That's Me

That's Me

Friday, April 11, 2014

Time to Be Proud of Boy Teenager

This is what I typically get 
when I want to take Boy 
Teenager's picture. 
I was not prepared for parenting teenagers. At. All. 

Yeah, he thinks he's so 
funny when he gives 
me his back 
for pictures.
I was warned about what many parents called The Nightmare of Teens, the time period they remember as 1 long countdown of days until college. I heard that all the time. From family members. From friends. From a random nurse at my doctor's office. From a strange lady in the gas station who saw me with my kids, and was warning me about what was to come, a couple year ago.
I wasn't warned about what I'm actually dealing with.

It's not the mood swings. I raised multiple toddlers at a time; if I can deal with tornadoes of temper fits flying in all directions, I can handle teens no problem. 

It's not the looks of "Mom is so weird". It's not the first, and it won't be the last, time I've gotten looks like that.

It's not the attitudes. Please. I invented those attitudes.

It's not even the days where they wake up after apparently having slept so hard that their brain cells leak out their ears & they end up leaving them laying there on their pillow & going on with their day without putting their brain cells back where they belong. I've learned that smart kids can do some really stupid stuff. Really stupid, head scratching, eye bugging, WTF stuff.

It's actually the emotional side of parenting 16+ year olds. I've gone through this 16 years old gig with my kids twice now. I thought it would be easier the second time, but it's actually just as sucky. I still feel a sense of impending loss, a looming ending to a story I want to go on forever, a thick blanket of sadness over what is to come. That day when my kids no longer need me, move out of my house, and I only see them for a few hours on Christmas. 'Cause that'll totally happen the day they turn 18. I just know it.

I'm proud of Boy Teenager. I'm proud of the 99% that he got on his national test for math (can't get 100% cuz you can't be smarter than yourself). I'm proud of the wrestler he's become. I'm proud of the amazing way his brain just accepts science & math like he was born knowing this stuff. I'm proud of...I could go on forever. I'm proud of my boy. He's simply amazing and awesome and all those things that Moms think of their sons. 

Could he be any more...
wait...I was admonished
from saying anything 

his looks. 

When he turned 16, we offered to pay for half of his first car. I was happy for him when he picked it out and brought it home. As he excitedly showed me every inch of it, the look on his face said it all: "I'm halfway to independent now." I'm thrilled that I don't have to drive him all over the place for all of his activities and sports. Yay! That's truly better than awesome. I'm thrilled that he still loves to run to the store and will go whenever I want. That's a huge help, because Amazing Grace is so over that by now. 

But every single time I hear him pick up his keys and head toward the driveway, a piece of my heart breaks off, shrivels up, and dies. All the parts of my heart that have held onto the belief that he will forever be 4 years old, holding my hand, saying "I love you", kissing me good night, and proclaiming his love for only me with vows of, "When I get older, Mommy, I'm going to be the Daddy and marry you". They're all slowly dying as the reality of a baby boy becoming a man hits me. 

I have another picture of Boy Teenager, taken along with those next to his car. It's of him sitting in the driver seat of his car, leaning to his right, reaching toward the radio. When I look at that picture now, that's not at all what I see. What I see is a 4 year old boy, hair in cute little spikes, big sparkly brown eyes, chubby little cheeks. I see my little boy. 

I am in such deep denial that this is really happening. This whole teenage thing. I guess that's the whole point of parenting: to raise independent, functioning adults. I know I'm doing a good job of that. I am proud of who he is and all that he's capable of. He's not completely there because he still does things that make me wonder how he could be so intelligent and still do that, but he's on his way. I'm proud of him & everyone knows it.

And I'm proud of me, because every time I hear his keys and watch him walk to his car, I don't jump at him, grabbing his ankles, begging him not to get older, mascara running down my face. 

Even though I want to.

1 comment:

  1. Teenagers are a whole different species. I can tell you;re really proud of your son though n I don;t blame you.


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