Today's something of a milestone for me. My son is turning 13. Which means I'm officially the mother of a teenager. Which is darn hard to swallow.
I just don't look at him and think "teenager", or "hormones" or "driver's license". He's still that same baby I blew countless mornings gazing at like some starstruck roadie. The same lil man who left a "fi" (his shortcut for pacifier) in every nook and corner of our first house and yard, so when we sold it and moved, we still found several, their rubber nipples sticky and gross. In my mommy heart, he loves Barney and Pooh and Sesame Street. Not ESPN and South Park and AC/DC. His favorite toy? Oh, that's easy. His tool bench or a Hot Wheels set. Not an iPod touch or Guitar Hero. He's the baby I damn near roasted in the hospital by bundling him up in so many layers his wee heart was racing when the nurse came in to check his vitals and explained to me that he wasn't going to freeze to death in a hospital room. I just wanted so much to do everything right. (He now fights me tooth and nail over wearing his coat instead of his Rockies sweatshirt every freezingass cold morning!)
I still want to do everything right, but I'm sure I won't. Nor will I be able to protect him from heartbreaks, failing at things, and the land mines of school social life. I won't be any more responsible for his great successes than I was when he took his first steps. All I can do is keep cheering him on and hope he still wants me in a front row seat (hey, I said hope). The lines of communication are wide open, but now I've got to be careful and not call him too often, or he feels bothered. He can come plop on my bed and have a heart to heart with me at any time, but if I wander into his room and plop onto his bed, I get the "Mom. Seriously?" look. Speaking of looks, the "Whatever" makes its appearance around here all too often now. I see this one used mostly in regards to his dad. Of course, his back is always to the recipient, so I could be getting the same!
The experts consider the first few years to be "formative". I think they're like a foundation, though. I believe the upcoming years are the most life-altering, the most likely to determine who he'll be and how he'll turn out. The most formative. So many kids get into serious trouble as teens. Many never get back out of that kind of trouble. Teens (whose brains are not fully grown) decide whether to study hard and go to college. Whether to join the military, go to work right away...will he follow his baseball dream as far as it'll take him, or abandon it and go to school for something else? He's got the option of joining his dad's trade and being part of his business, too. Will he meet his soul mate and marry young, or have his heart broken and become a bitter bachelor? Will he be a player? Suffer through a divorce?
Geez, the questions. And imagine if he read this! I'd totally get the "whatever plus eyeroll" for it.
Kids. ....can't lock 'em in a cellar.
Happy Thursday. We are going to make it through February. I just know it.
Heartbroken and scared shitless,