Teenagers

You’ll have to excuse my ignorance, because I’m new at this stage of parenting, but is it just me or do all kids seem like aliens once they hit puberty?

My oldest son turned twelve in December.  He has always been more of an independent kid, preferring to either parallel play or just straight-up play by himself.  He loves video games, much like I did at his age (and still do, although I have less time for them now than I did when I was twelve).  We both love to read, so trips to the library are always nice.  But it seems like he went from being this awkward, string bean pre-teen to a young man overnight.  His voice is deeper than my fiance’s, he has a peach fuzz mustache, and he’s almost as tall as his mother.  He’s so smart that his interests are too vast for other kids his age, and sometimes even for me.  It’s hard to get more than a one-word answer when we ask him personal questions about himself and his life, but he has endless amounts of information to give on most other subjects.  I just sometimes I am dealing with a stranger, because I don’t know what to say half of the time!

I work with a lot of mothers who have teen-aged kids, and I’ve always heard how crazy it can get when they get to be that age, but I thought I had another year or two left before it got to that point.  I never anticipated feeling the way that I do, but I just wish I could reverse the clock by a few years and go back to snuggling on the couch with my little boy who actually wanted to snuggle with his mom.  It’s hard to let go and give him his space, but there’s only so many times I can ask him if everything is okay before I know I’m going to drive him even further away.  I have to remind myself that the last 12 years leading up to now, we as parents have been preparing him for independence.  It’s a good thing that he’s learning how to cook, that we can trust him with a cell phone, and that he is capable of watching himself for an hour if we need to run to the grocery store.  I trust him completely–his diabetes kind of forced him to grow up so fast, and he is very responsible, if a little forgetful, but that is probably more due to priorities than anything else.  It’s just I don’t know how to talk to him anymore, and that’s a little heartbreaking.  The only comfort is knowing that this is the way things are supposed to be, we are supposed to raise them up to be good men and then somehow find the strength to let them spread their wings and fly, but the selfish part of me, the mother in me, still wants him to tell me everything and not get embarrassed when I want to hug him even though I know that’s an unrealistic expectation.

So there’s my little vent session for the night . . . I can take comfort in the fact that as he gets older things will change, and also that I still have my younger son to talk to and cuddle with, and a stepdaughter too.  But for how much longer?  I can see how people have kids so far apart, because once their kids reach a certain age and become more independent, it feels weird to not be needed so fiercely, to have time to do things around the house or relax or whatever, and it’s a little sad to be faced with the fact that our babies are growing up right in front of our eyes!  Now I have more understanding of how our parents must’ve felt, and a lot more sympathy too.  What I can say with complete certainty though, is that I am very proud of the responsible young adult my son is becoming, and I hope that trend continues on into adulthood!

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