The First Boy
Spoiler alert. This is a long post...Shout out to Avengers: Endgame. If you can hang with that, you can hang with this! Also, there is a little more cursing in this post than others. But hey, keep praying for me. Real feelings at the time on display.
As a kid growing up in Gary, Indiana, I never ever thought to myself, "You know, when I grow up, I want to move to Cedar Rapids, IA!" But after a wild night at a bar in 2007, here I am. I remember when I first met Ayanna, my oldest daughter. I moved out here to Iowa in May 3, 2008. The next day, I went to her mom's house to see my baby. My nerves almost got the best of me. I didn't want to get out of the car. But I finally mustered the courage to get out of the car. She was sitting on the couch watching cartoons. I walked in, sat on the couch, and then I said, "Hi Ayanna, I'm your Daddy." And then she came over and gave me a hug.
And we have been together ever since.
Ever since then, every major decision I have made in my life has been centered around her and Amanyi. And in this journey of being a Dad, I've dealt with a lot of firsts. First day of daycare. First day of elementary school. First day of middle school. First bike. First school dance. First period (wrote a whole blog post about that, shameless blog post plug). Etc Etc.
Now we are in another "first". And I don't think I really enjoy this one very much.
It's the first puppy love. Ugh.
A couple of months ago, my daughter told me that she wanted to talk to me. When your kid wants to "talk" to you. That normally means that they want something. So I was mentally calculating in my head how much money I had on me. Kids are expensive often ungrateful creatures. Nevertheless, I sat down on her bed and asked what she wanted. She looked at me for about five seconds before she spoke. I would like to think that she was trying to get the words together on what she wanted to tell me. I don't think I'm a very intimidating person, however, given what was on her mind. I'm sure that her stomach was in knots trying to tell me what she was going to tell me.
"Daddy, can I have a boyfriend?"
What. The. Fuck.
Have you ever had one of the out of body experiences where you feel as if you're looking down on yourself while a situation is going on. That was me right there. Me hovering over my body in disbelief . Lord come quickly! I couldn't believe what I was hearing. My baby girl wants a "boyfriend". What part of the game is this? The devil was busy that day! Here are the first three thoughts that were going through my mind:
2. Hell no.
3. What the fuck, why couldn't I have a boy???? This would be much easier if I was talking to Jamaal The Remix. (That's the nickname for the son that I probably will never have. Don't judge me)
After what must have seemed to her an eternity of me trying to mentally compose myself, I asked her why she wanted a boyfriend. And also, since she asked me, there must be someone that she had in mind. She told me that yes there was. And that she wanted one because he liked her for her, and that she really liked him. She told me that he wasn't like the other boys and that she enjoyed talking to him. I asked her about him. She told me where he was from. That he didn't go to her school (thank God!). And most of all, she really liked him.
My dude, I was not ready.
But I did recognize that this was a milestone. And the next thing I said would really shape her dating life. So I didn't want to say out and out "No". Because, in my experience, when you stonewall something like this with no reason, then she'll just do it anyway. So I had to kill the idea. I had to sell her on why having a boyfriend was a bad idea. And I tried. Boy I tried. I told her that there comes feelings and heartbreak with something like that. I told her that I didn't want her ending up hurt and crying and confused. And I think she understood what I was saying. We agreed that the term "boyfriend" might carry too much expectations to the kind of relationship that she was ready for. And while I didn't forbid her from talking to him, maybe being just "friends" would be a better idea.
Yeah. Epic fail.
Because kids are going to test you. And while you can tell these folks that the stove is hot, they sure as hell wanna reach out and touch it just to make sure.
So fast forward to a couple weeks ago. My daughter has one best friend and she asked me if she could go to this little girl's house for her birthday party and sleepover. Now, my daughter has been to the girl's house before. I met the Mom and she seemed cool enough. But what struck me as odd is how much Ayanna kept begging me to go to this particular sleepover. It was weird.
As the old folks say, "Something was stirred in my spirit."
Something told me to say no. My spider sense was going off like a building was about to crush Peter Parker. But I didn't. Because I didn't have a good reason to say no. She had been an exceptional student over the last few months. Got great grades. And mysteriously was doing all of her chores and even beefing with her little sister less. In hindsight, I was being set up. Little girls are manipulative little beings. I was being set up so that I had no reason to deny her request.
So I said yes. She could go.
The day of the party rolls around. Ayanna had asked me for $25 bucks to go to the movies and get snacks. The plan was that her friend's mom was going to pick them up and take them back to her house to get ready. Then they were going to a 5:30 movie. Then home for the slumber party and bonfire. So Ayanna asked me to leave the money for her to take before I left for work.
This is how I know that God is real. Because I forgot to leave the money.
Then she asked me to drop the money off at home when I got off work. Then her friend's Mom would pick her up. And mysteriously, I had to work late. So they picked her up without me giving her the money. Then the plan was for me to drop the money off at the little girl's house before they left for the movie.
So I hustled over there after work. Ayanna is blowing my phone up begging me to hurry up. I'm going as fast as I can because I was really in a good mood. Plus work was good that day. I got a sale. And I was rushing to get home so I can just chill.
I get there, I go to the door, and the girl's Mom lets me in. I'm shaking her hand. The girl's Dad is there too and I shake his hand. The dog even comes from around the corner and says hi. Then my daughter comes from around a corner and gives me a big hug. I hand her the money and then as I turn to walk out of the door, I hear another voice. A. Male. Voice.
Some little boy had spoke to me. I didn't think much of because I was rushing to get out of the door so they could leave. But as I got in my car and drove away, I was like "What in the holy hell???". So I texted my daughter and asked her if that was her love interest. She said yes. My dude, it took all the God in me not to call her up and cuss her out. I was pissed. I asked her why didn't see tell me that there were going to be boys as this party? Are they spending the night too? Why didn't the parents tell me that there were going to be boys at this party? I was more than pissed. Super Duper Pissed I was. I snapped on her and told her that I wasn't happy that she held that information from me. Why???
"Because I didn't think you would care..., " she said.
Yeah. Wrong answer.
Have you ever been pissed off at your kids, then you get more pissed off at them when they give you ABSOLUTELY THE DUMBEST ANSWER THAT THEY CAN POSSIBLY THINK OF???? I was super pissed. I told her that after the movie, that she was coming home. And not to ever ever ever ever ask to go over that little girl house again, since she can't tell me all of the facts of where she was going. Only because I've been 12 once and dumb did I not drive to the movie theater and pull her out of the movie. But damn, why do kids do that?
So, she got in trouble. No cell phone. No tablet. No life for a while. And I thought that was that...
...but wait, there's more.
A couple of weekends ago, I was driving to Indiana with the girls to visit family. It had been a long day because I had to umpire that day and that evening we hit the road going back to the crib. During the drive, I get a call from a friend of mine. Pretty much she told me that a friend of hers had gone through her daughter's Snapchat and saw that my daughter had posted a snap video of herself "kissing and sorta making out" with said boy from a few paragraphs ago.
WHAT. THE. FUCK.
Now, I get this news while I'm driving. Jesus take the wheel! Don't ever get bad news when you're driving. I'm sure it has killed nearly as many people as drunk driving. I had to beat down the rage inside of my body. I was pissed for a few reasons. Snapchat?!?!?! This is what we do in 2019? We do dumb stuff and post it for the world to see? Now I'm embarrassed because some random lady saw my daughter making out with a boy. It's hard as hell avoiding stereotypes as a single dad raising girls. Now I'm a walking stereotype. What else happened? Why didn't my daughter tell me the whole story? (Wait I know the answer to that question.)
So after calming myself down after about 30 minutes. I say to my kid...
"Sooooo. Was there something else that happened at that party that you want to tell me about?"
"You know when I ask you questions like this, I already know the answer to the question I'm asking you. I just want to see what you gotta say. So YOU WANNA TRY AGAIN???"
"Umm. No. I don't know. (You can see the fear welling up inside of her)"
"Sooooo....did you kiss a boy?"
We took the rest of the trip in silence. Two hours of a long drive in complete silence. I didn't even have the radio on. My other daughter was in the back seat being extra nice to me because she didn't want to catch The Wrath of Daddy as well. But damn! I was in my feelings? I felt like I failed the first major test of the teenage years. Every dad fears having his little girl end up on a stripper pole. And here my baby girl is posting snapchat videos of herself making out with a boy. I might as well be the one buying her first pair of clear heels. Epic Dad Fail. I felt really really low.
The next morning was Easter. I got up and got ready for church with the girls. As I was getting ready, I had a thought. I said to Ayanna, "Hey, was that your first time kissing a boy?"
"Yes Daddy, it was."
All of a sudden, all of the anger melted out of me. She looked at me with that same look that she had when she was 2 years ago again. She had a once in a lifetime experience, first kiss, and she wanted to talk to me about it. Her Dad. Me. This guy. We talked about it. I asked her how she felt. How it was. What happened. I told her that why I got so mad. That I loved her and that I didn't want anything bad happening to her. She asked me how old I was when I kissed a girl. I told her that I was the same age as her. I told her my story as well. She laughed when I told her that the girl had braces. She smiled when I told her that I was nervous. And she told me that she was too. And then she gave me one of those big hugs that little girls give their daddies when they feel safe, secure, and loved. If you haven't had a little girl hug you like that, then you're missing out on life playa.
So a few days later she asked me, "Daddy, can I go spend the night at my friend's house again?"
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