Moving forward

Last night I cried because my boy is growing up. There are signs, you know. Things that he wouldn’t appreciate me talking about, so I won’t. But last night the signs caught me unawares. I was shocked. I was thrilled. I laughed and teased and chortled, and then he went to bed and I cried.

I was surprised at myself. I stood on the hearth, wiping my eyes, lips wobbling, telling Mr. Handsome my observations and trying to explain why I was crying. “You can laugh at me, if you want,” I sniffled. “I know this is perfectly ridiculous.”

He didn’t laugh, but he did smile. And then he was quiet, too. Thinking, I guess.

I’m not sure why this new phase of life, this of my first child entering puberty, has turned me into such an emotional basket case. I cried twice yesterday and a couple times today. (And no, I’m not hormonal either. At least not any more than normal.)

I look forward to my kids growing up. Potty-trained, yes! Weaned, yes! Talking, yes! Riding a bike, yes! Reading, yes! Going to camp, yes! I am not inclined to feelings of melancholy. I’m not particularly good at living in the present (I get ants in my pants), but I’m not one to dwell on the past. I live hard and I move forward. I’m always ready to move forward.

Except for now. Now I’m hesitating, unsure. Yes, yes, of course I want my boy to grow into a man. Of course I want my boy to leave home and strike out on his own. Of course, of course, of course.

Then why this profound sadness? I wasn’t prepared to feel this way.

It feels like I’m standing on top of a mountain and it’s downhill wherever I look. Life has been so full to bursting with diapers and dirty dishes, time-outs and arguments, read alouds and snacks, projects and plans—and suddenly, shatteringly, I see that this won’t last forever.

I’m losing my grip on my boy. He’s becoming a man. He’s going to leave me. And I will, slowly but surely, get old and die.

Good grief. All this because my son is hitting puberty.

Once I wrap my head around having a manchild in the house, I’ll probably feel better. The truth is, I’m thrilled.

The truth also is, I’m sad.

This same time, years previous: peanut noodles, on not wanting


  • Jan @ Family Bites

    I so get it. When my boy turned ten last April, I stood at the kitchen counter and iced his birthday cake through my tears. I was so, so sad. But I'm over it now, and have to say that I love (LOVE) these little tween years. He's so interesting now, and such a joy to just talk to and although I'm sad he's growing, I don't want to go back to when he was a baby.

  • Anonymous

    This strikes a chord with me as my "boy" just turned 15. I remember exactly how you are feeling when he announced at 13 he needed to start shaving and my husband and he went off into the bathroom for a formal lesson…..He's taller than me, with a beautiful baritone voice but….he still needs his Mama. Our talks now center on instilling character traits for a Godly man and he still hugs his Mama… I'm letting you know its going to be okay. RJ

  • Kris

    Ain't puberty wonderful? My eldest has been sprouting hair in new places and growing chest bumps, along with the smelly armpits and oily hair. It's funny to hear her express some dismay at this becoming-woman-body, and fun to be talking easily with her about it all.

  • Margo

    oh sighhhhh.
    Yes, sometimes I get glimpses of this. So glad you are there ahead of me and writing about it. I need to remember the days are long, the years are short.

    My, your boy is good looking. Gonna be a heartbreaker 🙂

  • Barb

    My "baby boy" turns 30 (!!!) next month, and stands 6'4". I never get tired of looking way up at him (I'm 5'4").

    Enjoy every milestone…our guys make us so proud!!


  • Anonymous

    If you think things look all downhill now…

    Tomorrow MY baby turns twenty-seven.

    And I once heard a ninety-year-old talk about her baby—who was seventy.

  • The Renwicks

    It seems we have had the same reality check this week.Ive just posted on it two days ago. My eldest (still a tiny two and a half) started school this week. Just nursery, just two mornings a week. But the PAIN, the tearing in my heart at what is to come has been unbearbale! I just lip wobbled through your post – blinked tears frantically away to be able to desciper the text. I know how its going to feel. How it already feels! I cant think as far away as puberty. But we're here, all feeling it with you! I hope thats of some comfort 🙂

  • Megan@SortaCrunchy

    Okay, YES. He is HANDSOME!

    And yes, this makes me want to bawl, too. I always feel that way when each of the girls has a birthday (Dacey's 6th is next week). But I cannot imagine the shock to the system that puberty will be.

    Thank you for the reality check.

  • Zoë

    Oh my goodness! You made me cry. And Jada is only 3. As much as I say I hate this poopy diaper/toys everywhere stage, I'm going to be just like you in about 10 years. Maybe worse. I already sometimes get a little misty eyed over the fact that Jada no longer says, "e-oont e-oont" (oatmeal) and "Wassat?" (what's that?)! Ya well, can't hold on forever! You will do a fine job of lettin' him grow up. You're good like that.

  • You Can Call Me Jane

    Oh, dear girl…you're going to come through this swimmingly. Just please keep writing about it so I know what's in store for me in a few years:-).

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