I saw a post on Facebook and the waterworks just started flowing (I have included the link so we can all have a really good cry together http://www.scarymommy.com/growing-up-saying-goodbye/ ). It was about a mother’s experience watching her child grow into a teenager. As I type this, the tears are still coming.
I am currently teaching a psychology class about child and adolescent development. On the PowerPoints, I include photos of my son to help the students relate. I have to be honest, there are times as I’m teaching that I can feel the emotions welling up inside of me because those pictures signify an era already gone. It’s time I can’t get back and that’s what pains me the most.
I don’t have regrets. This is different. I am supposed to raise this beautiful young man to be a caring adult. To be separate from me, relying on himself to thrive. But, I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that prepared me for this.
My child is taller than I am, and I’m pretty tall. Tonight, because he knew I had injured my back, he waited on me hand and foot. He is growing up before my very eyes and I’m powerless to stop it, but that is the nature of the beast. This is supposed to be happening. So, since I know this is the natural order of things, I should quit sobbing right?
I can’t. Every time I look at him I still see the baby I held in my arms. I still hear his hysterical laughter from a time I took him to the grocery store and absolutely everything was funny to him. I still watch him breath as he sleeps. I just stand there, shaking my head, wondering where all of the time has gone and contemplate how fast things continue moving.
Teaching this class has taken me back in time. It’s a double-edged sword really. Remembering all of the things that helped my son develop is fascinating from a scientific standpoint, but then I see the man he is and wonder where I was when all of these changes started happening. Well, I was right here.
It’s such a roller-coaster of emotion. And then I look at him and he is doing just fine. Before, he would tell me, “Mom, I don’t want to grow up.” Now, I can see him beginning to embrace it and that’s what every parent is supposed to want. And I do want that. It just hurts my heart.
I have three of his voicemails on my phone. If I ever have to get rid of my phone, I’ll probably flip out. The first one is from when he was in elementary school. The next one is from a couple of years ago. The last one is recent. When I listen to them, I can hardly believe it’s the same person. This high, tenor voice of this sweet, innocent child has transformed into a deep, man voice. But, that’s my child… It’s the same person and this is all part of the journey.
He still thinks it’s cool to “camp out” in my room, putting a sleeping bag down beside my bed. He still thinks it’s awesome to curl up on the couch and watch a movie like Kung Fu Panda. He still wants hugs. But there’s this part of him that is caught between the world of a child and the world of adolescence. I remember how difficult that was. Still, he smiles and wants held.
No matter what either of us do, time is marching forward and the inevitability of what awaits is realized by both of us. What happened? Where did my two-year old go? The one who laid in my bed laughing at the shadow puppets I put up on the wall. The one who let me rock him to sleep. The four-year old who play Thomas the Train with me. That little child; that boy… he’s still there locked deep inside trying to adjust to all of the profound changes happening to his body and to his mind.
I really don’t know what the true point of this post is other than to try to stop myself from crying, but it isn’t working. So, I’m going to close, go blow my nose, walk into my son’s room, kiss his forehead as he lay fast asleep, and then go to bed all the while knowing another day will dawn perpetuating the reality that my baby is growing up.