It’s already happened. The regret, the lost time, the wishing I had. I look back already, aggravated with myself, wishing I had written it all down, had taken the time each night to jot down a few things of the day. Things that were funny or even a little painful. I did record them here or there, but some little moments existed that I didn’t preserve- the small details, and even the big things that I thought I’d never forget. But, sadly, I already have.
Maybe I’m seeking to remedy that, by starting now.
He’s growing up, and showing little bursts of responsibility.
He makes his own egg sandwiches almost every morning, dipping them in Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce.
He still has plenty to say, but he’s showing the need for quiet and keeping some things to himself.
He likes spicy food, the hotter the better.
He wears his Tony Hawk hoodie as much as possible.
He makes his own lunch, but I often check it, because if I don’t, he packs two things and thinks that’s enough for the day.
He still doesn’t seem fazed by the status quo of his peers, doing and liking his own things. And I look at him, and wish I had learned that by the time I was 11.
He loves to play the trumpet, asking permission as often as he can to go practice.
He has big dreams, and sees no reason as to why they won’t happen. I hope he never loses that.
He loves to do extra jobs- not (only) for the joy of working, but for the increase in his savings account. He’s like his father when it comes to saving- and oh, am I glad.
He reads. (Will that ever change?) Reads as if it is his occupation. Favorite books right now? History. Books by Alex Ryder. Louis L’Amour. Franklin W. Dixon. And then some more history, random occurrences that I know nothing about. Like the sinking of the Bismarck. The Flu Pandemic of 1918. The Blizzard of 1888 in New York City. And I say, “Mm-hmm.” Because I haven’t a clue. I think he reads to learn, to quell some sort of voracious appetite to know. And I read to relax, to vacate. We are very different in that way.
We have a family friend who does a ‘rotating library’ with him. Her boys are grown, and she has loads of their old books. Every few weeks, she brings a couple shoe boxes full, and picks up the ones he finished from her last delivery. I love that she does this. Because he loves her for it, and feels a connection to someone who has been important in my life. And she loves it because it makes him happy.
He likes to stand and watch Paul in the kitchen, and asks to help. He admires his father, likes to help him chop wood, and go alone on errands with him.
He makes brownies. And when I was sick over the past few days, he came in our room where I was sleeping and asked if I felt up to a brownie sundae. He held a big bowl, the contents hot out of the oven, with melting vanilla ice cream. And though my stomach rebelled a bit, I couldn’t say no.
He’s working on not getting easily frustrated by his sister. He’s getting there. I think.
He has a lot of admiration for his grandparents. He has 8 of them, 4 grands, 4 greats. He’s a fortunate young man. He’ll often quote his Grandpa, sometimes to prove a point in an argument with his siblings. It’s infuriating and funny all at once.
Sometimes I am befuddled, and a little scared. He does things that frustrate us, maybe normal boyhood antics- and I feel like we’ve failed. Like I’ve failed. Like I’m too young to know how to parent an eleven year old. And I wish I had patience like Paul, and didn’t say things I regret. Didn’t make so many mistakes. But then there are bursts of clarity, like brownie sundaes- that show me he cares, that he’s not always thinking of himself. And that maybe it’s normal for a parent to be scared here and there?
He has been including Connor more lately. They still share a room, and their opposing views on neatness sometimes become an issue.
He wears his DC hat daily, brim turned to the side just a little bit. It’s on his head, whether it’s cold outside or not. I tease him, as I straighten the brim, muss up his hair and tell him he’s a goober. He smiles, turning the brim back again, and he thinks he’s funny and pretty cool. Sometimes he does notice the status quo, after all.
I’m sitting here and realize that there are so many things I could write, could say about this boy. But that’s another thing. The older he gets, the less I want to say about him here. He’s growing up in a different world than I did, an age of information and lack of privacy, an age of online exposure. I often find myself asking him if it’s okay to post certain things. If there’s one thing I know about him, he appreciates not being embarrassed. So I want to respect that.
I love all of it. Maybe even the hard parts. The parts that stretch us, and teach us and bring us to our knees. The parts that show us how very little we know. The happy parts that make us smile and our eyes well with tears. This stage, all the ones he’s been through. And that? I learned from my mother. She always said she tried to enjoy every stage, but that the teenage years were the best. People laugh at her for that, unable to imagine enjoying the stage of 5 teenage girls. But I can see why she says it. It was a conscious choice on her part, to savor it. It was her outlook that made the difference. Enjoy every stage. She’s a wise woman. And when she says to enjoy every stage, well, I’m gonna’ listen.