When my son was a baby people would come up to me in stores or in restaurants, bend down to look into my son's seemingly innocent blue eyes, gaze at his big blonde curls and say, "Oh, I miss this stage!" And I would smile sweetly and think to myself, "They must not remember what it's really like."
I like babies but I'm not a "baby person." I also learned during the mom's group that I attended during his infancy that, compared to his peers, mine was not an "easy baby."
"He's spirited!" The maternity nurse said as my son screamed like a banshee in her arms. "He's out spoken!" His daycare provider explained. My all time favorite quote was from one of his preschool teachers who told me, "He lacks a certain subtly of emotion." And yet he really was cute, and very smart and, when he wasn't screaming like a banshee, very charming which made me wonder, would I too miss this stage when he outgrew it?
My son just turned 12 on Tuesday and I think I have my answer: No.
For one thing he's still cute smart and charming but the screaming-like-a-banshee-thing didn't stand the test of time. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't have fond memories and those baby/toddler years provided me with tons of wonderful stories but still, I don't miss those years. The fact is I really, really like who he is now. Yes, I know he's an adolescent and that this can also be a challenging stage. He reenforces that point whenever I try to take him clothes shopping (for those of you who have younger boys, be forewarned; once your child hits the double digits he will no longer indulge you while you window shop at the mall).
But although he certainly has moments of "hating me" so far those moments don't last any longer than they did when he was younger and they haven't increased in frequency. He shows no sign of being embarrassed by me at all. If anything he seems rather proud to call me mom. As for being less affectionate...well this morning he came into my room to give me a hug because he thought a hug would be a good way for me to start my day so that's a bridge I don't have to cross yet.
And is (and continues to develop into) a really cool individual. So many of his observations about society and our world are not only spot on but are incredibly insightful.
And he hasn't lost his sense of wonder at all despite the fact that he once worried that he would.
See, shortly after his fourth birthday I took him to a Natural History museum (one of his favorite things to do). He had a great time but once we left he got very quiet, then teary. Finally he told me what had him upset. "What if, when I get older, I forget how wonderful dinosaurs are. What if I just don't feel it anymore?"
It was such an odd and moving question (coming from a four year old) that it actually took me aback. "That might not happen," I said. "Maybe you'll always love dinosaurs. Who knows? Maybe you'll become a paleontologist."
And I'll never forget the little smile that took form on his lips as he considered this. For about six years he insisted that yes, he would be a paleontologist. Now he's not so sure but he is still impressed with dinosaurs. He still finds new new scientific studies, paleontological and archeological finds awe inspiring. He is interested and...and awake enough to understand how fascinating our world is. The fact that he's been able to maintain that while maturing and becoming more independent...well it just thrills me.
So as much as I loved who he was I don't pine for those years. I'm too excited about the now and next. What career will he choose? What college will he want to go to? How will he handle himself in high school? Will he still want to be part of his school's DC trip next year?
Will he give me a hug tomorrow morning?
So many possibilities...
Bestselling Author of:
The Sophie Katz Mystery Series
So Much For My Happy Ending
order the latest release, Vows, Vendettas & A Little Black Dress today!