She stood up and put her hand out to shake mine. I hadn’t realized our meeting was in the plan so I quickly tried to hide my surprise.
“Hello, I’m Chantell,” she said. “It’s nice to meet you.”
“It’s nice to meet you too,” I said.
The lights dimmed and we both sat down with Chase between us. Now I knew why he’d wanted to see his school’s play. He’d made a date with his girlfriend.
The curtain went up and I tried to focus on the play, but that was hard when I was constantly sneaking looks at them. I’d only heard about Chantell the week before and not from Chase. Some of my teenage friends had tipped me off that he’d been seen holding hands with someone but I didn’t buy it. Believing unconfirmed reports from teenagers is as reliable as trusting the National Enquirer. But now here they were right before my eyes so it couldn’t be denied.
On his part Chase hadn’t done anything wrong keeping it a secret but I was still surprised. He’s so quirky I don’t think of him as a “normal” teenage boy. Add to that the fact that I can’t believe there’s a girl out there that could tolerate listening to his stories and I was stunned. In my mind he was a long-long way from needing to change his relationship status on Facebook but I was obviously wrong.
The next week while I was still savoring the memory I ran into my girlfriend who has four teenage boys. She asked about Chase so I told her about Chantell. She was as surprised as me but not for the same reasons—she just didn’t think Chase cared.
“Well it’s hardly a big romance,” I said. I’m not sure you can really call them girlfriend/boyfriend. They don’t talk on the phone, text, or Facebook with each other. They just eat lunch together and do school stuff but it’s cute and they’re both happy to have a special friend.”
“Do you know how great that is.” she said. “I would give anything for it to be that way. I constantly have to deal with just the opposite—relationships that are too hot and heavy. Chase’s situation sounds perfect. It’s far more age appropriate than what you normally see these days.”
I hadn’t thought of this. I spend a lot of time with teenagers so I knew what she was talking about but somehow I’d still fallen into the trap of comparing Chase and his sweetie to other kids. That was so unfair, especially because their relationship has more substance than most.
A couple weeks later the memory of my girlfriend’s comments echoed in my head when Chase and I went to the mall. The day before when he’d asked me to take him I was so touched by his sincerity.
“Mom,” he said. “Would you mind taking me shopping to pick something out for Chantell’s birthday?”
“Mind,” I said, “Chase I was born for that.”
He smiled and sensing the timing was right added, “Could we make some cupcakes too?”
It couldn’t have been more perfect and when I stepped out of the car to head into the mall with him God confirmed that for me with a dime. Where pennies speak to me about faith the number ten always reminds me of God’s perfect order. The way He works versus the way the world works.
Chase and Chantell epitomize this. They are who they are, and have somehow managed not to conform to the standards of their peers that dictate what constitutes a relationship and what doesn’t. That’s ideal and I’m thankful for the outside perspective that reminded me of that.
This Valentine’s Day maybe that’s a lesson we can all take to heart. Today’s normal doesn’t have to be our standard in any area of our lives but especially in relationships. It’s shallow and superficial and won’t stand the test of time.
Will Chase and Chantell stand the test of time? Maybe or maybe not—but either way they will always have the memory of the “just right for them” first boyfriend/girlfriend which is a gift in and of itself.
“Don’t become so well adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.”
Romans 12:2 (The Message)