A teenager in the house!! The big 13, you are no longer in single digits, no longer the lonely 12 you are now officially 13. What comes with a being a 13 year old boy in my household. He continues to be my soft, gentle soul with a radiant smile and soft eyes that speak to your soul if you allow them too. He is gonna have these killer eyes that even make me half ass afraid for him. They are this green color off set by long brown lashes that drive your attention to look right at them. As a baby he had a big head, as 13 approaches he has grown into his head and carries it well on his long, lanky athletic body. He maybe 1 inch shorter than I am, and remind me every day that he as tall as I am.
I get daily reminders that he is a teenage boy, by the arm pit hairs that have suddenly sprouted and taken over his body. And that weird shadow of hair that is suddenly covering his top lip. The stinky feet that take over my house when the football shoes are removed and Oder eaters that are suddenly necessary. Where did my baby, toddler go?? There were days when my home smelled like baby lotion, formula and diaper genie. And now it is covered with book bags, homework, Xbox games, laughter at YouTube videos, and girlfriends.
Time seems to stand still everyday as we go through the daily bump and grind of sports and home work, and yet it runs so fast like sand just slipping through my fingertips. 13 years this child has blessed my daily routine. This has not escaped me as I sit and wonder where the time went. He still takes his time to find me in the kitchen and just give me a hug. We take our time to say our prayers every night, remain grateful even for the hard times. He still kisses me goodbye every morning and tells me he loves me before he leaves to go catch the bus. All of these normal routine things seem so small in the daily bump and grind, but for me they are my golden moments of a child that is slowly becoming a man. His teenage years are just as important to me as his childhood years were, rather than teaching him to learn his ABC’s, and to count to 10. I am now teaching him to maintain a standard of living and life skills that need to last him a life time.
Trying to instill in him kindness, gratitude and integrity as he attends middle school and plays team sports is not hard with this child. It all seems to come natural to him. He had what I would perceive to be difficult years in his life, several surgeries even before he turned 1. All the time this child smiled and taught me to live in the moment and to let things go. They were not difficult for him, nor do I feel he would ever feel like he was different than his other 13 year old counter parts. His nature and personality carried him through like a rock star.
As we sit and have dinner I pay attention to his daily activities. He apparently is the class clown, a lively vibrant soul among the presence of his teachers and classmates. That makes my heart soar. He is kind to all kids; he is witty, funny and comfortable in his own skin. He is not running a race with the fastest kid in school, he is not playing football to be the quarter back he living his life at 13 as hope he will continue to live it well into adulthood. He is living it for him. He has joy, fun and laughter at the normal silly boy stuff.
The other day he was in the living room and started singing ‘cheeseburger in paradise’. I looked over at him and asked ‘where did you learn that?’ He just shrugged and laughed, he didn’t really know but he thought it was funny so he just goes with it, and apparently was singing it in class that day as well. I asked if he got in trouble and he said ‘naw, the teacher just laughed.’ The neighbor girl, who is in his grade, talks about what a class clown Ry is and about how the teachers and classmates enjoy his company.
I am a bit shocked at this, at home he seems reserved at times and witty but the funny does not seem to come out on a regular basis. I am glad he is funny, I am glad he has laughter that seeps from his core and touches others.
He is a natural athlete, which I could have never predicted. I figured once his bone graph had taken place, he not be able to play sports ever again. Shows you how shallow and how much I did not know. 3 weeks after his bone graph, where they graphed bone from his hip to his mouth he was back on the football field. That my friends was my life lesson. Even when he begged to go back out and play, I fought him on it, I said no. I am glad that is one fight I lost. I would have held him back due to my own fears, and what I ‘thought’ was best. I would have been wrong. He falls into football like a natural and this year we are trying baseball. He seems to have fallen into this sport like the rest; he seems to be a natural. I felt it was too late for him and that all the other boys would have been playing for years and that he just needed to stick to football. He and his dad thought otherwise, and as he continues to go to practice he continues to thrive. I was once again wrong. I need to learn to let it go, and to follow his lead. So we are playing baseball and this was first year he has even picked up a bat. His batting coach says he does great. He willing to listen and learn, which makes him teachable. He has a great eye and understanding which makes helps him to thrive. So here we go, football and baseball for a child I thought would have trouble and pain when the weather changed. Football and baseball for a child that I thought would never play sports and would hate to run because it would hurt. I was wrong and I am glad I was, it is a joy to watch him be a part of a team. It is a joy to watch him grow.
So to my funny, witty teenager I wish you a happy birthday. Thank you for my life lessons. Thank you for your warm radiant smile that touches my soul. Thank you for the hugs and kisses daily. There are days when I want to strangle you and make you smell your own socks. There are days when you are as stubborn as a damn mule. When we argue over things you ‘think’ you can stomp away and slam doors. I think we are finding out that is not gonna be the case. The years are racing by fast, your childhood should be the best time of your life and I hope you can reach back and find memories that make you smile, make you feel loved and maybe even make you laugh.
As we sit at dinner and you tell me about your day, I want you to know that I am always listening. As we sit at breakfast and you text me from across the table, so you don’t have to talk in front of your sister, I want you to know that I am here. As we stay up later than you sister so we can talk about what to get your girlfriend for her birthday, I want you to know that I understand there are things your sister does not need to know. Although as times change, she will be the one you tell things to and you and her will keep them from me. As you share your day, your heart break and your frustrations, I want you to know that no situation is too big for you to handle.
As enter the world of texting, snapchat, Instagram – because facebook is lame; just know I am trying to keep up. As you enter a world of advance math and other studies I fear I may not be able to help you with, just know that I am proud of you.
Ode to my teenager, wash your feet, brush your teeth and face daily. Wear deodorant, clean underwear and wash your bed sheets once a week. As this stage basketball shorts and t-shirts are not acceptable to catch the bus when it is 20 degrees and yes, you need to wear a jacket. And yes I know that even though I make you put on jeans during the cold weather, I know you have shorts in backpack which you change into once you get to school. And the things I don’t know, but will creep up, we will get through together.
Love you to the moon and back kiddo. Your mother – aka work in progress