I looked up the definition of "eating crow," just to put everything into proper perspective, and it read as follows: "Eating crow is a U.S. colloquial idiom meaning humiliation by admitting wrongness or having been proved wrong after taking a strong position. Eating crow is presumably foul-tasting in the same way that being proved wrong might be emotionally hard to swallow. Eating crow is of a family of idioms having to do with eating and being proved incorrect, such as to 'eat dirt', to 'eat your words', and to 'eat your hat' (or shoe)."
My cousin once told me that one of my biggest flaws is that I give people the benefit of the doubt even when they've proved to me they don't deserve it. That may have been the case in this situation. Either way, I had to look at my husband this week and tell him I was wrong and he was right.
Man, that was painful!
So was seeing my daughter's feelings hurt by a boy, the first one she ever "dated". It was bound to happen eventually, I realize, and I don't know for sure if I could have done anything different to prevent it in this case. Teenage relationships are very difficult to predict. But I do know that from this point forward there will be some ground rules established before any boy can take my daughter away from my house in a car, rules that my husband tried to convince me to put in place a while ago, a suggestion that I ignored.
Rule # 1. If Emily gets an invitation from a boy to go eat, or get ice cream, or go to a movie, or go wherever, her response will be "Sure, but you'll have to ask Teddy or my mom first." The way my husband sees it, if a guy is going to take your car for a spin, he would have to ask your permission. My daughter is way more important to us than our car, so that same guy needs to make sure it's okay with us before cruising down the street with her in the passenger seat. Plus, establishing a parental presence makes it clear that we are paying attention.
Rule # 2. When a boy comes to pick up my daughter, he will get out of his car, walk to the door, knock on the door, say hello to us - the parents - and then they can leave. When he brings her home he will get out of the car and walk her to the door. I don't think I'm being unreasonable here. To me, it is simply normal courteous behavior. Something called MANNERS. But apparently, this is not always taught. Or if it IS taught, it is not always adhered to. After watching my child walk to the door by herself last weekend, loaded down with so much stuff that she couldn't open the door without my helping her, as the boy drove off... well, it just crawled all over me. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I think my daughter is worth at least that small amount of common courtesy and proper behavior. If you can't offer to help her carry her stuff and refuse to have respect enough for her to walk her to the door, then you don't deserve to date her. End of story.
Rule #3. ...I don't know yet. I haven't made it that far! But I'm sure after the next few "boyfriends" come and go I will add to the list.
For now, though, the first two rules will suffice. I don't feel the need to control my daughter's relationships, by any means. I just want her to know without any doubt that she is important enough to be treated with common courtesy and respect. It is NOT okay to allow someone to treat you poorly. Ever. And I want her to know that we are looking out for her, and are concerned foremost about her well-being and her safety.
In the meantime, Emily is a-okay, and has learned a lot. She has bounced back and will be better than ever! And me? I am sincerely hoping I don't have to eat any more crow. I don't think I have the stomach for it.