Skip to main content

Valentine Update: Everyone's Wild About the Boyfriend

01/31/2010 14:26 ● Published by Anonymous

Well, here it is February, the month of Valentines, and time for the annual report on my daughters’ love-lives.

The girls are now 7, 10 and 14 years old, and they are all in love. With a 15-year-old named Pete.

I’d been hearing about Pete for a year or two, always as an object of fun among Marie and her middle-school girlfriends. Whenever they’d see him wearing his yellow coat, they’d holler at him, “Hey, Banana Boat!” Pete didn’t mind. Marie made comic-books of his fictitious adventures. She’d show him the cartoons amid general razzing from her gal-pals, which he accepted good-naturedly.

Then last summer Pete began hanging around our end of town, joining in the nightly neighborhood games of Flashlight Tag. And by mid-July he and Marie were “an item.”

I remembered back to some very effective pre-emptive supervision I received from younger siblings of my girlfriends, especially from the king of them all, Eddie Johnson, age 10. Because I found his big sister Peggy to be an object of wonder, Eddie found me to be an object of wonder – more fascinating than a burning building. Throughout that long, hot summer, Eddie was always so close to us that I could’ve reached out and throttled him – an idea almost as exciting to me as holding his sister’s sweaty hand in mine. Because of Eddie’s unblinking surveillance, very little transpired between his sister and me beyond the sweaty handholding. (If Eddie isn’t right now somewhere sitting in an unmarked car sipping coffee out of a Styrofoam cup, and looking up at someone’s apartment, the world of law enforcement has been cheated.)

Deciding to harness some of that little-sib energy, I asked my youngest daughter Wendy to “keep an eye on Marie and Pete and let me know if they do anything interesting.” Would she? It was like asking a dog to bark at company.

One night, after I’d called everyone in, Marie pleaded, “Dad, can’t you make Wendy and Sally leave us alone? Sally is mean and rude to Pete, and Wendy is always tagging along and showing off and pestering us.”

“Well,” I said, “Wendy is just doing her job. But I’ll talk to Sally about being mean.”

“Dad,” she said, “It’s not as simple as that. Wendy and Sally totally can’t leave Pete alone. They have issues.”

She’s right; they like Pete, too. To tell the truth, I also like Pete. He’s polite and personable and looks me in the eye. A product of his time, he is unable to call me “Mr. Epstein,” so he calls me nothing. At least he doesn’t call me “Rick,” and I appreciate that.

But it wasn’t until last Monday night that I was really swept off my feet. I came home from work and found him visiting. “Would you like to join us for dinner?” I asked.

“No thanks, I already ate,” he said.

It wouldn’t do to have him lurking around the living room during supper, so I said, “Well, come sit at the table and stare at us while we eat.” He joined us and I peppered him with questions about school and parents. Usually, teenagers under interrogation are as tight-lipped as captured spies, but Pete responded pleasantly and informatively.

After dinner, it was Marie’s turn to do the dishes. Because she had company and usually does such a poor job anyway, I was tempted to excuse her. But I remembered happy Sunday mornings from my youth, standing at the sink in the church kitchen beside the lovely Peggy Johnson, drying coffee cups as she handed them to me.

I said to Pete, “You can help Marie with the dishes if you want,” and handed him a dish-towel. They were in the kitchen for a long time, and when they’d finished there wasn’t a spoon or a crumb out of place.

“Dad,” Sally said, “When are you going to get that big ugly desk out of my room?” She’d been wanting me to do that for a couple of months, but it was at least a two-man job.

“Pete,” I said. “Want to give me a hand?”

“No problem,” he said cheerfully, and even took the heavier end as we lugged the oaken man-killer up narrow stairs to the attic.

I had never considered there might be an up-side to this boyfriend business. Pete may have fantasies about my daughter that I don’t like to think about, but he’s fulfilling a major fantasy of mine – having a kid in the house who does what I ask him to.

* * *

Rick can be reached at rickepstein@yahoo.com

Parenting, In Print archives dad's eye view
  • PreSchool & Lapsit Storytimes

    10/18/2017
    10:00AM — 10:30PM

    Every Wednesday at 10:00am we have two storytimes in the children's area of the library. To the l...


  • Colonial Harvest Days

    10/18/2017
    10:00AM

    Fall fun at the farm! Activities for kids and adults of all ages: corn maze, tractor hayrides, f...


  • Colonial Harvest Days

    10/19/2017
    10:00AM

    Fall fun at the farm! Activities for kids and adults of all ages: corn maze, tractor hayrides, f...


  • Free Kids Table Tennis

    10/19/2017
    04:45PM

    Free Table Tennis for kids at the Eugene Table Tennis Club. Every Tuesday and Thursday. 4:45-6:15...


  • Colonial Harvest Days

    10/20/2017
    10:00AM

    Fall fun at the farm! Activities for kids and adults of all ages: corn maze, tractor hayrides, f...


  • Aloha Friday

    10/20/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    Next Aloha Friday is October 20 at Whirled Pies Downtown, 199 W. 8th in Eugene. Social Hour, 5...


  • One Man Star-Wars Trilogy

    10/20/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    The Trilogy retells the classic in 60 minutes with no costumes, no props, no sets but all the cha...


  • An Evening with Garrison Keillor

    10/20/2017
    08:00PM — 10:00PM

    One of the most prolific American storytellers of all time, Garrison Keillor is a writer and humo...


  • Colonial Harvest Days

    10/22/2017
    10:00AM

    Fall fun at the farm! Activities for kids and adults of all ages: corn maze, tractor hayrides, f...


  • Haunted Hayride at Dorris Ranch

    10/23/2017
    05:45PM — 07:00PM

    Ghosts, zombies, mummies oh my! Ride through the haunted trails of Dorris Ranch, make crafts and ...


  • Colonial Harvest Days

    10/24/2017
    10:00AM

    Fall fun at the farm! Activities for kids and adults of all ages: corn maze, tractor hayrides, f...


  • Free Kids Table Tennis

    10/24/2017
    04:45PM

    Free Table Tennis for kids at the Eugene Table Tennis Club. Every Tuesday and Thursday. 4:45-6:15...


  • Haunted Hayride at Dorris Ranch

    10/24/2017
    05:45PM — 07:00PM

    Ghosts, zombies, mummies oh my! Ride through the haunted trails of Dorris Ranch, make crafts and ...


  • PreSchool & Lapsit Storytimes

    10/18/2017
    10:00AM — 10:30PM

    Every Wednesday at 10:00am we have two storytimes in the children's area of the library. To the l...


  • Colonial Harvest Days

    10/18/2017
    10:00AM

    Fall fun at the farm! Activities for kids and adults of all ages: corn maze, tractor hayrides, f...


  • Colonial Harvest Days

    10/19/2017
    10:00AM

    Fall fun at the farm! Activities for kids and adults of all ages: corn maze, tractor hayrides, f...


  • Free Kids Table Tennis

    10/19/2017
    04:45PM

    Free Table Tennis for kids at the Eugene Table Tennis Club. Every Tuesday and Thursday. 4:45-6:15...


  • Colonial Harvest Days

    10/20/2017
    10:00AM

    Fall fun at the farm! Activities for kids and adults of all ages: corn maze, tractor hayrides, f...


  • Aloha Friday

    10/20/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    Next Aloha Friday is October 20 at Whirled Pies Downtown, 199 W. 8th in Eugene. Social Hour, 5...


  • One Man Star-Wars Trilogy

    10/20/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    The Trilogy retells the classic in 60 minutes with no costumes, no props, no sets but all the cha...


  • An Evening with Garrison Keillor

    10/20/2017
    08:00PM — 10:00PM

    One of the most prolific American storytellers of all time, Garrison Keillor is a writer and humo...


  • Explore your changing relationship! Update your information on new parenting and child develop...


  • Colonial Harvest Days

    10/21/2017
    10:00AM

    Fall fun at the farm! Activities for kids and adults of all ages: corn maze, tractor hayrides, f...


  • Wolf Pack! Family Day at the Museum

    10/21/2017
    11:00AM — 03:00PM

    Bring the whole pack to the museum for a day of family fun! Enjoy crafts and activities celebrati...


  • Free Kids Table Tennis

    10/21/2017
    04:45PM

    Free Table Tennis for kids at the Eugene Table Tennis Club. Every Tuesday and Thursday. 4:45-6:15...


  • Nearby Nature's Haunted Hike

    10/21/2017
    05:30PM — 09:00PM

    Enjoy a guided pumpkin-lit hike in Alton Baker Park and meet an entertaining costumed bat, frog, ...


  • Colonial Harvest Days

    10/22/2017
    10:00AM

    Fall fun at the farm! Activities for kids and adults of all ages: corn maze, tractor hayrides, f...


  • Haunted Hayride at Dorris Ranch

    10/23/2017
    05:45PM — 07:00PM

    Ghosts, zombies, mummies oh my! Ride through the haunted trails of Dorris Ranch, make crafts and ...


  • Colonial Harvest Days

    10/24/2017
    10:00AM

    Fall fun at the farm! Activities for kids and adults of all ages: corn maze, tractor hayrides, f...


  • Free Kids Table Tennis

    10/24/2017
    04:45PM

    Free Table Tennis for kids at the Eugene Table Tennis Club. Every Tuesday and Thursday. 4:45-6:15...


  • Haunted Hayride at Dorris Ranch

    10/24/2017
    05:45PM — 07:00PM

    Ghosts, zombies, mummies oh my! Ride through the haunted trails of Dorris Ranch, make crafts and ...


  • PreSchool & Lapsit Storytimes

    10/25/2017
    10:00AM — 10:30PM

    Every Wednesday at 10:00am we have two storytimes in the children's area of the library. To the l...


  • Colonial Harvest Days

    10/25/2017
    10:00AM

    Fall fun at the farm! Activities for kids and adults of all ages: corn maze, tractor hayrides, f...


  • Haunted Hayride at Dorris Ranch

    10/25/2017
    05:45PM — 07:00PM

    Ghosts, zombies, mummies oh my! Ride through the haunted trails of Dorris Ranch, make crafts and ...


  • Erth's Dinosaur Zoo Live

    10/25/2017
    06:30PM — 07:00PM

    Guide your family on a tour starting in pre-historic Australia. Observe, meet and interact with a...


  • Colonial Harvest Days

    10/26/2017
    10:00AM

    Fall fun at the farm! Activities for kids and adults of all ages: corn maze, tractor hayrides, f...


  • Free Kids Table Tennis

    10/26/2017
    04:45PM

    Free Table Tennis for kids at the Eugene Table Tennis Club. Every Tuesday and Thursday. 4:45-6:15...


  • Colonial Harvest Days

    10/27/2017
    10:00AM

    Fall fun at the farm! Activities for kids and adults of all ages: corn maze, tractor hayrides, f...


  • Colonial Harvest Days

    10/28/2017
    10:00AM

    Fall fun at the farm! Activities for kids and adults of all ages: corn maze, tractor hayrides, f...


  • GO DUCKS! Weekends

    10/28/2017
    11:00AM — 05:00PM

    One campus. Two museums. Free admission. The Museum of Natural and Cultural History and the Jorda...


  • Free Kids Table Tennis

    10/28/2017
    04:45PM

    Free Table Tennis for kids at the Eugene Table Tennis Club. Every Tuesday and Thursday. 4:45-6:15...


  • Halloween Carnival

    10/29/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Dress in costume for a family-friendly Halloween night with spooky carnival games, sports with a ...


  • Mount Pisgah Mushroom Festival

    10/29/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    A fun festival featuring several hundred species of local fungi, collected throughout Western Ore...


  • Colonial Harvest Days

    10/29/2017
    10:00AM

    Fall fun at the farm! Activities for kids and adults of all ages: corn maze, tractor hayrides, f...


  • GO DUCKS! Weekends

    10/29/2017
    11:00AM — 05:00PM

    One campus. Two museums. Free admission. The Museum of Natural and Cultural History and the Jorda...


  • Colonial Harvest Days

    10/31/2017
    10:00AM

    Fall fun at the farm! Activities for kids and adults of all ages: corn maze, tractor hayrides, f...


  • All Hallows Eve - Eugene Downtown Merchants

    10/31/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    Trick or treat in downtown Eugene! Over 800 kids are expected to trick or treat and enjoy activit...


  • Free Kids Table Tennis

    10/31/2017
    04:45PM

    Free Table Tennis for kids at the Eugene Table Tennis Club. Every Tuesday and Thursday. 4:45-6:15...


  • MOMIX: Opus Cactus

    10/31/2017
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    A dynamic journey of dance into the hidden landscape of the American Southwest. With danger, sens...


  • PreSchool & Lapsit Storytimes

    11/01/2017
    10:00AM — 10:30PM

    Every Wednesday at 10:00am we have two storytimes in the children's area of the library. To the l...


 

 January 2017 Education Guide

NEW!! Coming in Sept / Oct 2017!!!

 

Weekly Recipes