Tuesday, December 30, 2014

All I Can See Are Ankles

It's happening again.

Sometimes, I notice it most when I'm trying to look forward into a room, and am met with an impenetrable mass of the thickest black waves imaginable, that block my 5'3" view.

Sometimes, it sneaks up on me when he's walking and all I can see are ankles. Ankles, ankles, ankles! Peeking out from under the cuffs of jeans that were purchased so recently, they haven't had a chance to fray or be stained.

Sometimes, I'm upstairs, folding laundry or watching tv, and I hear several men talking downstairs. And I'll pause, and wonder, "Who did my husband invite over? Should I get dressed a little more decently?" It will hit me like a shock wave: it's my son. Not my firstborn teenager, but my second son. My 12 year old who is still all arms and legs is the "man" I hear, the head I can no longer see over, and the one who grows too quickly to keep properly clothed.

It's happening again. My boy is becoming a man.

When Evan was a baby, he was barely on the growth charts. I remember cheering when he cleared the 10th percentile for height and 5th for weight. His smallness allowed me to carry him to my heart's content, which was a good thing because he LOVED to be held! In slings or on my hip, his favorite place to sleep was against my heart, and I LOVED IT.

He still loves being held. Not on my hip, naturally, but he craves physical affection and I somehow manage to get hugs on a regular basis. They may not last quite as long as before, but I'll take what I can get. I am beyond grateful for each hug.

Teenagers are weird creatures.

I know that at 12 1/2, he's not quite a teenager yet. Still, I've been lumping him in with "the teenagers" when I drive groups of kids places or tally the horde of current underagers into categories. Because that teen number is right there on the horizon, folks. He is so close; I have to prepare my heart to let go of my image of the little boy, once and for all...

Would you have ever believed your mother when you were a teenager, if she had told you how much she loved you? How much she KNEW about you and your hopes and fears? How strongly she felt every pain and loss you experienced? Would you have even stopped your own life long enough to consider that yours and hers were so deeply interwoven? No. That is not the nature of teens. They are preprogrammed to pull away and become their own person. Separate and individual; it's the path toward survival and I don't want to deprive any of my kids of their own happiness in Life.

 But it hurts. As a mom, it hurts. Not because of the angry and impatient arguments a teenager brings into your life; those aren't the worst pains, and they're expected. The Real Pain is in acknowledging the subtle changes of daily life that I am no longer included in on. The Real Pain is in knowing that from here on out, the adventures and information he includes me in on will lessen. The space between the seriously good hugs and moments together will increase, to the point that one day, this precious boy will move out and on into the world and a Life of his own.
 This kid... My God, how does it go so fast??

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