The daughter: "Mommy, can I ask you a question, even if it is after the fact?"
Me, trying to negotiate the traffic on the rain-wet streets: "Sure. What?"
The daughter: "My friend's boyfriend broke up with her."
Me: "I'm sorry to hear that."
The daughter: "Me, too. But I didn't know what to say."
Me: "'I'm sorry' always works. Then you can let her talk about how she feels and be sympathetic."
The daughter: "Well, that's what I did. And my other friend and I held her hand while she cried and we hugged her."
Me: "Sounds like you did the right thing."
The daughter: "They were together for eight months."
Me: "Then she's probably feeling pretty sad."
The daughter: "Yeah. I'm glad I don't have to deal with that. Well, sometimes I wish I had a boyfriend, but...ugh."
Me: "Well, right now, probably the most important thing is to learn how to be friends. If someone can't be a good friend, they probably won't be a good boyfriend or girlfriend. And even if you love someone, it's important to be friends, too."
The daughter: "There's a boy. I think he likes me. He talks to me all the time and says nice things. I mean he talks to me all the time."
Me, with mock severity: "So, a few weeks ago, all you can do is complain that no one talks to you, and now you complain because they are talking to you?"
The daughter: "Mommmmmy! I'm not complaining."
Me: "You're complaining. Unbelievable."
The daughter: "And there's this other boy...he shook my hand for no reason."
Me, laughing: "Oh this. THIS. Sounds like high school. And he likes you."
The daughter: "But, Mommy..."
Me: "Ah. And he's that boy."
The daughter: "What do you mean?"
Me: "Hair kind of hangs, wears glasses, and a flannel shirt open over a t-shirt."
The daughter: "Yeah! And he's really tall, and he's got this neck..."
Me: "He'll grow into the neck eventually."
The daughter: "How do you know all this?"
Me, smiling at the stop light: "High school. Been there."
Go listen to some music: "Puppy Love" by Donny Osmond. I'm just grateful that my daughter actually talks to me.