This post is late. About 4 weeks late. Man how the time flies! Is it just me or does it seem like the days go by in a matter of just a few hours lately??
Eleven years ago in the middle of August, I had my first baby boy. He was the easiest, most well behaved, happy little baby I had ever had the pleasure to know. And he was mine. I still remember the overwhelming love that rushed into my heart when I saw my son for the first time. I used to waste hour after hour just staring at him and watching him and talking to him and loving him. He was, for me, the perfect little dude.
Back then, he looked like this:
His independence is nothing new. He's always been comfortable being by himself and he was the one who was happy to start school and have his "me" time away from mom. I want him to be able to be independent. But I want him to be aware too! Big Brother doesn't always get that simply being away from Mom and Dad doesn't make you independent and functional. He thinks things will just kind of take care of themselves. It's one thing to think you can handle life on your own because YOU think you're smart enough to deal with challenge. It's another to be fully aware that, at times, life will be tough and in order to successfully navigate it emotionally intact and independently, you need to be truly prepared with proper coping skills. I'm not quite sure he's ready to make some of the decisions he will have to make about who he hangs out with and whether or not he will participate in questionable activities, ya know? There's so much he still doesn't know. He just doesn't know that he doesn't know it yet. I know what he doesn't know though, because I flew out of my childhood nest completely unprepared for what the world was really like. I found it to be a pretty brutal and unforgiving place when I was young, because I really believed that everyone around me was who they said they were. Unfortunately, people aren't always honest and a lot of those people have no problem preying on naive, kind-hearted teenagers who are looking for acceptance. Funny thing is? I think I was a lot like my son. I thought I was pretty world-wise and could handle just about anything or anyone. Turns out I couldn't. And some of my choices (or lack of action) left some pretty big emotional scars. So I worry about Big Brother.
But...Big Brother is growing up. And because he is growing up? I have to grow up. Maybe that's what all this melancholy I feel is really about. I should rejoice that he is growing up and becoming a wonderful young man, because he really is a wonderful young man. He is kind and loving. He loves to experience new things. He has this really incredible laugh. And he is working so hard to find himself. I should be happy. But I'll be honest. I don't know that I am that much more emotionally mature than my son is. He is actually striving to be a mature adult! I think I spend half of my time running away from that concept! How can I help him be the man he needs to be to have a full and happy life when I can't even figure out how to have a full and happy life of my own!?
My son, my small man, turned 11 this year. He reminds me every day that when I chose to be a mother, I chose to help another human being come into this world and make a life for himself. He's reached the age where I am way out of my comfort level when it comes to answering his questions and teaching him the life skills he'll so desperately need to function well in the world. I've reached the end of my skill set. So I worry. Because I'm not sure I can stay ahead of the curve enough to make sure he always has a well-adjusted parent available to offer support and guidance and direction. I have to step up my game now - big time! And I'm really feeling the pressure.