This is me enjoying one of those bittersweet cuddle moments with my boys that I never want to forget. They are letting go and I am letting them let go, because I know they need to.
The other day when I picked up my ten-year-old son from the school bus stop, he looked preoccupied.
“There’s something I wanted to tell you, but I can’t because I promised my friend,” he said. I asked him a few questions about whether he was in trouble, the friend was in trouble, or it was something I really should know, but beyond a few vague reassurances, he clearly wasn’t going to tell me more.
I felt conflicted: proud of him for keeping his word, but sad that he is reaching the age where his relationship with his friends is growing more central than his relationship with his parents.
I remember being a teenager with three younger brothers and feeling like my inner thoughts were the only privacy I had sometimes. I used to look out the car window and daydream and feel smug that no one else knew what kinds of things I was thinking about. Most of the thoughts were about hopes and dreams, things I wanted to accomplish, stuff about my friends, and of course, boys I thought were cute. I didn’t spend too much time thinking about my family during those years. Maybe you could say it’s a good thing I was able to take them for granted in that ways.
As my sons get older, our periods of quiet time have grown longer. They used to tell me a lot more in a lot more detail, but now, other than when they feel talkative or sometimes really down about something, most of our conversation is like “How was your day?” “Good.”
Parents with older kids have told me to enjoy all the hugs and cuddling and hand holding and talking that my kids want to share with me now. As we all get swept up in everyday life, I try to stop and remember to hug my boys.
I’m happy they’re growing up. And sad. You know what I mean. Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers whose hearts are bursting and breaking all at the same time.