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Teen interrupted

“Mommy, there’s a problem,” My newly minted 12 year-old says, plopping down on the other side of the couch, interrupting a rare moment of quiet where I am actually relaxing with a book.

This better be good.

I look up at his greasy hair, clothes dirty from a day at basketball camp and face still unnaturally sheened by sweat and sun block. “ls it that you desperately need a shower?”

“Silly Mommy,” he says, flashing me his goofy grin. “No. It’s that I’m bored.”

Well stop the presses.

“Should I mention the shower again?” I ask.

“Later.” He says, and absently starts twisting the top of his hair in his fingers.

Oh. My baby is tired. The simple gesture says so, immediately tugging at my heart and taking me back at least a decade. I see him in his crib putting himself to bed, his fingers twirled in his hair. I see him at nursery when I sneak peeks through the door before pick-up, drowsy on the camp bus after a long day, at the breakfast table the morning after a late night, in bed before sleep. I see him a thousand times, his eyes a little heavy, his fingers going round and round.

A dozen times over the years I told him to stop because he was making knots in his hair. He never listened, but then he did, just by growing up I guess. I almost forgot this little signal that had me nodding and knowing that it was bedtime. God, it’s sweet.

I smile, so happy for this intrusion to my moment alone to have this moment with him. My husband and middle son are off at his baseball game. Tonight I have elected to skip the 8:30pm game, yes that’s 8:30pm for a 9 year-old, and stay home with the other boys who have been out almost every night this week. It’s not often these days that we have this quiet. It’s always race race race.

“So how was camp?” I try, although I already asked this question earlier and received the standard blank stare, followed by the standard “fine,” which seemed an effort to extract.  But now he starts talking, telling me about his day, his birthday, his last baseball game; twirling all the while.

I eat it all up and then say, “You’re tired, baby.”

“There’s a problem,” He continues and lifts his feet up so they rest on my legs. “I need a snack.”

Even through his socks I can smell them. “Oh, there is definitely a problem here.” I agree and push them off. “Come on, go shower.” I gently order and he slowly gets up to go but stops, bends down and rests his head on me for a hug. A warm, greasy, stinky hug.

I watch his hulking, itching to grow pre-teen body go. He’s so far from that little boy in the crib, but there’s still some baby left in there. And just like with all the milestones, this leap to teenager is bittersweet. I love watching him grow physically, mentally and socially, but of course with every step he takes and every inch he grows, I lose another piece of my baby.

I hear the shower go on upstairs. Afterwards, he will wash up and then retreat to his room either to read or play on his phone. He’s disappearing more and more these days, with friends, school, sports, life…

Putting my book aside, I get up as well to slice him an apple, cutting off the skins just like he likes it.

It’s not a problem.

Don't get too close

Don’t get too close

About Ice Scream Mama

Mama to 3 boys, wife to Mr. Baseball and daughter of a sad man. I have a double scoop every day.

34 responses »

  1. They grow up so fast. I still see some of those unconscious habits that remind me of my son when he was young and he’s in his 30’s now. It makes me smile and reminds me of how lucky I am.

  2. I know exactly what you mean. I remember when my son was young I would try to picture how he’d look when he was older. Silly me.

    Now that he’s 21 I long for the days when he was an infant, toddler and teen. He decided to commute to college (something we never thought he’d end up doing – but it’s all GREAT) and I feel I have 4 extra years with him.

    Still, you have to learn how not to be the same mother you were when he was younger. I’ll take whatever grunt answers I get. Because there are also moments when he wants to chat, and to me those moments are golden.

    Ah, life moving on is sometimes difficult. For now I’ll enjoy having him here. So again, I hear ya, Alisa!!!

  3. Oh that made me teary.
    I agree with you though, my son’s are 33 and 35 and I still happily cut the skin off of their apples.

  4. Aww…so sweet. Andrew is 21 and usually two hours away at college – yes even in the summer months. When we do get a rare few days with him at home I tend to go back into mommy mode. He reminds me discreetly by not bringing home his laundry that he has indeed grown up!

  5. Before I forget...

    That was lovely!

  6. Aaaaa, lovely. I tell my baby now, let me get as much hugs and kisses as I can get before its embarrassing to him as a teen…lol..

  7. oh this made me all teary. so so so sweet. i love how you reflect back to all the times you could see him twirling his hair. i felt so connected- like i was in the room with you. why do they have to grow?? i know they have to and it’s great and all but man, it’s the hardest.

  8. NotAPunkRocker

    It’s those little “tells” that show us the real picture, right? This made me smile, thinking of my own kidlet now 🙂

  9. menopausalmother

    Awwwwww….this is so sweet! I have two older sons—-you just bought it all back to me from when they were young. I miss that. Hugs!

  10. Thanks for the smile.

  11. So sweet, such a beautiful way of putting it. I felt it too. My eldest if 4 but I feel your heart – the pride of watching them grow and the bitter sweetness of them getting older. I hope to always see the babies in mine too. Why do they grow up!?

  12. Oh this one’s good. I bet every parent reading it remembers their own child’s indication of “tired”. I love it! You are SO good!!

  13. Beautiful, and easy to relate to these days!

  14. I really think we are going to have to start a support group!!!!! This was so sweet! Why does it have to go so fast!!!!!! xoxo

  15. ❤️❤️❤️

  16. your kids have gorgeous hair. as do you!

  17. This is so lovely. What a cutie 🙂


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