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To My Son as He Enters Teendom

It amazes me that you are closer to being a grown man than you are to that tiny baby I gave birth to 13 years ago.

This morning you stood next to me in the kitchen, I looked up to meet your eyes. You have passed me by a couple several six inches now "Was I born yet at this time, Mom?"

I glanced over at the clock. "No. You were still inside of me. It would be two more hours before you were born."

Thirteen years ago you were still inside me. We were still living as one, you completely dependent on me. Our hearts beating together. In truth I was pushing for an hour already, you were a stubborn little thing — that hasn't changed. But I'll spare you those details about your freakishly large baby shoulders, tears, stitches, and my vagina. You're welcome.

You are between right now. Between childhood and adulthood, a foot firmly planted on each side. Some days I am amazed by the maturity and depth of your personality. And other days I wonder if you have been replaced by a toddler. I can remember being this age clearly. And I want to tell you that I understand. I remember wishing that I was little again so I could cuddle up on my mother's lap and yet moments later being exasperated by the very fact that I even had a mother.

You have sprouted a little peach fuzz above your lip and I find it strange. Your body which I once knew as intimately as my own is now something foreign. You guard your privacy with a zealous fervor that was previously unimaginable. Barricading the bathroom door and yelling "I am in here!" if someone even dares walk by the door. And any mention that you used to be a nursing baby who wore diapers I changed causes exasperated eye rolls, which I will admit I enjoy a bit too much.

You have thoughts, ideas, dreams that I am not privy to. Unless it is about Bionicles, those ideas you share with me until my brain explodes and slowly leaks out of my ears. Which I gather is the way you feel when I talk about showering, tooth brushing, or eating healthy foods.

We navigate this parenting thing together, you blazing the trail for your siblings behind you. I make all of my mistakes on you. I have never had a teenager before. This is new territory for both of us. I am slowly getting used to you walking 20 feet behind me and pretending that I do not exist in public. Because we all know that 13-year-olds are capable of driving themselves where ever they want to go and have jobs to pay for whatever it is they want. They have no parents.

It is such a cliche to say that time has passed in the blink of an eye, but it is true. Of course when I was going through those toddler and preschool years with you I thought they would never end. But now sometimes, just for a brief minute, I wish you were still three, hanging off my leg, and thinking that I had all the answers for all the questions in the world. It would be a nice respite from these days when you have realized that I in fact know nothing and that you are the wise all knowing one in this relationship and that I should just come to you for all the answers.

Perhaps one day I will miss these years, this in between childhood and adulthood years. I can't imagine it now, but then again I never imagined that in my memory the hanging off my legs and snuggling my neck would cancel out all the toddler tantrums.

Mostly though I am proud of the young man that you are becoming. You are kind and patient with your youngest siblings. You play games like Candyland with them, because you know it will make them happy. You are thoughtful and smart.

Enjoy this new teendom. One day you will realize that none of us have all the answers, not even you.

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Visit Notes From the Trenches — Chris's personal blog

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