had her first boyfriend, but from a parent’s perspective, this is one weird trip.

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