Addi turned 13 yesterday. We have three teenagers at home right now. It’s such a milestone for kids, and to be honest it’s even a milestone for parents.
It’s been many years since I could hold Addi in my arms, cuddle him to me. It’s been many years since he crept into our room in the dead of night, scared because of a bad dream.
He talks to Roy about girls and the ‘girlfriends’ he has, or rather had, apparently she broke up with my little guy. (Can I be annoyed with a 13 year old girl?)
He knows what he likes and doesn’t like (likes to play “Minecraft” on the computer, hates NOT playing “MInecraft” on the computer).
He gets more phone calls and texts on his cell than Roy and I put together.
And yet, he still struggles. Addi has been diagnosed ADHD, and while we stress to him that isn’t an excuse to do poorly in school, we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge that it DOES cause some issues for him.
If he likes the teacher and the subject things go well. His tech teacher is a very nice guy-very engaging and tries to make the class fun for the kids. He spoke highly of Addi’s intelligence and praised his hard work. If there was an issue he always contacted me as soon as he could, but he never phrased his emails as if he were insulting Addi. Instead, he almost dismissed a bad behavior, putting into the context of Addi having a rough day, but he knew that tomorrow would be better. Addi responded very well to him, did well in the class, and eagerly signed up to take his advanced computer class in 8th grade. Other teachers, and classes…not so much.
But he is learning, that he won’t always get lucky. He might have some teachers that he doesnt’ mesh well with, but that doesn’t mean it’s ok to use that as an excuse for poor grades and/or behavior.
He is almost taller than I am, a milestone the two older boys couldn’t wait to hit, and Addi seems to be no exception. (Though none of them is taller than Roy yet….) He likes being able to wear the clothing in the ‘adult’ section of the stores, and he appreciates that Roy and I now trust him home alone for a time.
I remember his first step. Roy was holding him and then all of a sudden Daddy let go. I reached out to him and he took two steps towards me, of course I squealed with delight, that scared him and he plopped on his bottom and cried, thinking I was hurt or scared.
I remember pulling up in my car one day after a quick trip to Walmart and seeing him running around with a stick in our yard. I think he was about 8 years old. It was a beautiful, spring day. The sun was out, and just starting to set, so it was that quiet, pretty time of day. He was laughing and running around, holding a stick up as high as he could. I watched him for a moment, and finally he saw me. He waved and ran over to me. When I asked him what he was doing he said he was waiting for a bird to land on the stick. I went in and told Roy what he was doing, and we got a chuckle out of it, but I dearly miss that sweet innocence.
As the boys get older, they lose that. They start to see the world more clearly, see the dismay and unhappiness so many feel, and though Roy and I want to shield them from it, I think that would be doing them a disservice. We can’t shield them from reality, but we can be there to reassure them and comfort them if they need it.
And yet, as they get older they need less and less of that reassurance and comfort. They become more secure with themselves, they have a better understanding of what they are capable of.
It’s a matter of pride for Roy. He is so proud of the boys-each milestone they reach, he sees the hard work he puts in as a father paying off. He sees the tools we try to give the boys coming into play.
But as a mom it’s a bittersweet time for me. I share that pride with Roy, but I am also sad because i see them pulling away. I see them needing me less and less.
As a parent my ultimate goal is to help my children become strong, independent, productive members of a community. I want them to succeed in life and be happy.
But sometimes, I just want to hold them and remember than they used to be little boys that needed their mom.