When I was 17, my dad left my mom for the flight attendant on his corporate jet.
The only part worse than my own heartbreak was watching my beautiful mom hurt so deeply.
I worried she would never heal or open herself up to love again.
Now, four years later, she’s been in one serious relationship and casually dated several men.
Watching your 50-something-year-old mom date is an experience unlike anything else.
Here are nine different roles you'll fill to express your complicated emotions:
1. Nosy Best Friend
When you first hear that your mom met someone potentially exciting, you want to know everything about this guy.
How’d you meet? Why is he single?
How fit is he? Is he skinny runner type or stocky lifter type?
Your relationship evolves from mother-daughter to friend-friend.
Getting all the dirty details helps distract you from your own dating drought.
2. Fashion Guru
When it comes time for your mom to go out to dinner with her new man, you’ll know just what color top she should wear, how low the neckline should be and what shoes to choose.
It’s a good thing she has you, or she’d be going out on the town looking like a "What Not To Wear" contestant waiting for an intervention.
3. Texting Wizard
Not only are you her personal stylist, but you’re also her modern technology coach.
They didn’t have cell phones when your mom was last in the dating game back in college, so she’s not sure how this texting thing works.
You help her decode the number of exclamation points he uses, and you keep her from replying with paragraphs or overzealous emojis.
There should be absolutely no red hearts used until at least date number five.
C’mon, mom. Get with it.
3. Jealous SO
You’re genuinely happy that your mom is hitting it off with her new guy, but you start to become jealous of how much time she’s spending with him.
Share your real significant other with a guy who takes her out for "Star Wars" and craft beer? Hell to the no.
You feel more single than ever now that your mom is taken.
4. One-Woman Jury
When you finally meet your mom’s new man, you’ll examine him with your harshest eye.
Sure, he’s good-looking and does a pretty funny Donald Trump impression, but you’re skeptical that he’s good enough for your incredible mom.
He eats pizza with a fork and knife?
He doesn’t like The Beatles?
How can you say those aren’t deal breakers? This guy should be behind bars!
5. Mama Grizzly
You’re not just judgmental; you’re also protective.
After seeing what your dad did to your mom, you don’t want anything like that happening again.
Your hairs prick at the slightest red flags, like an angry tone in his voice or a time he should have apologized and didn’t.
If you get the feeling he isn’t treating her right, you’re not afraid to show your teeth and claws.
6. Ice Cream Scooper
If your mom’s new relationship goes south, you’re there to scoop out ice cream and cry together over "The Notebook."
And if it goes well, you’re there to scoop ice cream and swoon together over "The Notebook."
Either way, you’re the one with the Ben & Jerry’s and the Ryan Gosling film.
7. Dad Disser
At some point or another, you won’t be able to help comparing your mom’s new guy to your dad.
You know that your dad left and pulled a total assh*le move, but you still remember all the good times your family had together, like hiking the Grand Canyon and decorating Christmas cookies.
For f*ck’s sake, why couldn’t your dad have just stayed?
If he would have just appreciated how amazing, gorgeous and intelligent she was, your mom wouldn’t be in this sh*tty dating pool again.
Why did he have to run off with the fake blonde skank who never graduated from college?
F*ck him, and f*ck the skank, too.
So, your mom's new guy turned out not to be the right guy?
You’re there to pick her up, remind her how incredible and stunning she truly is and tell her how anyone would be lucky to have her in his life.
You’ll help her get her mojo back, and you'll remind her how much more to life there is than men.
Who runs the world? Girls!
9. Proud Daughter
Of all the roles you’ll take on, the most important is still that of a daughter.
Your mom is a real-life example of a strong, independent woman who will not compromise her beliefs or settle for someone who treats her with less respect than she deserves.
This gives you the confidence in yourself to hold out for someone who recognizes you for the amazing human that you are.
She deserves the best, and so do you.
Watching your grown mom date is crazy for sure, but if you’re okay wearing a lot of hats, the experience can be a fun one.
If she marries again, you’ll be there as her maid of honor.
And if not, you’ll be partners in crime and help each other navigate the modern dating world.
So, don’t freak out if your mom mentions a new guy.
Be happy that she’s moving forward.
It’s time you do the same.
Your bond is strong enough that no man can threaten it.