Parenting/Life

The Beginning of the Teenage Years

This past month, the boy turned 13. He’s officially now a teenager. And so begins the teenage years.

As parents, we’ve all read and heard about the dreaded teenage years….the moodiness, puberty, the eye rolls. It’s not like I haven’t seen a bit of this already but I am sure the best is yet to come.

Gone are the days where Mom was cool and he wanted my attention 24/7. Now his days are filled with online gaming with his friends and meet ups at the park. But some days, maybe if I am lucky, he might want his good ole Mom at the end of the day to talk about his day and everything and anything that is on his mind.

These are the moments that I no longer take for granted. We all remember those days when they were little and wanted to change our name to anything but Mom, as we heard it 34968372 a day. So now when I hear him call for me, I make sure I take advantage of the time and conversation.

It’s not like I woke up on his 13th birthday and suddenly everything was different. The past year there have been subtle changes. He had a growth spurt and is now taller than myself and his Nana and he doesn’t let anyone forget it. His voice has about a 3 octave range these days. One moment it’s his sweet little voice and a moment later it’s a man’s voice coming out of him. He now has one of those appetites that make me wondering if I need a second job to support his hunger. Puberty is a crazy thing.

And so far, it actually isn’t all that bad. He likes his independence. We can both be in the house together but we can both kind of do our own thing. He doesn’t need my undivided attention all day. We are able to have conversations about things that actually hold my interest. I know that sounds terrible, but I can only appear engaged in a conversation about Pokemon or Lego for so long. (Am I right?) Although, I still get the odd never ending stories about his video game achievements.

I know there will come a time where it won’t be all sunshine and rainbows. We will butt heads, just like I did with my own parents sometimes. I won’t understand why he does what he does and he won’t understand why I don’t understand. This is just a given. But regardless, I will always instill a rule that I have had since day 1 – we never go to bed angry at each other. We may agree to disagree, and may need a late night conversation to reach that point, but never angry. Some people may think this is wishful thinking but I will try with all my might.

My parents always gave me the respect to make responsible decisions and I will do the same. We both know that if he gets into a situation that he needs to get out of, he can text me or call me and I will come and get him, no questions asked without fear of punishment. I know I wasn’t the perfect teenager (right Mom?) but I knew the difference between right and really wrong and made sure it stayed that way. It’s quite a different world now and a lot more right’s and wrongs. I can only hope he knows the same.

It’s hard sometimes to think about him being a teenager. He’s not my baby anymore, he doesn’t need me like he used to. In 3 years, he’ll be old enough the drive. In 5 years, he’ll be graduating high school, an official “adult” and starting his post secondary life, whatever that may be.

There is a quote by Gretchen Rubin that says “The days are long the but the years are short.” And I could not agree more. So I will appreciate the days and hold on to the years as much as I can. He’s not a baby anymore.