array(0) {

What I Want To Teach My Daughter About Kissing Frogs


pOI_gmpDekM9BudWnVhxh6qTY-qWVdJBMOX-tGa5uTo,nIzZ3TIvwit3Lf7uPO_W9bL7QLo2rNlxR-2PMVJklTUAs the parent of a young daughter, I am on the receiving end of frequent “Wait ’til she’s dating” comments. The implication is that I should be dreading the day she is ready to date. But, the truth is that I want Daughter to date. In fact, I hope she dates a lot. A lot of people. A lot of times.

I want her to practice getting in—and out—of relationships.

I want her to learn to identify the personality traits that bring her joy as well as those that bring sorrow.

I want her to learn how to heal a broken heart without growing the scar tissue of bitterness.

I want her to learn that “something is better than nothing” is faulty arithmetic.

I want her to learn to be comfortable alone and how to make the most of the periods of solitude.

I want her to have epic tales of horrible first dates with which to entertain her friends and family.

I thank every one of my ex-boyfriends for the fact that I am happily married today. Sure, most of the gratitude is rightly placed with Husband for being the kindest man on the planet, but the boys who preceded him deserve a little credit too. You see, they each moved me a little further down the road to understanding the attributes that were endearing in an enduring way. Making some bad boyfriend choices helped me make a great Husband choice.

Trial and error worked for me.

Let’s fast forward through the elementary and junior high “dating” scene to a time when the term meant more than wearing a boy’s coat at recess, calling each other on the phone, or playing spin-the-bottle.

My first real boyfriend was in high school. He was every parent’s dream—smart, kind, and Baptist. He wanted to be a preacher. Catholic guilt has nothing on Baptist discipline. Dating him, I learned a lot. I learned that intelligence, kindness and integrity were important to me. I also learned that I get bored easily if someone is too good.

I was a straight arrow in high school but I knew that I needed a little edgy in the mix for long-term interest. I still had (have?) some crazy to get out of my system. At one point in Anne of Green Gables, the heroine explains that she doesn’t want a man who is truly wicked, but would like a man who could be wicked and wouldn’t. Amen.

I over-corrected when I got to college with a boy full of edgy. Through our short but tumultuous time together, I added humor, fun, adventure, spontaneity, flowers and dancing to my list of must haves. Excessively flirtatious was added to my list of traits to avoid in the future. But, I think the most important lesson I learned was that not all friends make good boyfriends.

Fast forward again through a string of dates and relationships that helped me test my theories of what was and was not important to me.

A fantastic salsa dancer whose other interests were fast cars and football. An outdoor enthusiast with atrocious table manners. A brilliant man with stunted social skills.

Another great dancer who looked like Robert Redford in The Natural on the dance floor but somehow transformed into Robert Redford in The Horse Whisperer when he picked me up for dinner. To his credit, he looked appropriately alarmed by the three decade age difference neither of us had noticed on the dance floor.

There was the guy that failed to mention he was married. Hell hath no fury like a duped Irish woman. Then, the musician with no money management skills.

A clingy Brazilian. A misogynistic Australian. Another flirt (some lessons need repeating). A spoiled rich kid that was so obnoxious it wasn’t even worth sticking around for a few weeks to attend dinner at the White House. A nudist. A garage sale enthusiast. And, the guy who attended black-tie fundraisers with ease but pitched a fit when he received a mosquito bite.

Great stories, but not great suitors.

Through the corrective lens of hindsight, I can now see how each and every bad date and doomed relationship helped prepare me to identify and value Husband as my Mr. Right.

I want the same thing for my daughter.

I am a big fan of dating. Kiss a bunch of frogs, I say.

Hear that, Daughter? I said kiss. That is not a euphemism.

Kristina Cerise is a Seattle mom trying to find a little meaning in the madness.  She blogs at, tweets as @DefineMother, and talks to anyone who will listen at the local coffee shop.

Photo by Benton J. Melbourne    

Share Button

This entry was written by Kristina Cerise

About the author: Kristina Cerise is a Seattle mom trying to find a little meaning in the madness. She blogs at, tweets as @DefineMother, and talks to anyone who will listen at the local coffee shop.

Kristina Cerise

Additional posts by

Tags: , , , , ,