So my firstborn baby is now a teenager…..the big 13.
Where, I ask myself, whenever he walks past me, where did the time go?
I remember being pregnant with him so very clearly, my much longed for baby.
I don’t know how to do this teenager thing. I’m afloat on a rubber life raft, with no oars, just drifting aimlessly, with no direction in sight. I’m just winging it. Ok, and reading everything I can get my hands on. But seriously, have you seen how many “experts” are out there? Each one advocating a totally different view point naturally. Day to day, I am navigating a minefield….how do I know if I’m making a right decision or raising a serial killer?
I managed to keep this little human being alive and out of therapy for 12 years and then literally a week after his 13th birthday, BAM! Hormones arrived in the form of pimples. Now, not having been a pimply teenager for almost quarter of a century, I was in panic mode. What skincare products were now the rage? Surely things had moved on since faithful old Clearasil was the product of choice?
I browsed the aisles of Clicks, amazed at the range on offer. I finally settled on a cleanser, moisturiser and ointment. I drew the line at toner, because let’s face it, I don’t even have the energy to bother with that.
Arriving home, I sat on K’s bed and explained to him exactly how to use the products. He nodded vaguely (eyes glazed over, deep in a PS4 online game and barely acknowledged my in-depth instructions).
Everything was fine, but gradually things began to change in our house. No more bathing with the door open and me being allowed to freely march in and out. Gone are the long bath time chats with me sitting on the toilet (lid closed – what do you think of me, seriously?). Nowadays the door is firmly closed, sometimes even locked. I can understand the locked door – we have a four year old in the house with NO concept of privacy!
Quick toilet sessions for my erstwhile teen are also a thing of the past. Now he goes in armed with his cell phone, locked door and stays in there for ages. Yesterday, I forgot he was in there and when I realised that I hadn’t heard from him in a while, I knocked to see if he was alive. Naturally I got a sarcastic, “yes Mom” in reply.
Gone are also the days when I was the confidante….when Mommy was the one he came to when anything was bothering him and I could impart my wisdom on all issues. These days any attempt at questioning is met with “I’m fine Mom, stop nagging and asking the same thing all the time!”.
Now let me be the first to admit – I am the clichéd helicopter mother. I have a need, sometimes psychopathic (!), desire to know everything that goes on in K’s life and micro-manage his whole schedule. It’s taken a lot for me to have to back off. Actually to be honest, I just pretend to back off….I actually obsess about what I don’t know or am not able to do constantly.
But aside from the pushing Mommy out of your room thing, it’s the other things that get me…..
I can handle all the above, its only normal teenage behaviour. Boys pull away from their mothers at this stage – or so every book reckons.
What really gets to me is the moments that I have lost, never to get back again and that I never even knew was the last time I would experience them.
The last time he held my hand when walking in the shops, or across a parking lot, or along the street. If I had known that was the last time, I would have cherished the feel of that soft little hand in mine, the warmth, and the security thereof.
The last time he jumped into my bed because he had a bad dream and slept wrapped around my body so tightly that I could hardly breathe. Instead of trying to move to a new position, I would have held him even tighter.
The last time he was sick and he wanted to cuddle on my lap. Instead of making him comfy on the sofa next to me and trying to get some work done on the laptop, I would have sat with him, cuddled and watched a rerun of his favourite movie for the hundredth time.
When he used to jump into the car, after a day at school and talk non-stop about his day, perhaps I should have listened more, instead of having one part of my brain thinking ahead about some work issue that needed my attention.
However, all this aside, I am immensely grateful that I got to spend more time with K as a little boy than most mothers get to spend with their little ones. He went to daycare as a baby and toddler, but very early on I was self-employed, so I used to be able to fetch him early and spend the whole afternoon with him every single day. When he was a baby he would go to my sister or mom when he was ill, but from the age of 4 I was able to keep him home with me when he was ill.
K was also lucky to never have to go to aftercare, I was there to fetch him every day after school and make him lunch and help him with homework. Most Moms’ don’t have this privilege and I will forever be thankful that I was able to do so.
As this young man of mine navigates life and becomes that man he is destined to be, I am determined to be at his side, albeit unobtrusively, and I hope to be able to guide him to grow into a man like his father – a man who will respect woman, choose a partner wisely, and work well to support his family.
Although we have a daily battle of piled up clothes and dirty dishes in his room, hygiene and responsibility, I know that I am blessed with this son of mine.
This amazing human being, who brings me tea in bed when I am having a bad day. This boy who randomly comes to me, his Dad and his brother to tell us loves us and hugs us randomly. Who loves his little brother, who although drives him crazy, K still gives him the time of day, never teases him and spends time teaching him things. Teenagers are by nature selfish, self-absorbed creatures. I am blessed that K seems to have a sixth sense when something is bugging someone.
One look and his Dad or I, or hearing an inflection in our voice, he will immediately sense that something is up. He is that intuitive.
I love this human being. I loved him before he was born. I love him every day and I will continue loving him somehow, even if I am not here one day.
People always compliment me on his beautiful eyes. Seriously, they are stunning, they SHINE (naturally he gets them from his Dad).
I always say it’s because his beautiful soul shines right out of them. It’s truly the window to his soul.
And what a beautiful soul it is.