My daughter had her first real kiss this summer. It was a huge milestone, not only in her life, obviously, but in this Mommy’s life (who will remain anonymous out of respect for my daughter). And out of all the milestones throughout my beautiful daughter’s life thus far—from her first word to her first day of junior kindergarten to the first time she performed on stage—this first kiss is the milestone that really, really emotionally affected me.
The news arrived via a snail mail letter from overnight camp. She wrote, ‘I had my first kiss. It was a make out!’ I almost burst into tears because, although I knew it would happen one day, I wasn’t prepared for how I would feel when that day actually came.
I couldn’t wait to actually talk to her in person about this kiss and how it happened and who was it with and what did this guy look like and did she like it and did he also have braces? I needed details. But, alas, I would have to wait, which was like torture.
“My daughter had her first kiss!” I told most of my mom friends with pre-teens and teens. Their reactions ranged from, “That’s so cute!” to “I’m so impressed that she actually tells you these things. My daughter never tells me anything.”
I’m pretty positive my daughter doesn’t tell me everything, but she also knows that when it comes to these types of ‘girly’ things—her first period, her first real bra shopping excursion, her first time getting her legs and underarms waxed, her first crush and, now, her first kiss—that I’m not only all ears and extremely supportive, but I give good advice, simply based on my own experiences growing up as a female and living the teenage life.
When I read that she had had her first kiss, I was also as excited as the day I realized I never had to buy her diapers ever again. I’m not sure why I blinked back tears when I read the news in her letter. Maybe it’s because my baby is growing up. Maybe it’s because my baby was concerned (as she wrote in her letter) that she had done something wrong. Maybe it’s because my baby reminded me of my first kiss, and how excited and nervous I was when it happened (and also how much I liked kissing!).
Maybe, just maybe, it’s because my baby also wrote, “I’m not sure if I like him or not. I’ll write you tomorrow with my decision.” I had to laugh at that, because we were all young teens once and we’ve all had three-day ‘relationships,’ where we actually never talked, even though we were technically boyfriend and girlfriend according to teenage love. It brought back such memories of what it was like to have your first kiss and first boyfriend and the confusion of it all.
My daughter wrote in another letter that quickly followed that she dumped the boy she had just kissed the next day, telling him she ‘wasn’t ready for a relationship’ (as I had done almost 30 years earlier with the guy I had my first kiss with.) I mean, how cute is that, for a 13 year-old to say to a guy so boldly, “I’m not ready for a relationship?” (Well, I’m guessing it was not so cute for the 13 year-old boy!) And maybe, too, that’s why I teared up. I felt for the boy, while at the same time, was relieved that my daughter was confident enough to tell him the truth.
I will admit that I also felt a little freaked out. I don’t know what ‘make out’ meant these days. Does ‘making out’ mean just a kiss or was their boob touching? Was it just kissing or was there tongue involved? So I asked one of my friend’s sons, who is 14, what, in this day and age, ‘making out’ meant. I’ll admit I was more than relieved to learn that it just meant kissing.
Of course, I got the full details when my daughter got home from camp and we were alone in her room. She explained how her and this other 14-year-old boy participated in an evening activity at camp and then how my daughter and the guy she would soon have her first kiss with decided to go to an out of the way, ‘secret’ place. (The bleachers by the tennis court—just in case any camp owners are reading this!)
In fact, my daughter showed me exactly how it happened. (No, my daughter and I did NOT kiss.) But we acted out the lead up to the kiss. Sitting beside each other, on her bed, I pretended I was her and she pretended she was the guy who she kissed. And it was romantic! (As romantic as you can be when you’re 14 years old, that is, and at overnight camp.)
He whisked her onto his lap and they kissed, then hugged, then kissed, then hugged. There was no tongue and no getting to second base (Thank you Camp Gods!…I may be ready for a first kiss…but not any more than that just yet.) The entire first-kiss-make-out experience lasted about 20 minutes. And, like most 13 year-old girls, she wasn’t sure if she was doing it because she wanted to or because he wanted to or because her girlfriends in her cabin wanted her to.
But here’s the most amazing part of the story of my daughter’s first kiss and why I’m so on-the-verge-of-tears proud of her. She felt awful that she left without saying goodbye to him. In fact, she told me, they barely talked after their one and only make out session. Luckily, he was still at overnight camp for another two weeks. I suggested that my daughter write him a letter saying she was sorry, because she was sorry. I have no idea what my daughter wrote in her letter, but I know she was apologetic for leaving without saying goodbye. She figured out how to find and get to the post office by herself, and asked to ‘overnight’ a letter to him. (How did she know about ‘overnighting letters’? I have no clue.) My daughter then left town to spend the rest of the summer at a tennis camp.
Even I was shocked that, within a few days, an envelope arrived from her camp, addressed to her, from the boy she had kissed.
I texted her immediately and asked her if she wanted me to open it and read it to her. Her response? ‘No, I’ll just read it when I get back.’ Meanwhile, there I was, feeling like I was only in the middle of the story and I needed closure. I so, so, so wanted to open the letter, but, alas, it wasn’t addressed to me or meant for me.
I suppose, at the end of the day, I’m not only happy that she had her first kiss, which seemed to be a positive experience, but that she knew she wasn’t ready for a relationship, and though the apology to the young man was maybe a little late coming, she did write to him…and apologized, telling him she wanted to keep in touch.
We talk about the kiss. My daughter professes that she has no interest in kissing anyone else for a long time. She insists she’s not ready for a relationship. So, maybe, just maybe, my baby’s first kiss also showed me just how sophisticated she now is.
And now, for me, the summer of 2017 will forever be known as the summer of my daughter’s first kiss.