As the mother of a teenage daughter, I often find myself not frustrated with outbursts of teen angst, but rather jealous of her. She’s a wonderful young woman with so much potential that will carry her wherever she wants to go in life. As I start the second half of my life, I’m envious of her beginnings. Just a little. I’d never want to be 15 again, trust me.
Recently I’ve been jealous for another reason. She has her first real boyfriend. No, I am not jealous of the young man (ugh, shudder, ick – no offense young man), but rather the whole concept of new love.
After 24 years of marriage, I sometimes feel like there can’t possibly be anything new. We know each other as well as two people can – thoughts, feelings, ideas, hopes, fears. Conversation too often just becomes a litany of what we did during the day and what we need to do the next. The routine of life is boring. Even an occasional date night brings just another meal.
But new love…. It’s both stomach-turningly scary and heart-soaringly exciting. To be on the brink of something wonderful gives such a heady high. Your attention is so focused on this person you’re getting to know. There’s so much to learn, so much to talk about. Everything is fresh and new. As I type this I get a little shiver of excitement just thinking about it.
I have no doubt that my husband loves me. He has been the most supportive, wonderful man I could ever have hoped for. No matter what harebrained idea I get about what I want to do with myself, he’s right there aiding and abetting me. He’s a constant in my life I can’t imagine not having.
The focused adoration of new love is a strong drug. To have someone think that you are the most amazing thing in the world and show you that adoration can be addictive. I can see why some people have commitment issues. How hard it can be to give up the excitement of frantic conversations, words tumbling like rocks in a creek as you each try to learn as much as possible about the other. Tentative first kisses and caresses. Does he love me or does he not? It’s all scary and thrilling and hard and oh, so wonderful.
But it can’t stay that way. Eventually you do know each other well. You know that he leaves the cap off the toothpaste every time. You know that he’ll always make the first pot of coffee in the morning. You know that he gets tired and grumpy after a long day. You know that he still adores you, but doesn’t show it in grand romantic gestures. You know that he’ll always be home for dinner. You know that he’s there for you.
I wish my daughter the best of luck as she embarks on the journey of her life. I wish for her the exhilaration of new love and quick recovery after heartbreak. I wish for her a plethora of new experiences that will some day bring her to her own place of stability and happiness. I wish for her to know the love of someone who will always support her no matter what path she chooses to take. I wish for her to know that no matter what life brings her, she is strong enough to handle it all.
I wish for her to know that I will always be there for her, supporting her, but also living a little vicariously through her as she walks her own path.