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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Middle.................

I have gotten a great "shake of the shoulders" recently. Suddenly, without warning, I look up and my sweet baby boy is fourteen years old. I know, I know, you are a parent and you are shaking your head that you understand.  But no, you don't.  I have spent his life protecting him....and not in the ways I ever imagined.  I have two sons, so I know a bit about what's "typical" and what's not....I don't have a typical relationship with my oldest child.  To quote a very wise woman who once asked me, "How does it feel to be his Dragon Slayer?"  It feels wonderful. It feels daunting.

To start, he was my only child until he was six and half years old. We made quite a pair!  An overly anxious Mother, who never saw herself as a Mother because I had so much Mom baggage I could fill the underbelly of an aircraft!  God didn't see it that way, he paired us up and off we went...growing together. My husband traveled at the time so it was just the two of  us most of the time.  I didn't do so well, right off the bat...some wicked post-partum and a baby who never stopped crying...we had a tough start. Isn't it funny how those skills (or are they feelings) are inside that you never knew you had?  Despite my inadequacies, I still knew him. It surprised me that I had real Mommy radar! I was afraid I wouldn't. I was afraid of so much.  I was, in fact, more than capable of being his Mom, I later learned. We connected in a way that words couldn't describe. It seemed whatever he needed, he would just look me right in the eyes..no words, just a solid look, "Mom, have you got me?"  Words it turns out were a problem for him as time went on... He didn't talk.  He just didn't. A flash of memory...standing in an elevator in the Bill Wilkerson Center at Vanderbilt..those big blue eyes just staring at me as I cried. I remember thinking, WOW. I could really use an adult right now. I felt so small and ill equipped.  Somehow, we made it together. We survived those Speech visits and testing and testing and more testing. Something was............off....Something was "wrong."   And so began my see-saw thoughts.....Words that I had always used so easily now seemed like enemies...Different, typical, wrong.  Even today, who's story is this to tell...Mine?  His?   I wrestle with that.

I've come to the conclusion that there is absolutely nothing "wrong" with him any more than there is something "wrong" with everyone.  Er'body got something.  Lately, he's been acting very, very typical which brings me great joy and an ache I can't adequately describe.   A shift, a change and off we go again. My grip of protection is getting smaller by the day.  Yesterday, a Beautiful Fall Day...I drove along the back roads of Franklin just listening to him...with this gigantic lump in my throat...He's changing again...taller...different.  He texts people, they text him, he rides a dirt bike! (be still my heart) and although he doesn't tell me things as easily as he once did, he still tells me (for that I am so grateful) and it is still Mom who he comes to when he wants the facts. He worries about his hair, his clothes..This is all new. Now he has that  middle-school "secret" life. Do you remember being 14?  I remember... my first boyfriend, listening to music, daydreaming and having conversations with friends that were so cool my own Mom couldn't possibly understand.   He is at once a  little boy and a young man. 

This morning, years later, that same look..."Mom, have you got me?" 

So maybe you do understand after all...maybe if you are a Mom I misjudged you...maybe these are very, very....typical....feelings of Moms everywhere!

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