So, this past Saturday was my son’s fourteenth birthday. Fourteenth? Not only that, he just graduated from middle school. I have a full-fledged, high school student! How in the world did that happen? I swear he looked just like this yesterday…
Logically, I know that my son has to grow up but no matter how much time passes it’s still difficult to accept. I always tell him that no matter how old he gets he will always be my baby. Not A baby, but My baby. How many of you reading this have children? Watching your children grow up is like a double-edged sword. On one side, you’re sad that you no longer have a cute little baby/toddler/child to cuddle but on the other side, you’re watching the seed that you’ve sown grow. They are becoming more independent (hopefully), making decisions and having opinions. That last one can definitely be challenging.
I, like many mothers out there, believe my son to be a really great kid. He’s kind, intelligent, handsome, thoughtful, creative and minds his own business. He also has pretty good intuition about people, so I don’t fret about who he hangs out with. He’s pretty honest about all of his friends and how they are when adults aren’t around. I’m pretty sure some of you/us know a little something about that. On the flip side, he can be a bit shy, needs a bit more confidence and I wish he had better focus. He’s not perfect, but neither am I. We all have things that we need to work on. It appears that he might be a good leader too. He’s been organizing conference calls, meetings and work sessions since he was about seven. I’m just thoroughly amazed by that.
There are times as a parent when you wonder, “Does my kid even get what I’m trying to teach him?” There is so much you want your children to learn and you try to prevent them from having to learn the hard way but sometimes that’s the best way. Or at least the most effective way. One of my favorite things is when a teacher or another parent tells me something that my son has done or said that demonstrates that he actually does listen. That always makes me smile.
Even though high school is looming and it’s telling me I only have 4 more years with him, I’m still trying to make the best of it. I’m working to keep the lines of communication open. When he turned 11, that’s when they started to shut down a bit. During part of his 12th and 13th year he almost shut communication down completely but I persevered. Starting late last year is when he started opening back up. He still gives me that teenage stare from time to time. This is the stare that I just mentioned. It started when he was 11 too.
Even though he sometimes tap dances on my reserve nerve, I still love him. Now that he’s gotten through most of that ugly tween/pre-teen/early teen phase, he seems to be coming back to his fun-loving, jokey self. Every once in a while we still tickle fight, tell jokes and have meaningful talks (not as meaningful or long as we used to but it is improving.) The one thing that I have always done was tell him the truth. Regardless of what it is, I felt that he should know the truth. I always made sure it was age appropriate but the truth nonetheless. Besides, how could he trust me if I didn’t tell him the truth? Well, there was this one time that I changed the subject because he was getting into an area that I didn’t think we should have tackled then. It all started when he was five and he asked me what sex was. I suppose he heard the word and wanted to know. I simply told him that it was something that mommies and daddies do to make babies. He said, “Okay” and went about his merry way. A few months later he came back and asked me to “make him a brother.” I told him that I was too tired to make him a brother. Then a few months after that, he came back and asked me if I was “still too tired for sex?” Really? How was I supposed to answer that question? I could have explained that sex is used for procreation but it can also be used for recreation, for lack of a better term. I didn’t want to delve into that water with him so I diverted his attention to something else instead. Nowadays I want to talk to him about sex but he shies away from it. Ah well, maybe in a few more months.
Anyway, thanks for hanging out with me and sharing in my joy and pain. Just to show you that I am not living in the past, here are the most up-to-date images I have of my son. And yes, I need to take more.