Sunday, November 07, 2004

OMG - It's a Teenager!

We just got back in town from a wedding. What a wonderful trip! I'll post about it later, but I'd like to tell you about another milestone our family hit today. At 6:47pm, #1 Son became a teenager. Yup, my oldest baby turned 13. I have mixed emotions about this. On the one hand I am so excited!! Each stage of his growth is wonderful. It's amazing to see him grow into this really cool young man that I am so proud of. Conversely, I am suffering a bit of melancholy. This is my first child, my baby boy. How in the world can he be a teenager already?!? I'd like to tell you a little bit about him.

#1 Son has always been not only my child, but my buddy. We lived through the last years of my trainwreck of a marriage to his father. He was only 4 when his father and I split. His sister was only a year. She, of course, doesn't remember being with her father at all. Unfortunately #1 Son remembers. He remembers the knock down drag out screaming matches. He remembers his father's temper. He also remembers being the "man of the house" after his Dad left. This really ticked me off, because I have always felt that it is too much responsibility to put on such a young boy, but that's what his father in his "infinite wisdom" said to him. I didn't find out until later. It made sense when I would lay in bed crying in the middle of the night and this dear sweet child would come and get in bed with me to rub my back and tell me everything would be alright. He's been strong and protective of his Mama ever since.

Boys have quite a bond with their mothers and #1 is no different. I revel in it. Son and I share many interests. One is history, so you can imagine how much I love his curiosity about my chosen profession. He also loves space and the Apollo/Space Race era. This is something he definitely got from me. I'm a space nut. There are always places I want to take the kids and we talk about it. One was the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. We made that trip during the summer of 2001. It was FABULOUS walking around there with #1. We hope to see the Johnson Space Center in Houston sometime soon. The Grand Canyon is high on the list, as well. Imagine my delight when he told me earlier this year that there are a couple of places HE wants to take ME after college when he can afford it. He told me he'd love to take me to Hawaii to see the volcanos (another interest of ours). He's also talked about taking me to Europe and the Panama Canal. He is the sweetest, most caring boy I've ever met.

I love him because he has so much empathy. He truly cares about people. Every teacher he has had since Pre-K has waxed poetic to me about how empathetic this kid is. He's kind to teachers and other students alike. He's not a bully, though he's getting big enough to be one. He cares about the outcasts as well. He is super popular at school, specifically among the girls. He and his friend count the number of hugs they get per day. His friends know they can count on him.

#1 Son has not found his "thing" yet. He's not real athletic yet, which I attribute to his rapid growth. At 12...uh 13 now *sob*...he's about 5'10" and wears a men's size 11 1/2 shoe. It's hard to be coordinated when you are growing so fast. Lord help them all when he finally fills out. This past year he played volleyball for his middle school team. Out of 10 or 12 6th graders who tried out, only 3 stuck it out and made the team. #1 was one of them. What I thought was so wonderful was how dedicated he was to the team. He never missed a practice or a match. There were several matches where he never left the bench. But you know what? He was the kid cheering the loudest and pumping up his team when they got down. In fact, he was made the player of the game in a match where he sat the bench the whole time because of his support and spirit, while other older star players were arguing on the court and placing blame on other team members. I was more proud of him for that than if he was a jerk star who hit the winning spike.

#1 Son has a brilliant mind. He passed the 6th grade with B's and C's and yet he never opened a book. NEVER. We've remedied that this year by cracking down on his study habits. If he doesn't form them now, he'll never develop them. He LOVES the new system and his grades are phenomenal. This child is smart, and there is no doubt in my mind that he will be successful in any field that interests him.

#1 has so many other fantastic qualities. He has a phenomenal sense of humor. Laughing and joking with him is one of my favorite things. What's even more amazing is that he can laugh at himself. That skill will take him far in life. My son is spiritual. He loves God and enjoys learning about Him and discussing Him. He always wants to know more. We have an amazing relationship where we can talk about just about anything. And I REALLY enjoy our conversations. Sometimes I have to remind myself how young he really is. We have this small role reversal we go through. #1 is VERY into my school work and my grades. He checks them all. Let me get a 98 on an exam and he wants to know what happened with the other 2 points. We laugh about stuff like that a lot. He loves to read and has recently discovered some of the classics. "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," "War of the Worlds," and some Edgar Allen Poe stories have enthralled him. Yes, he plays the requisite computer games and Play Station, all of which he is very good at, but the reading of classics is somethingthat is new and I think is really neat.

#1 Son is close to all members of the family. And with the divorce, remarriage and my status as a reunited adoptee, #1 has TONS of grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, etc. He loves each and every one of them dearly. He even loves his sister, though he'd never admit that to her face. They love playing together and are two of the closest siblings I know - when they're not fighting. Sometimes when things get crazy he will remind me of someone's birthday or to call someone else that I had forgotten about in my overwhelmed state. #1 loves to spend time with me and he expecially loves learning to cook, so he doesn't starve in college. It is one of our favorite activities together.

I could go on for an entire book about how wonderful #1 Son is, but I think there is one thing that really gets me. Due to circumstances beyond his control, #1 will have to face some really heavy things in the future. It may be ridicule or outright hatred and prejudice. But he's prepared for that. He is smart and will face things as they come. There's no doubt in my mind that he will overcome anything and continue to grow into an even more incredible guy than he already is. He turns to me when he needs to, but he doesn't need my protection. Someday maybe I'll be able to realize that and let him go to face the world, confident that he's going to be fine. But I've got time. No matter how old he gets, he's still my first baby.

Happy Birthday Bubby. I love you.


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Name: Cattiva
Location: Virginia, United States

About Me: I'm the mom of three: #1 Son (20), The Princess of Wails (17) and their baby brother - The Baby (6). I was a grad-student working on an MA in history until we were surprised - I mean blessed - with The Baby. I'll get back to it...someday (the thesis, not the kid - I have no choice concerning the kid). I am one of only a few people I went to school with who is actually using their history degree in my career (and to think my Father called it Basket-weaving!). I live a very hectic life amongst massive clutter. I call it a good day if we have managed to get home at night without losing one of the kids (no matter how hard I try!). Friends say I have a humorous take on life's happenings. The sad part is that what I write about is true. I laugh to keep from crying.

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