The changes have been slow and steady… The deepening of the voice, the gaining of height, the expansion of opinion. My little boy has transformed into a teenager. Surprise of all surprises, I am loving it.
He turns 14 in just over a week and I find myself enjoying his blooming “teenagerhood” more than I ever expected.
Babyhood was an amazing period of development, but exhausting. Those early toddler and pre-k years were full of laughter and vigilance and frustration. You just can’t reason with a young child! Not to mention the vast amounts of time and attention children need and want. Where is there room for your own self? There were times I felt like there was some thing wrong with me, because I needed time for myself and didn’t want to spend all of my time with my child. There were many, many times were I wondered if I was cut out for being a parent.
But lately, as I observe this transformation between childhood and adulthood, I wonder if this was the time I was waiting for. I just didn’t know it until now. I get to see my boy as he becomes the adult he was meant to be.
I get to see him explore his interests, from choir to technology. I get to watch him develop his own opinions and think for himself. I get to observe him make his way through increasing social complexity, learning to develop and recognize healthy relationships and ways of interacting with others. I get to put in my two cents (whether he wants it or not) to influence his direction and choices and thought processes. Influence, but not define. He’s doing the definition himself.
And, along with all of that, I get to witness the most wonderful examples of his budding independence… Just last week he wrote an letter to the editor of the local paper expressing frustration about the new standardized tests coming out in Oregon schools. At first the paper wanted to publish it, but now they want to interview him, he expressed himself so well. I sit back and watch in amazement and gratitude, that my almost-14-year-old has the skills and the confidence to participate in the civic process on his own.
The added bonus, and we will see how much longer this lasts, is that he is still interested in sharing things with us and exploring our interests too. He goes to model railroad club with his dad (all of the “train guys” love him). He is doing more with photography. A couple of months ago I got this text, which warmed my heart:
He helps with my mobile photography classes, working with the Android users since I’m familiar with iOS. He’s just joined Instagram and has started playing more with his own images. He let me share this one he created last week:
“A little like you, Mom,” he said. Yes, a little like me. Influenced by me, but still with his own point of view.
Just like him, as a person.