Ode to an Almost Teenager

2019 is the year that I start parenting a bonafide teenager. My oldest will be thirteen in July and the passage of time is becoming so real to me. His turning thirteen feels like more of a landmark for me than my 40th birthday coming up in about two and a half years.

I became pregnant with him when I had just turned twenty-four; I actually found out I was pregnant only three days after my birthday. It wasn’t even remotely planned and I was terrified. I weighed all my options about the decision to continue with the pregnancy and to bring a baby into this world. I ultimately decided to go for it. If I truly think about it, I can’t even really say why. I am not someone who aspired to have children. I wasn’t opposed to it, but I never gave it great thought. I am an only child. I never baby-sat, I wasn’t around babies or kids pretty much ever. Something in my heart just decided that I wanted to go for it. I don’t want it to seem that I made the choice lightly, because I didn’t. His dad and I (who I ended up marrying and we then later divorced) had a really tumultuous relationship, I was still in college, working retail, I could go on and on for the reasons it didn’t look like a good idea on paper. I am vehemently pro-choice so deciding to continue with my pregnancy wasn’t a moral or religious issue for me. I just decided to go for it. So I did.

Motherhood hit me fast and hard. I really was winging it in the beginning. I had no experience with kids like I said, so some of my trials were downright comical at best, and left me in bewildered tears at worst. The day he was born, though, something unlocked inside of me that has never been closed up again. I have never been a cold or unfeeling person at all. If anything being empathetic has gotten me in trouble too many times to count. He brought with him a softness and a joy that I had not felt before, though. I have always been a restless sort of person but this tiny little baby gave a calmness to my spirit and I would remain changed forever.

He and I have been on such an incredible journey together. For the longest time it was just the two of us since his dad and I divorced when he was three years old. He was my little buddy, my most trusted sidekick. We are now at a point where my husband has been in his life for more than half of it. He now has two tiny baby brothers that look at him like he hung the sun, moon, and stars just for them. I am so grateful that we have them in our lives now and I am even more grateful that he finds such great happiness in being the elder statesmen of the boys, as I like to call him. That he adores and admires and loves his stepfather so much, and they have a deep and phenomenal bond.

He is more like me than any other person I have ever known. I grew up without a big family and I don’t know my father and his family at all. I don’t have words to share how much wonder I have found in seeing a person I helped create that nature has deemed fit to have so much of my soul. We think so much the same, we react to things the same, we have so many of the same sorts of interests. We even share the common bond of anxiety and even though I truly wish I had not passed that onto him, I am glad that because I am who I am, I can help him navigate it.

I’m sure as this year and the coming years unfold, there will be challenges and many things that we have to navigate. He will be going through so many changes and even though I know it will seem impossible for him to imagine, I was a teenager once too and I remember how frightening it could be. I hope he maintains his sweet nature, his sense of family camaraderie, his artistic identity, and most of all his incredibly gentle heart. Come what may, whatever it is, I want him to always know that he and I have this as long as we have each other.

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