Dear Teenage Girl,
I don’t know your name or even what you look like. I don’t know if you’re tall or short, or fair or dark. I might have passed you in the road even just this morning without knowing who you were.
And you might wonder what the connection is. What have you got to do with me? Today, or any day. But you see, you’ve been on my mind a lot lately.
My son, the first baby who grew into a tall young man with his heart on his sleeve. has fallen in love with you. Today he walked through the rain to buy you something he thinks will make you smile. He thinks he’s keeping his feelings secret, but I can tell the weight of it just by looking at him, by hearing what he isn’t saying.
It’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow and his gift will make its way to you. He might hand it to you shyly in a corridor or put it, wrapped and anonymous, into the school’s temporary postage system. I don’t know. He won’t tell me, when I try to talk about it he just blushes and shrugs away my attention with a gesture that squeezes my heart.
I’d love to warn him, to tell him that teenage girls can be brutal, that school is harsh, but that everyone only acts that way because they’re all as soft and vulnerable as him. Only he hasn’t grown the swagger of self-defence like his peers.
He won’t talk to me. Understandable. Do you remember? How can your mother possible understand? Mortification creeps up from the toes at the very thought of it. Of talking about it. With her.
So, instead, I’m appealing to you Teenage Girl. If my son opens his heart for you, be kind, be gentle. Please tread softly.
He might not be the cool guy you’re looking for, the sports dude or even the kind of boy who runs with the pack. You might not want him, and that’s OK, but please don’t hurt him. Don’t break his heart so badly that he’ll be scared to try again – and again – until he does find someone who loves him back.
Teenage Girl, you hold my son’s heart in your hand, if you don’t want it, put it down softly.
The mother of a Teenage Boy.
I wrote this a couple of years ago, and I’m sure there are teenagers (and their mothers) who might recognise the feeling.