Wednesday, November 9, 2016

When Your First Born Becomes a Man

I remember sitting in my 5th grade parent/teacher conference with Nicholas' teacher who had been a teacher at that time for nearly 40 years.  She gushed over Nicholas telling me what a wonderful young man he was, an who she knew he would become.  She gave him so much praise that I cried. I've never heard anyone (other than family) tell me so many wonderful things that they see in my son.   She also told me that in January of 5th grade year, something happens and 5th graders change.  I tucked that information into the back of my mind and I waited.

And waited, and waited.  Nothing happened.  He didn't change at all.  I still had so much respect for his teacher that I didn't chalk it up to her being crazy, I suspected instead that Nicholas was different.  Then last year I was talking to a new friend of mine (also a fifth grade teacher) and she told me that something happens to 5th graders after Christmas and they change.  Wait what?  The SECOND time I've heard this, but I'm well past January of 5th grade and nothing had changed.  Or had it?

Things had changed just not abruptly like I had expected, it was gradual.  I'm not sure if this was the change Mrs. 5th Grade teacher was talking about, but it was distinct and it was real.  If I'm being honest, it probably happened sooner than I realized, but I wasn't exactly sure what I was looking for.

I look at my son and I realize he's almost a man.  He may not be 6 foot tall (he's 5 foot 1) but he's a young man nonetheless.  His voice is deeper (most of the time), he's hairier and pimplier (I made up that word), but it's more than his physical appearance. My son doesn't look at me the same.  Gone are the random hugs and kisses and snuggles.  Gone are mommy and me moments that you enjoy just because your kids is.... well a kid.  It's sad and it's a process to understand and adjust to.

Don't get me wrong.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my son loves me.  I feel it deep down. We have a great relationship that I really wouldn't change.  We have, however, arrived at a point where he doesn't need me the same way.  He'd rather spend time in his room on his phone or in the basement playing Playstation.  He barely notices if I walk in a room, let alone acknowledges me.  It hurts, but I know it's normal.  It's part of him becoming less of my little boy and more of the independent adult I'm raising him to be.

So gone are the days walking hand in hand, but here are the moments I've honestly been waiting for.  I often wondered what type of young man my son would grow up to be.  And guess what?  My kid, my quasi-adult little being, is a pretty cool.  He makes me laugh with his sense of humor.  He gets my jokes and I can say a swear word around him if I want to.  He's kind and considerate, well-mannered, smart and hard-working.  I no longer have to dream about who he will become.  I mean sure I haven't sent him to college and I don't really know what type of an adult he will be, but I know I'm on the right path.

No one ever tells you when you become a mom that one day you'll have to mourn the loss of your little kid.  No one until Nicholas' 5th grade teacher.  I think that's what she was telling me would happen.  It might have just taken until now for me to realize.  Goodbye my sweet and precious little boy.  Hello to the young man you are and the wonderful man I know you'll become.


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