By: Carolina Pichardo
She came home excited that day, as she usually does. There’s always a little boy that tells her he has a crush on her, or friends that give her the sweetest of gifts on Valentine’s Day. “Look what I got,” she said, showing me a box of chocolates and cards, “but I also got this…” She pulled out a pink box, opened it and showed me the beautiful, silver necklace inside.
It was a cute, thoughtful gift. But it was also a gift from a boy that liked her—”a lot,” she said with emphasis on the lot part. It wasn’t so much that the boy had shared feelings towards her time-and-time again in the past, but also that it’d gotten to the point where the other kids teased her about it. Never mind all this, it surely made her uncomfortable, as she wasn’t sure what the gift meant.
Does this mean she’s his girlfriend now? What will the other kids think? Will this “boy” bother her more if she accepts the gift?
When I suggested she’d return the gift, her eyes lit up. “Why,” she asked, almost relieved I had somewhat of a solution. The reasons for me were mostly fearful for her, and although others think I’m nuts and coddling her, I’m also very realistic of what it’s like to raise a daughter in an urban community. How real could it really be?
It’s as real as meeting a 12-year-old mom-to-be in a local clinic, while you’re almost about to give birth (as a young mom yourself) to a beautiful daughter. She tells you the father was a janitor at a local school. It’s also as real as hearing young men at a local store or train station talking about that weekend’s party, where a girl was in a room and several guys got dibs on her. “Nah, I didn’t touch that,” one of them said with a laugh, almost pleased and disgusted at the same time. It’s also as real as the fact that she’s the product of a teen pregnancy, and regardless of how great it’s turned out for us, her chances of becoming one are also higher than her counterparts.
It is this reality that we’re surrounded with, and one that could lead to so many outcomes, but the chances of success are the dimmest of all. Yes, I trust my parenting skills and the values we’ve imparted on her. So if my daughter’s uncomfortable and still unsure of how to deal with boys, relationships and the likes, isn’t it my responsibility to guide her in the interim? Yes, because it’s the least I wish someone else would’ve done for me. And you—can coddle that.
Young Urban Moms’ co-founder, Carolina Pichardo, is a digital marketer by day, writer and community activist by night, and mom to Lulu always. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @c_pichardo.