This week when Monica Swanson’s episode on The Happy Hour came out, I knew it was perfect timing. On her show we talked a lot about raising teenage boys. She’s a blogger who blogs a lot about parenting, and specifically parenting boys, so I of course was immediately drawn to her having three boys myself. We recorded this episode on September 1st, and you won’t believe this, but so much has changed at my house in in the past two months. Nothing bad has happened, but I have noticed a subtle, but yet obvious change in my 6th grade son.
Most days I can’t put my finger on it, but what I think it is that he’s going through puberty and his emotions are whacky. One moment he’s totally into me and loving towards me, and the next minute he’s glaring me down and rude towards me. So far we haven’t had any blow up crazy moments, and for the most part after about 30 minutes he usually realizes that he’s acting crazy and he comes to me and apologizes and we hug it out.
The other day when I was having one of those moments with him I pulled up my Instagram feed and low and behold my friend had posted this video:
I literally watched it over and over until tears were streaming down my face. Look at her sweet boy running on the field with only one thing on his mind – waving to his momma. He’s so proud, excited, and overjoyed to see his momma in the stands cheering for him.
As I watched this video for the 589th time it hit me that the reason this is so hard is because what’s happening right before my eyes is that my baby boy is not my baby boy anymore. No longer does he see me and wave with no regard for who might see him or what they might think of him. He’s much more aware of all going on around him and not just zoned in on his momma.
My friends’s sweet boy wasn’t even looking where he was going because he was so engaged in those on the sideline cheering him on. My “little boy” is no longer just engaged with us. He has friends. He has school. He has emotions. He has feelings. He has thoughts. He’s not just getting love and attention from us, he’s now noticing and needing affirmation from everyone around him.
No longer is he a momma’s little boy anymore, but he’s figuring out who he is. I don’t think this is bad, but I do think this is really hard for this momma.
A few weeks ago I was crying about this to my friend Catherine who has raised two boys herself and she reassured me that this is completely normal, that he does love me, and that yes this is hard. She also explained that this is a good thing. He’s growing up. Figuring himself out. She asked if I really wanted a ninth grade boy that needed to be with me at every moment of the day. Obviously I don’t, but I miss my sweet little boy who needed me way more than this big boy needs me.
Tonight I was texting the girls in my Super Club and Jen reassured me that after 8th grade this gets better. So basically I have 2 more years of this roller coaster of emotions for me, and then I get to do it all over again with two more boys, and then right after they get “normal” again I have a daughter to go through this with, and I have a small suspicion that might be harder than this.
Being a momma is by far the hardest thing in the world for me. I question my ability daily, I question my actions, I apologize a lot, I ask a lot of questions, I pray a lot, and I realize that this is hard stuff. Nothing in my life has caused me to need Jesus more than being a momma. I can not do this on my own. As I pray for my oldest I selfishly want to pray that he’ll need me more, and that he’ll hug me more, and that he’ll choose me more over friends, but I’m starting to pray something different for him.
I’m starting to pray that God would be near to him in these emotional changes. I know what emotional craziness feels like, and so for him I want him to know God is for him. I want him to know that whenever he needs a hug, or wants to chat, or needs me I am always here. More than ever I want to be willing to drop it all when he needs me, because those are becoming special moments. I’m praying that he will trust me as a momma and believe in my words. Not only my love, but also my advice, and my suggestions, and even my rules.
I’m also praying for my heart. That God would be near to me, and that my worth as a person is not held in my kids, or how I parent them. That God would remind me that I’m raising men here, and not just boys that don’t ever grow up.
I’m not Wendy, he’s not Peter, and we’re not living in Neverland.