Growing Up

I'm so proud of the person my son is growing up to be.

watercolor of a park bench on a rainy day
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In 9 days, my oldest son is going to be 13 years old.

In 3 years, he'll be driving. In 5 years, he'll be graduating from high school.

He's now almost as tall as me and his feet are much bigger. His voice is changing. His room is always a wreck and he's still learning to keep his school stuff organized.

He's going to have a few friends over for his birthday... but he keeps forgetting to invite them. I don't have any parents' phone numbers so I told him to ask the friends, and I will text an invite. But every day, he forgets to ask. Yet he seems unconcerned. His two closest friends are coming so he's taking the approach that anyone additional is just a bonus. It'll likely be less like a party and more like an extension of Dungeons & Dragons club in our basement.

Every morning, he listens to the news on NPR followed by Stephen Colbert's monologue from the previous day. He is keenly interested in what's going on in the world. He's seen me cry as we listen to the recap of the prior day's events, like the morning after the shooting in Uvalde. I don't try to hide how much the news impacts me sometimes.

A few weeks ago, a friend posted on Facebook that her (much younger) son had stopped calling her "Mommy" and began calling her "Mom." I replied that my oldest still calls me "Mommy." But I realized later that wasn't true — and I hadn't even noticed. He calls me "Mother" or sometimes "Mama." But "Mommy" is a phrase of the past.

The past few days have been busy. I moved my home office from one part of the house to another. And because I constantly need to move furniture around, it included reshuffling in three other rooms.

By the end of the day on Friday, I was exhausted. I told everyone not to talk to me after dinner; I was going to bed.

My nearly-13-year-old came over and gave me a hug. "You go rest now," he said. Words of wisdom far beyond his years.

As the furniture moving and reorganization continued yesterday, I asked him to help his 5-year-old sister with a puzzle — mostly to keep her out of my hair. He didn't complain at all. He never complains when I ask for his help. He took on the simultaneous roles of older sibling and babysitter.

I usually write about my children's birthdays closer to the actual date. But for my oldest, who came into the world five days before his due date, it felt appropriate to write in advance. Not much seems to faze him. Even when he gets in trouble (usually for sneaking in extra screen time), he accepts the consequence with a sigh and an "Ok."

I'm sure it won't always be smooth sailing. I keep waiting for the teenage angst to show up. But I'm so proud of the person he's growing up to be. And, truly, the person he's always been.