After 11 years of parenthood I am finally beginning to get a handle on my kids and am understanding the very unique personalities of each of my two boys. My older son, while is sweet and caring, does it in his own stoic way. He is 11 and has fully embraced the idea of being a moody teenager. He speaks when he wants to and spends a great deal of time locked behind headphones either attached to his iPhone or his Xbox. When I get more than 3 or 4 words at a time from him, I cherish each of them and desperately wish (on the inside) for just 1 or 2 more. I have learned not to push him (although I sometimes break that rule, much to my lament) and to try to capitalize on any moments he offers me more than the occasional grunt. He took great pleasure in the fact that he is on to the whole Santa schtick finally and that he shared a secret with his mom and dad that we all protectively kept from his 8 year-old brother. When I discreetly disappeared to the bedroom to wrap “santa’s” gifts, he joined me and we had an hour of blissful discussion about a broad range of topics. It was priceless and, frankly, my best memory of Christmas this year. I know it is likely not to happen again for a very LONG time.
My younger son, on the other hand, is a born extrovert just like his mommy. He needs to talk as much as possible, as often as possible and on as many topics as his little brain can come up with in any given moment. He lives to make people laugh and will beat a joke into the ground if he gets the desired reaction from his audience. I know that he is still young and has not yet entered that unpleasant state of pre-adolesence when he will forget how much he enjoys talking to me and decides to shut out the world with the exception of anyone who speaks his mysterious preteen language. But I have hopes for him. I regularly pray that he will be different and will not abandon our special relationship. That he will not shy away from the cuddle time we often share. That he will not stop kicking my husband out of the bed to be closer to me. That he will not stop languishing in the opportunities to lay in bed and watch TV only with mommy. I pray that he stays my baby forever. I know this won’t happen but a girl can dream, can’t she?
It is often overwhelming watching your children grow and change at such a rapid pace. Everyone always tells you to cherish each moment because they grow up so fast but you cannot appreciate the reality of that until your son is looking you in the eye and you realize that he has a whole life that you really understand very little of. We recently spent a weekend watching old videos that I took when the boys were babies and preschoolers and even I was surprised at how much had changed. How come I could not remember that high pitched voice coming from my older son’s mouth? When had that delightful little squeal turned into a deep alto in a young man’s body? What happened to the silly little creature dancing around in the bathroom shaking his butt into the camera? When did he become reserved and private? Does he still laugh like that? When he smiles and shows me a glimpse into his old self, my heart swells.
Our children continually teach us lessons on how to be better people while testing our patience and ability to remain calm under some of the most trying circumstances. I recently said to a friend that I did not think I would have been able to make to take the great personal strides I have taken in my life without my children being an influence. They make me want to be a better person because I want to do better for them. They show us how to love and teach us about forgiveness and kindness. They allow us to experience every range of emotion possible. From anger to deep love, to fear and comfort – sometimes all in the span of an hour!
I am grateful for my children and I love them for who they are – two very different and very lovely, kind, generous, and unique boys. They make me proud and make me thankful that I chose to take this path of motherhood.
I say all this for no particular reason except that my younger son blew me a kiss when he got out of the car this morning at school drop-off and my heart melted. Maybe, just maybe, he’ll blow me kisses forever.