The Algebra of Dating

I was driving around in the car the other day with my daughter, we were chit-chatting about this and that, nothing in particular. At one point, she looks over at me and asks, "How old do you think I will be when you and Papa will say it's okay for me to date someone that I like?"

Ok. Was not expecting that.
Think fast!
 I joking reply with the standard, "Thirty-five."

She's not having that. She replies, "No. Not a good answer. You can't say thirty-five. Because whatever age you say, like thirty five, I will get to that age and then you will just add five years. So it's more like whatever age+5=dating age for infinity"
I don't really see an issue with this particular equation, but I know this woman-child sitting next to me and I can sense that she is genuinely searching for an answer and she is not in the mood for further joking.

I asked her if there is someone she is interested in dating right now. (and hold my breath)
She tells me that there is not. ( I breathe again)
I think quietly for a moment and tell her that when she does come across someone that she likes in that way, maybe we could talk about dating then and what "dating" might mean for that age and what sort of expectations a partner might have and what our expectations/limitations might be. This satisfied her.

There is no algabraic formula for figuring out when you should date, for who you should date, just as there are no formulas for raising a bright shining star of a daughter. You just sort of have to look for guidance where you can and hope for the best. I really hope that I can guide her through these next years of her life. I want to teach her how to be true to herself, how to remain bright and bold, how to be safe, how to be independent, how to be Evelyn.

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