Officially a Mom to a Teenage Boy.

My only offspring is now a teenager and as expected, it kinda hurts my mama heart. His voice is lower than I’m comfortable with, he’s as tall as I am, and his friends are “dating” (but not him, so he says). We don’t hold hands anymore, but he still kisses my cheek before leaving the house so I will consider that a win.

Never could I have imagined 13 years would pass so fast. And what am I doing? Looking through old pictures finding it impossible to remember my man-child being so small and cuddly.

This day 13 years ago, I was clueless. I had no idea what the hell I was doing: I overfed him his first week home and watched him projectile vomit in his crib. I’d never cried with a newborn in the bathtub at 3AM before, brand spanking new experiences. Later that week, I dropped him. They say babies are less fragile than they appear, and he proved that to be true.

PSA: Don’t fall asleep while you’re holding your baby in a chair – they’ll barrel roll all the way to the ground.

His first word was, Hi! And it didn’t stop until it was almost unbearable.

Hi. Hi. Hiiiiii. Hi! HI! hi. -Bennett

Ya know the song Rumor Has It, By Adele? When it finished, he asked: What do you think Umar has? When he picked our brains about shooting stars he said: I’d give my wish to mom.

Now that we’ve begun the teenage adventures I’m grateful that he’s still a sweet boy, just now a little more stinky and way more annoyed. Thankfully, proper documentation is not a problem for when I’m feeling sentimental, sad, proud, and weirded out – all at the same time.

There was the Elmo phase, his first real obsession. Middle of August, it’s hot and humid and like a diamond in the rough he spots an Elmo costume at a rummage sale. Kid could care less how sweaty he was, lived in the thing all summer.

When they’re toddlers, you can’t look away for more than a second, but on the other hand, you don’t even want to. You just stare at them like,”you crazy little person, what the f*** are you even saying? Why are you so adorable? I can’t believe I made this little monster who’s destroying everything“.

and it’s kinda magical.

When he was four my dad snapped my favorite picture of us, oh, and this was also the first year he was able to write out requests to the Easter Bunny.

Dear Easter Bunny, Please bring me tattoos.

He stole the show on our wedding day. From the moment he crept up on me while taking pictures, his robot dance moves, and genuine silliness…he made our day over and over.

He began showing initiative to save money by jumping in a ride with a stranger instead of using his own coins at Chuck E. Cheese, that was a proud moment. Another personal favorite? He insisted, swore up and down that he would love tomato juice. Why? Because red was his favorite color…and tomato juice is red. Life is actually that simple when you’re five years old.

He also declared his like for big butts, and couldn’t lie about it.

…and I busted him taking his first selfie.

There was the time we pulled a pretty stellar April Fools joke on him…

His voice on that video is so small, and he hasn’t grown into his teeth yet, but if you listen close to the beginning: “I love you guys.” He’s always been one to randomly throw out an I love you and I assume that means he’ll make a pretty great husband someday (to the girl I’ll try my best to like).

And just like that, he’s a big kid. There was always a preconceived notion in my brain saying little kids are harder to parent. My big kid likes to sleep in, and so do I. The challenges don’t get easier, they just change.

I’m not scared of the teenage years, not even intimidated. I know him. Is he going to give me an attitude when I don’t deserve it? Yes. Is he going to do half the shit I did when I was a teenager? I really really hope not.

Motherhood

Motherhood differs from parenthood. Women grow that thing in their stomach and then push them out in a dramatic, painful, amazing way. I am not taking away from the dads out there, you also deal with things that we as moms do not… but we’re fucking the best. It’s just the way it is.

I’ve been a mom for over a decade and it’s brought me more joy, pain, fear, and happiness than I ever thought possible. To be frank, bringing my son into this world was miserable. Thirty-six hours of labor, for them to just cut the damn offspring outta my stomach. I requested the c-section at noon and it happened at 10:40pm that night. I’ll spare you the rest of the grody details.

My son has taught me more than any book or teacher ever could. I am a more selfless, aware, and compassionate person than I was before he entered my world and for that I’m thankful. We’ve had our ups, downs, and in-betweens but at the end of every single day, I’m proud to call him mine.

I used to think that parenting an older kid would be easier than the younger kid phase, but I was wrong. It’s not harder, per say, but the worries and challenges are bigger, just like him. I used to get paranoid that he’d fall and hit his head, or put a foreign object in his nose or ears, now I’m worried about his emotional stability and what is going on when I’m not around. Who he is spending his time with at school, and if his mouth is already as rotten as mine when I’m not within earshot.

He doesn’t hold my hand anymore, but he still catches my blown kisses I throw in his direction and slaps them right on his heart. The day that stops, will be a sad day. I’ve watched him grow up with each of his decisions, good and bad, into this independent man-monster. Sometimes he’s rude, sometimes he has an attitude for no good reason, and sometimes he tells me I look beautiful. Each of his quirks unique to him.

He’ll be in middle school next year and then high school. Eventually, I’ll have to wonder if he’ll want to hang out with me when I can no longer force it upon him, and he’ll have girlfriends who probably won’t live up to my expectations. It goes by quick, some say too quick, sometimes not quick enough. I’ll take each day in stride and trust that I’ve done my job to make him a functional member of our society.

“There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.”

– Jill Churchill