Sunday, May 13, 2007

Drama alert level = Orange

Em is under a lot of stress right now. ACTs, SATs, APs, a veritable alphabet soup of anxiety.

And she wants to fly across the country by herself to visit her girlfriend in DC for 5 days. I am unsure about this, not so much from the aspect of can she handle it, but from the aspect that her girlfriend's mother isn't fully aware of the so-called romantic interest these two profess.

(Note my use of several mitigating words here, like so-called and profess.)

I still don't know what my decision will be. If you want to offer an opinion, here are some facts; Em will be paying for the ticket herself, she promises me that they will not be having sex (you will have to take my word for it that i believe her), it will be a non-stop flight, i have spoken to GF's mother and she is happy to have Em visit, she is 16 and so on......Bleh.

Update: patches comment reminds me of another important detail, GF claims that her mother would throw her out of the house if she is "exposed". While i wonder if this is true, i can't really expose the child and then have it be true.

So last night, and this morning, Em has had meltdowns that ended with her sobbing and carrying on for a few hours. I can be sympathetic up to a point and then i just have to get away from her as she is being ridiculous. She can't stand for me not to witness every last sob and shout and will follow me around.

This afternoon she finally calmed down, took a nap, i made her a cup of tea and she has apologized. But i am exhausted, and frankly, annoyed. When will these little displays end? Is it too late to send her off to military school?

31 comments:

patches said...

Wow. The weight is heavier for a parent who is active in her child's life.

Have you considered whether or not GF's mother should be enlightened as to the nature of their relationship? If Em wanted to fly across the country to spend time with a romantic interest of the opposite sex, it's likely there would be more involvement from the love interest's parents. Why treat a same sex relationship any differently? It still has all the lust, infatuation, and potential emotional fallout as a heterosexual relationship. Definitely talk things over with the Mister.

I hate to break the bad news, but the drama doesn't end at eighteen. I think, KJ commented here a while back something to the effect of, "Wait until they get married" (or involved in a long term relationship). She's spot on.

Mignon said...

Yeah, I was thinking what Patches said. It seems like something dramatic and damaging could happen if all parties weren't aware of the truth of the situation.

Also, for the record, I'd say no. For the above reason and because I'd not let a child of mine go across country to visit a same-sex partner.

Perhaps the trip is just an island of fun in what seems like an overwhelming existence for Em right now. Maybe you and she could plan a get-away as a substitute.

Gordo The Geek said...

I'm not sure what I would say, but I'm fairly certain that I would NOT take it upon myself to enlighten GF's mother. That's between GF and her Mom and would be a betrayal of your relationship with Em.

GEWELS said...

I'm with Gordo- It is not your place to tell GF's mother about her orientation.But, you could tell Em that she can't go unless GF's mom knows about their relationship.

Let her go? Hmm, I don't know about that one either.

No matter what you do the tantrums won't end for awhile. Stick to your guns- Em will forgive you.

Mamalujo said...

Everything I'm reading in these comments is great advise. Don't treat it any differently just because it's a same-sex relationship (if that's what it is). It's just a trickier issue because GF's parents may not be aware to this "twist." I know cellphones and sexual relationships are quantitatively different, but perhaps they are enough alike to do what I did-maintain a stoic demeanor long enough for the kid to figure out the drama doesn't work and accept your approach and decision. Very tough call. I have to agree with Mignon, though, and say that with all these issues and complexities maybe the best thing is to just kepp her nearby, plan something together and keep your fingers crossed.

Uh, and I hope you had a good Mother's Day!

jen said...

wow. i have no advice, but am somewhat in awe of your pragmatism. it's damn hard being a budding sexual flower.

Toni said...

I have no idea what to do in this situation- whether it was to see a girl or boy. Yo are very welcome for my help.

Happy Mother's Day!

patches said...

By GF's parents being enlightened, I didn't mean to insinuate you should be the one to let the cat out of the bag. I meant more or less what Gewels said, about GF needing to enlighten her mom about their relationship. To carry on a mature relationship, it's important to you know, be mature about handling things.

Lynn said...

And here I thought by the time they are getting ready for college, that the drama would be over.

I agree with everyone who said that if you wouldn't let her go across country to visit a boy then you shouldn't let her go across country to visit a girl (with whom she has a romantic interest). Soon enough, you will not have any say in what Em does, I vote for remaining in control, while you can.

Joan said...

Although I have no great insight into the correct decision to be made here, I do agree with everyone that this is no different just because it involves a same-sex relationship. Hang in there. I have great faith that, in the end, you will make the right decision.

TTQ said...

How about the GF come visit you guys and sleeps in another room? Like in Meet The Parents? Explain that until a wedding vow or equivilant is exchanged and the relationship is lasting there will be no shacking up under YOUR roof.
This way if GF is just expermenting and never comes out to HER mother, she will thank you later, and they will both learn impulse control knowing you will be in the all knowing adult category with a watchful eye.

I had a meltdown this week too, but they sedated me so I could get the medical attention my body needed that my mind didn't want to accept. Actually I am still having trouble with that part..4 more days till I get back to my real doc...I'm going to have more meltdowns if I'm stuck on bed rest..I'm breaking out in the morning if Honey doesn't hide my keys..

urban-urchin said...

I wouldn't feel comfortable letting my daughter fly cross country to visit a love interest. Especially if the love interests parents weren't aware that there were deeper feelings than just friendship. It sets up an environment of lying and covering up and that doesn't gel with being open and honest.

I remember being a teenage girl- no fun- emotions and hormones run high and everything is a life changing tragedy- good luck.

mrschili said...

Oh, wowie. I'm sorry, I have nothing any more worthwhile to add than what's already been said here. Let us know how it goes, please. I'll be checking back and taking notes...

Mona Buonanotte said...

I have no advice...my daughter is 7...but I'm taking good notes so when she gets older I'll know what to do!

Good luck!

Caro said...

Em is lucky to have you as a mom.

Maggie said...

I'm wondering too about Em being across country in an environment where her relationship isn't known - on the level that what if something went awry with the relationship and Em was there alone feeling upset and in a strange situation. It adds a layer of complication. But then, it has always sounded like you've raised Em to be a fairly reasonable person (inspite of the emtional outbursts of being a teenager), so in that sense I think your instincts will tell you if she can handle it.

Sanjay said...

What patches said in the first comment, I do not have much to add sorry, other than that you are doing your best as a mom.

thailandchani said...

It still seems to me that 16 is too young to be involved in complicated emotional relationships.

I'd have to vote 'no' on this one. (Since you asked... -lol- ) She is just not old enough yet to take a trip like that. You know, emotionally mature enough...


Peace,

~Chani

Bob said...

At first, I tended to agree with the majority - Em shouldn't be allowed to fly across country to see a potential love-interest at her age, especially if GF's parents aren't aware of the "alleged" level of interest.

On the other hand, if you trust her to not have sex when she says she won't, then the remaining question is - do you trust her to be safe in GF's household under GF's parent's supervision? What about GF? She might pressure Em into doing something she ordinarily wouldn't do. I like the suggestion above - if GF's parents are made aware of their daughter's inclination then they could properly supervise the girls and Em can go.

What does The Mister say?

Em's tantrums: I have a daughter who is 20. She hs NEVER thrown a temper tantrum (although she occasionally yells at her brother). So, I am having a bit of a hard time with assessing Em's level of maturity. I wouldn't ordinarily equate her tantrum behavior with a teenager to be trusted to make a trip across the country alone and to keep a celibacy promise in an environment where the supervising adults aren't aware of the potential. Is she emotionally mature enough to keep her promise when temptation is in front of her?

Lee said...

The thing that struck me most was that GF would be kicked out if "exposed". What will happen to Em should exposure coincide with her visit? Could be very ugly and scary for your daughter you know?

I wouldn't want my child at the mercy of an unknown, upset parent.

Ortizzle said...

If what GF says about her parents is true, sending Em over there is like sending a potential time bomb waiting to go off. Even if no sex is involved, the parents will probably find out one of these days and would also probably be angry with you for not telling them, even though you are absolutely right, IMO, in defending their privacy and their right to "come out" or not. I also get the feeling the parents would accuse you of aiding and abetting. Yikes. This is all so tricky. If only they were 'of age' or at least off on a college campus somewhere.

Anyway... follow you instincts, Meno. You're a very saavy lady, very impartial, and I think Em would have to agree that you are more than understanding as a parent. If your decision is 'no,' she will just have to accept that it is for the greater good of all, and that you really considered all sides of the question.

Good luck, my dear.

Ortizzle said...

Oops. Of course I meant «savvy». I should certainly know how to spell that one, since it comes from the Spanish word "sabe/saber" = to know. That's my theory, anyway. I find it quite amusing that we use "savvy" in English and Spaniards will insert "el know-how" into their conversations and think how sophisticated they sound.

QT said...

meno - I agree with most here that this is too loaded of a trip for Em to take at her age, especially the non-knowing parent quotient. "Not having sex" doesn't necessarily rule out other things that they could get caught doing by the GF's parents, and then Em is stuck in a MOST unpleasant situation, more than likely.

I also firmly believe that you should not positively reinforce negative behavior - i.e., letting her go on the trip after her un-mature display of emtions and displeasure at your initial response.

Go with your gut, Meno. She is only 16 (which by the way, is the age of consent in WA state if I remember correctly) and there will be plenty of time to form emotional/physical attachments when she gets to college.

I also like the suggestion of an alternative trip. Just my 2 cents, my friend.

Jennifer said...

I'm with Patches. The drama doesn't end at 18.

Just ask my own mother. I still follow her around so she can partake of the joy of hearing me cry and snob and sniffle whether she wants to or not.

Speaking of my mother, she never let me go on these kinds of trips, even though I would have paid, etc. and so on. I always thought I would've thought her cool, finally, had she ever granted permission. Or her blessing, even. Now, all these years later, I can only stand in awe of how smart she was. Even then, when I thought her dumber than dirt.

Joan said...

Your post has had me thinking about your dilemma now for nearly a day and I'm anxious to know what you finally decide about letting Em fly to DC to see her friend. This definitely earns you the Thinking Blogger Award... congratulations! See my blog for details!

Stucco said...

Given my past, I don't think I could lay down the "on your honor- no sex" card, but that's not my reservation about this. Chromosomes and romantic interests aside- that end of the deal is unstable. Suppose Em gets out there and all hell breaks loose due to GF's family? What becomes of Em? Not good. Why not invite GF to your end, so as to at least provide environmental stability (you know, as opposed to the emotional kind, which is normally short-lived when the characters are so young)?

Nancy Dancehall said...

I like ttq's suggestion. What if GF came to your house? Em gets to see her GF, you get to stay in power (enforce two bedrooms or whatever you think is appropriate) Em isn't caught in a potentially hostile situation.

My parents used to do this with me. I could have any and all the friends, boys or girls, over to our house. They provided pizza, pop, junk food, tvs, movies, a pool table, etc., and stayed out of the way. They knew where I was, who I was with and that I wasn't drinking or getting into any other trouble. And, I was happy because I wasn't forbidden from seeing my friends or my boyfriend, they didn't embarrass me by 'keeping an eye on us', and I had a pretty good social life.

luckyzmom said...

I was hoping someone would get around to the comment made.

As urban-urchin said,"_emotions and hormones run high and everything is a life changing tragedy-" but for her own good, don't bend. I was once confronted with a similar situation and I told my daughter if this person was truly the love of her life, as she was proclaiming, then he would still be the love of her life next week or next month or next year. She later thanked me saying I had saved her from running off to Idaho and marrying "icky Dave" as we now refer to him.

Good luck. This is the hard part!!!

flutter said...

gives a whole new meaning to "save the drama for your mama", eh?

egan said...

Late to the topic here. I had no idea about your daughter's love interests.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I'm late to the party, too. I first read the later post in which you said that you've told Em she can't go, and I think you've made the right decision because she can't be allowed to participate in such deception, and also because she could be treated as the culprit if the GF's parents learn the truth.

If they are unreasonable enough to throw their daughter out over her sexual orientation, they would prefer to blame another girl rather than accept the truth about their own.

This possibility makes the whole thing too dangerous for Em, no matter what she thinks. She is 16. She is not yet ready to think for herself, and someday she will respect you for not giving in to her tears because you love her enough to protect her, even from herself.