Last night I cried because my boy is growing up. There are signs, you know. Things that he wouldn’t appreciate me talking about, so I won’t. But last night the signs caught me unawares. I was shocked. I was thrilled. I laughed and teased and chortled, and then he went to bed and I cried.
I was surprised at myself. I stood on the hearth, wiping my eyes, lips wobbling, telling Mr. Handsome my observations and trying to explain why I was crying. “You can laugh at me, if you want,” I sniffled. “I know this is perfectly ridiculous.”
He didn’t laugh, but he did smile. And then he was quiet, too. Thinking, I guess.
I’m not sure why this new phase of life, this of my first child entering puberty, has turned me into such an emotional basket case. I cried twice yesterday and a couple times today. (And no, I’m not hormonal either. At least not any more than normal.)
I look forward to my kids growing up. Potty-trained, yes! Weaned, yes! Talking, yes! Riding a bike, yes! Reading, yes! Going to camp, yes! I am not inclined to feelings of melancholy. I’m not particularly good at living in the present (I get ants in my pants), but I’m not one to dwell on the past. I live hard and I move forward. I’m always ready to move forward.
Except for now. Now I’m hesitating, unsure. Yes, yes, of course I want my boy to grow into a man. Of course I want my boy to leave home and strike out on his own. Of course, of course, of course.
Then why this profound sadness? I wasn’t prepared to feel this way.
It feels like I’m standing on top of a mountain and it’s downhill wherever I look. Life has been so full to bursting with diapers and dirty dishes, time-outs and arguments, read alouds and snacks, projects and plans—and suddenly, shatteringly, I see that this won’t last forever.
I’m losing my grip on my boy. He’s becoming a man. He’s going to leave me. And I will, slowly but surely, get old and die.
Good grief. All this because my son is hitting puberty.
Once I wrap my head around having a manchild in the house, I’ll probably feel better. The truth is, I’m thrilled.
The truth also is, I’m sad.
This same time, years previous: peanut noodles, on not wanting