being a mom

My 16-Year-Old Son Received A Love Poem – From Another Boy

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shutterstock_36022756It’s always sort of adorable and sad when your kid starts attracting attention from would-be suitors. Your little baby is growing up and as a parent, you have to accept the fact that one day they will find someone and fall in love and move away from you and you will no longer get to boss them about what shirt to wear with what sweater. My eldest son came home from school to inform me that he thought one of his schoolmates liked him, because they slipped a self-authored poem to him in the hallway. And even though it’s not really surprising, his admirer was also a boy.

Awwww. I would have found this act touching and sweet from a kid of any gender, but there is something to be said for a kid who has the bravery and gumption to express his feelings in poetry form, because even though the world has gotten somewhat gentler towards homosexuals, we are talking about a teenage boy here. Who wrote a poem. And gay kids are still bullied in school, in horrible, heart-wrenching ways, in ways that make me lose sleep at night.

My son asked if I wanted to read the poem and I declined, because it’s personal, and it wasn’t meant for me. He did say that he wouldn’t share it with anyone else and I agree with him, love letters are not to be passed around and shared with people they aren’t meant for. He was very flattered and touched by the poem and the footnote at the bottom, where the boy expressed his feelings for my son, and even though my son likes this boy and values his friendship, my son is not gay.

I panicked, of course, because this is how I would react when my kid had to reject the feelings of any other kid, but this is somehow more fraught, because teenage boys are assholes, and even though my son is not an asshole, I wanted to make sure he had declined the offer of romance in the right way. I shouldn’t have worried. I have raised a good kid.

What did you say?


I told him that I’m not gay.


But you didn’t make him feel bad, you weren’t a jerk about it, you didn’t make a big deal out of it right?


God Mom, do you think I’m a moron? I don’t care if he is gay. If I were gay I would date him, I like the guy he is my friend. I’m not going to hurt his feelings. I’m not a jerk mom.


My son has had girlfriends. I’m sure he will continue to date people throughout his high school career, and I will continue to worry about a million things, breakups and hookups and the delicate and not-so-delicate ways these relationships begin and end. He will reject people, and they will reject him. I just hope all of these rejections end as graciously as they did with his friend, and that his friend meets another boys to compose poems for. Because any teenager who pulls a cool move like that, they deserve to meet someone pretty special.

(photo: Daniel Taeger/shutterstock)