By the end of this week, the Carpenter and I will officially be the parents of two teenagers.
The thought is inconceivable. Before the panic sets in, I realize this evens the playing field in our house now: two real teenagers and two adult parents who believe they still are teenagers.
I don’t know what is more remarkable really, the fact that the Carpenter and I have survived thus far, despite having no idea how to be parents, or the fact that both our children survived thus far, despite having us for parents. Now we enter the real test: adolescence.
Teen number two is the boy child, the baby as it were, who entered the world with quiet confidence that seems to have settled into his character quite nicely. I consider him my comedic genius. He is quick witted and spontaneous, the musician, team player and video game slayer. He has a logical brain and a goofy disposition. Pragmatic yet lazy, frustrating yet compassionate. He is wise beyond his years; an old soul. Up for anything, my son is the best co-pilot on any adventure, a focused problem solver with a curious heart; truly one of my favourite human beings.
This birthday will bring him one step closer to manhood, to stripped vocal chords, moody door-slamming moments and quirky bouts of awkwardness if we’re seen together in public. I’m supposed to be okay with that, because it is part of the process. I’m not, but whatever.
Since the moment I laid eyes on him, he has stretched my heart to capacity and will now use it like a bungee chord at his own discretion. That’s the relationship between mothers and sons. There is nothing quite like it. It’s adrenaline and fury, laughter and anxiety. Pure adoration.
Recently, I was looking for photo for a work project when I came across an image of the children and I. My son was two years old, my daughter four, and I’m not telling you how young I was, because the point is, I looked at that photo and wondered where we were, what we were doing, and I couldn’t recall any of the details.
Much of my son’s infancy is a blur. I was so busy chasing his toddler sister and I wonder now how much I paid attention to him when he was often strapped into a high chair watching the house unravel before him. How much of my time was devoted to him alone? My son learned early on to roll with things, rather than fuss about them. His patience is a virtue.
I know this photo of his two-year-old hazel eyes and chubby cheeks, with flaxen hair and often a silly expression should have made me long for the past, for that sweet little face of my baby boy, but the truth is, I wouldn’t go back in time. Not for a second. I would rather be here now, witnessing him on the cusp of figuring out the kind of person he wants to be, and just as important, what kind of person he does not want to be. It is amazing to watch him navigate his path. Quiet confidence. Patience. Old soul. Moving on.
Happy birthday, comedic genius. May you laugh often and buy your own groceries soon.