It dawned on me this afternoon (I've had a lot to think about being trapped in my bed for almost a week sick) that it seems almost like one day I went to bed and when I woke up my little boys weren't little boys anymore. One is a teenager now. He physically looks like a teenager, sounds like a teenager, eats me out of house and home like a teenager, sleeps in like a teenager, and sometimes even smells like a teenager. It's like I blinked and the formative years were gone. He's almost never home and when he is, there's a gaggle of other stinky teenage boys with him. It's surreal, yet intriguing, watching him unfold before my very eyes. I'm watching the hair on his upper lip fill in slowly, I'm listening to his voice crack and change every day. I'm watching him come into his own personal style with pride knowing that if I was in his place I'd be wearing the exact same style. I'm watching him form opinions on his musical tastes, some questionable but most I actually (secretly) enjoy. I find myself smiling each morning when he asks me to blow dry his hair and straighten it for him, because you know what? It looks good that way. I'm watching him become a man. A good man, as a mother would hope. The phone rings at night and it's girls calling for him. I know he worries that I'd embarrass him in front of his 'girlfriend' but I never would.
I won't tell him this though, as this fear keeps him alert and on his toes. I'm proud that he has a girlfriend. I'm proud that the phone rings for him at all. I'm secretly proud that I have girls wrapping on my basement windows at 8:30 at night for him. Is that wrong? Probably. I watch him walk out of my house and down the street with a group of kids and my heart swells with pride. He's my kid. He's a good kid. But a kid for how much longer? Not long I suppose. Next year is high school and everything is going to change. I fear he might not make the right decisions, I fear that he might not realize how important school is. I fear that he might lose the comfort he currently has with regards to what he tells me and what he opts to keep secret. I fear that he might disappoint me. That's something I dread with all my heart. Shouldn't it be the other way around?
I have another son who for years stood by and watched his brother have a life around him. Always wondering when it would be his turn to sleep over at a friends house or take off on his bike without supervision, or spend alone time with Grandpa, or be allowed to walk alone to the corner store. Well one day I woke up and this day had come as well. I look back and think about all the things that have happened in the 10 years of this kid's life and I shake my head. I don't know where all the time went but it's gone and here we are. I'm standing by and watching my walking heart start to really truly be his own person.
He's always trying to finagle ways to have a friend over or go to a friends house and he's usually successful. He's become well versed in the use of the telephone. It's also interesting to me how quickly and easily he can memorize a phone number of a friend. He clearly has figured out what prioritizing means, in his world anyway. He's approached me about doing French Immersion next year, and while I suspect it will be a struggle for him it's one of the few things he's decided to do that has nothing to do with his brother's previous actions. He's been through the mill, this kid. He's definitely a lover, not a fighter (unless your name starts with a G and ends in age). Everything is so personal to him. He's a sensitive boy who takes far too much to heart. I worry about this character trait as he gets older. I know what girls will do to a 'nice guy'. I know what high school can be like and thick skin he does not have. I do know that he doesn't care about stereotypes, stigmas, prejudices, biases, etc. He just wants to be friends with everyone. I hope one day that wonderful trait leads him down a fulfilling path to a career that will best utilize those strengths. A path where he can change someone's life for the better, like he's altered mine. I hope he never loses that strength. I hope he doesn't become cynical in the ways of the world. I hope he doesn't easily succumb to peer pressure but I believe deep down that out of my two boys, he'd be the one to cave to his friends. I worry that he will continue to be impulsive in life and make unwise choices and decisions. I worry that he'll let his emotions overcome him as he works his way through this world. I worry that people won't accept him and all the things he is. I worry people will only find the negative in his 'disorders'. I worry people won't be able to find the gold that lies under those disorders. I worry that he'll always have to struggle just a little bit harder than his brother to fit in properly. I'm so grateful to his current group of friends. I'm not sure if they are too young to know any different or if they just truly love Roan for who he is, but they are wonderful for him. I have never met a kid who can make me laugh as much as he does. Hands down, funniest kid ever. The things that escape from his brain through his mouth are mind boggling. I often don't know where the thoughts come from, but I relish in them. I could listen to him all day which is good because there are some days that he never stops talking. He is going to be the one who teaches me to be a better person. He's already begun.
I am a mother of two boys. I am a blessed human being. Anything over and above these two people is an extra gift, because I'd be truly content if all I had were them. It's me and them and then there's the rest of the world.