"What are you doing today?"
"Who do you want to invite over?"
"Is anything wrong?"
"Are you upset? Is there something you'd like to talk about?"
"Are you sure? Because you can tell me, you know. You can tell me anything."
Dull, bored stare.
"I'm. Fine. Nothing's wrong."
Concerned, I nibble my lip and shuffle my feet. This pre-teen stuff? It's serious. This is not for the weak-hearted. It is fraught with silence and sighs, groans and indignant stares. Bursts of happiness are interspersed with the angst we assume is reserved for 15 year olds who slather on black eyeliner and call their parents by their first names.
I cannot resist and continue to pester him. Picking away like a nervous chicken, I stare at my eldest child as he lies motionless on the couch, staring at the floor.
"Well, what are you thinking about?"
"I am just... here. I'm not thinking. I don't know what to do or have anything to say."
I stroke his cheek and kiss his crazy curls.
"I love you!!"
"Just please... tell me if you need to talk, ok?"
It really takes all my effort to just leave him be. To allow him to consider and mull within his mind. As mothers, we want to help. We held their hands for their first steps and caught them when they fell off of their bikes. We remember how difficult the teen years are and we want to shower our wisdom and experiences upon them, easing the transition from child to teenager to adult.
And even though I know, I KNOW, that this is a natural and necessary stage in each person's development, I continue to wring my hands and bite my lip and worry, worry, worry that I might not be cut out to forge these waters. That I will royally screw him up by not being accessible enough; by being TOO accessible; by not asking enough questions; by asking TOO many questions; by not being able to BE what he requires to safely navigate through these next few years.Being 12 sucked pretty bad the first time.
Raising a 12 year old is even harder.
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