Recently, fellow blogger Christina Surretsky wrote a wonderful piece entitled “Puberty: It’s Just Around The Corner” about having the puberty talk with her 10-year old and how awkward it was. Well, my son is 4 years older than Christina’s, having turned 14 two months ago and the changes he’s been going through over the past year or so have been astounding. Sure, everybody tells you about it and you know it’s coming, but seeing your baby boy grow older is truly miraculous…and terrifying.
It started with his younger sister’s announcement that she had just seen his underarm hair. “MOMMY, HE’S A MAN! HE’S A MAN!” she screamed. He, probably embarrassed, just shrugged it off. A few months later, there was a curious smell in the house, part sweat, but more musk. I’ve learned it’s the smell of a teenager who is, shall we say, reluctant, to wash as often as he should. It reminds me of the Peanuts’ character, Pigpen, who is surrounded by a gray cloud. Then, this past Spring, I was startled to see a few darker hairs on his upper lip along with the realization that THIS KID IS NOW TALLER THAN ME.
Finally, this Summer, I was awoken by a strange man’s voice saying, “Mom, what are we doing today?” I panicked for a split second until I realized that it was my SON’s new voice! Unlike the Peter Brady-like squeaks I’d expected, perhaps it had been deepening over a period of weeks, but I feel like it happened over night.
The new man in my house is starting high school on Thursday. Many of his friends are shaving. They don’t show an interest in girls…yet…with my son’s take on females that they’re “expensive and stupid.” I’ll take that perspective right now. I’m handling the physical part of puberty well. I expect that I won’t handle the girl-thing quite as well.
But just like Christina, and all of us, there’s nothing we can do. Our children are changlings, progressing with time and the Circle Of Life. All we can do is document their growth, via video and pictures, with artwork and schoolwork. We can look back and anticipate the future and hope that we handle it well. Is it scarey? Yep. Yet at the same time, it’s also mind-blowing! These kids truly are miracles!