Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pre-teen

No longer attached to my side, days will pass where I realize I haven't had a real, honest hug from Justin. Nervous about my obvious lack of motherly attention, I rush to him and smother him with physical love. He doesn't pull away. He still returns the hugs and smiles at my weepy attempts to push his head below my chin, back where he belongs, beneath my heart and in my arms.

This is hard.

Harder than the sleepless newborn nights he gave me. Harder than potty-training. Harder than fractions. (that's saying a lot!) There aren't any manuals to tell you exactly how much space an 11 year old boy needs from his mother. It's impossibly easy to shower a toddler with love and attention. And as a pre-teen, Justin still wants our love and attention, but no longer walks up to me to proclaim his undying love for me. It's quite simple to let the time pass by without holding him to my heart and kissing his head. He appears to be content with a nod and a "Night, Mom" before he heads to bed but I still need that hug and kiss and hug again...

His life is already so removed from mine, despite the fact that I homeschool and we're together ALL THE TIME. I don't feel the need to monopolize his space, but it saddens me to realize that days may go by where I don't have conversations with him about anything but school, chores, bathing or treating his siblings nicely. How do I remain involved without crowding him? How do I give him the space he needs to independently explore his world without allowing a valley to form between us?

This constant push and pull of motherhood is what wears me down the most. These daily needs of the kids and the personal issues I have make it difficult to pay attention to the slippery sweetness of today. But between the packing of the winter clothes and the unpacking of the winter clothes, the haircuts, shoe sizes, friend conflicts, locations of books and socks... it all gradually pecks away at my ability to be still and focused on what is important to us as a family and that is our connection to one another.Today, I vow to be still. I vow to be beside him and witness his laughter at our Halloween party. I want him to know that I SEE him and HEAR his thoughts and LOVE him...

15 comments:

Doll Clothes Gal Pal said...

This is a great post dear. I truly believe that somehow we must always stay connected with our sons and/or daughters. To be always be there for them.

Debbie said...

You really summed it up beautifully in this one. That push and pull is so tough. Some days it just wears me out emotionally.

Kami's Khlopchyk said...

I am struggling with this same thing and my oldest is only 9. It's tough and the balancing act is the hardest yet.

Good luck to both of us!

KLZ said...

I completely understand this urge even though our little guy is only 1. How'd he get so big already?

I think sometimes though, I need to put these kind of worries behind my husband too. How often do I just talk to him about chores? Too often.

Manic Mommy said...

If you can figure out just the right balance, please let me know. HRH won't kiss me on the lips anymore but still loves to snuggle at bedtime. And he's a few weeks shy of eight!

for a different kind of girl said...

This is a great post. I love it. My oldest son is 13, and I find myself feeling everything you have expressed here more now than I ever think I have in my role as a parent. HIS life is changing, and I find mine has to change, too. I hope I can keep him plugged in the way he is still, and never miss a thing with him...and sometimes I need to just sit back and be still, too.

mamacooker said...

I understand exactly how you feel. Mine are grown and married now. It was such a blessing raising 4 children. Cherish each and every moment. It goes by so fast.

anymommy said...

I'm going to bet that you do a fantastic job of that, just being present with him this weekend. Love this post.

nmaha said...

I should remember all this when my clingy little toddler is a pre-teen.

nmaha said...

I should remember all this when my clingy little toddler is a pre-teen.

Gettysburg Mom said...

I looked at Shea the other day on our way to a friend's party. He was riding in the back seat of the van and his legs were sprawled into the center aisle. And all I could think was, "Wow. When did he get so big?"

All the little old ladies in the grocery store are right. It does go quickly.

Melissa said...

I read this yesterday but didn't get a chance to comment. Wonderful post, Tracey. I'm going through the same thing with my tween. She needs me . . . but doesn't need me. It's hard to find balance.

we are reilly said...

wow -- you helped me put my stress of parenting a toddler (19 months) and kindergartener into perspective -- after reading this I realized that I need to pay more attention to this stage in my life and like you said, BE STILL

Stacia said...

Oh, I'm boo-hooing over here. You're right: It's easy to show toddlers how much you love them. I won't squander these days. They'll be gone all too soon.

Happy Halloween to you and your oldest! Hope you get some stealth hugs in. =>

JC said...

You are truly blessed and you are a blessing to your kids as well. Amazing how fast they grow up!!!

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