Monday, March 11, 2019

On Raising a Soon To Be Teenage Boy

I was listening to my favorite radio station as I was driving to work this morning and there was this caller with a deep nice voice. I learned seconds later that he is only 12 years old. He's the same age as my son. That boy is going through puberity. His voice says it all. Listening to this boy talking with the radio hosts brought a quick flashback of two conversations that we had during our family dinner the night before.

At the dinner table, my youngest one asked her big brother about his height and she wondered how tall her brother would be when he is an adult. Then our conversation swift from height to the change of voice in puberty. My son told us about how some of his friends' voices have changed. They have developed the deep heavy voice that is no longer little boys' voice. My son's voice has not changed a bit. The only visible signs that I can see in him is his hair and face are a little bit oily.

Later on that night, right before bedtime, he was trying on his new black dress shoes that we purchased earlier that day. He needs these shoes for his upcoming jazz and band festivals (competition) for his school. He had black pants and a white button-down shirt to complete his look. "Wow, I look really tall on these shoes." He made a comment about himself as he was looking at the mirror. He is already 5 cm taller than his 165 cm tall mom. The shoes we got him adds another 2 cm on his height. I stood next to him, he was towering over me. I saw the obvious difference in our height. Then it hit me, just like that. Tears rolling down my face. He caught me wiping it off.

I am raising a soon to be teenage boy. When he was a small child, he found spending time with me, going places with me, talking to me, being hugged and kissed by me were all pleasurable things to do. The closeness between us felt so right. It was like a continuation of the founding attachment to the nurturing parent who bore and gave him birth. For the first couple of years of his life, I was the center of his universe, but this enjoyment of special closeness starts to change. It changes with the separation,oppositions, and  differentiation of adolescence that drive him toward independence particularly with the onset of puberty.


I've seen this growing up between my mom and my little brother; growing up requires giving up for both my mother and my brother. I know the case will be the same with me and my son. Each of us must let something precious go. I am most likely be the one who feels the sacrifice more because at least, my adolescent son will have the excitement and satisfaction of growing older to look forward to.  I am going to be the one who mourns the years of easy attachment that have been lost. I will never have my son as a little boy anymore.

The past couple of months have been quite interesting for me as a mother. We've had 'more than usual' arguments. He is more opposition to me, arguing with me. I know this is part of growing up. He is now more willing to take on my authority. He has started to criticize my decisions and questions my capacity to understand who and how he is becoming. He creates more contrast to me by having interests that show me that he has less in common with me than before. For instance, he takes up more activities and entertainment that I would not pursue.........



"Oh mom, please don't cry. I am only this tall because of these shoes." He immediately took off his shoes and said, "See, I am not that tall." Then he gave me a hug. A really big one. You're growing up so fast was the only words that came out of my mouth last night, but deep inside my heart I was feeling all kind of feelings; pride, happiness, uncertainty, and fear. My son didn't need to know any of that. All he needs to see is this brave and confident woman (who sometimes gets upset and cries for no obvious reasons) he calls mom.















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