Being a mother of boys is a tricky situation. First they make you fall head over heels in love with them and then they pull away. They grow so fast they can almost look you in the eye and forget to hug and kiss you before they leave for school in the morning. All the while, you feel like you have whiplash because you swear two seconds ago they were holding your face in their chubby little hands promising to be best friends forever.
They try to push you away. That’s what they’re supposed to do at this age. It would be weird if your 11-year-old boy wanted to sit on your lap and cuddle, right? One side of your brain knows this logically, while the other half desperately wants to smother him with kisses and be crushed by his weight on your lap.
It seems like yesterday you were watching him ride his two-wheeler for the first time all dressed up in his favorite Batman costume. Today? He’s embarrassed to be with you at the zoo. Hanging out in his room playing Minecraft or playing Black Ops with his Dad are his favorite things. You are no longer at the top of this list. It hurts. Badly. You want to be his favorite. You want that connection. It feels as though it’s gone and you’ll never get it back.
But then you remind yourself to look closely. That connection is still there. You know it deep in your heart that his promise of being best friends forever still holds true. He asks you to play basketball after dinner. Just you. He legitimately beats you by 5 points and you marvel at how tall, how grown up, how mature he has become. He asks if you want to watch a movie after the other two are in bed. You share a pillow and watch Will Ferrell make you both belly laugh. While you’re making dinner, he casually walks in and asks if he can help. You offer peeling carrots because you know that’s his favorite job. At night, he still wants you to tuck him in, even if nowadays that just means a kiss on the forehead and a slight hug. Sometimes, after it’s dark and quiet, he’ll come to you with a problem or a worry. That beautiful little angel boy who was at your hip every second for so many years is still there. You just have to look a little harder.
Sometimes I wonder whether or not he’ll go through the “I hate my Mom” phase. Sometimes I feel very left out in the world of boys. Sometimes I worry that I’m just the meal-maker, the clothes-washer, the did-you-do-your-homework lady. But when I really stop and think and look at our little life, I see that he loves me. And he always will.