Today, our oldest turns 14, and y’all know what that means.
It’s time for me to get sappy.
But, I’m also painfully aware that what I write on this blog is now read, and approved, by said 14yo. His friends read this space sometimes, so I’ll do my best to keep from embarrassing him.
This one’s for you, Will.
I blinked and now you’re 14. That really happened.
It’s crazy, because so many times in the last six months, I’ve caught myself seeing you in a different light. I’m watching you turn into a man. It frightens me and warms my heart, all in the same moment.
Parenthood just kills your emotions sometimes. I’m trying to calm the “he’s leaving in four years” whisper I hear in my head, but it is hard. You’re still a middle schooler and I’m taking comfort in that knowledge.
Last week you received your acceptance letter to high school. HIGH. SCHOOL. When I asked you last night if you wanted me to bring you birthday lunch from Torchy’s, I got an enthusiastic, YES. When I asked if it would be okay that Luke, Gianna and I ate with you, you shrugged your shoulders and said, “That’s fine. Whatever you want.”
And then it hit me.
This will be my last school lunch with you.
“I mean, you totally can’t come eat lunch with me in high school, but there’s always college!” you said. Hooray! I get cool again in four years. That’s something.
This last year, I’ve seen you push some boundary buttons. You’re trying to figure out how far to push us into growing up as parents while we’re trying to decide how soon to loosen the apron strings. It’s a constant dance. Most days I think we both get it right. On the days we don’t, please forgive us.
You haven’t lost your love of reading. True to your momma’s heritage, you will bang out a book in a half day or less. I’ve learned not to expect too much – if anything – on those days. You are toast until the last page has been read. I kinda love that about you. Don’t tell your dad. It drives him nuts.
Your social media sites of choice are Instagram and Kik. “Facebook is for parents, Mom.” You’re probably right.
Over Christmas you got your own room. At first, you said it was weird not having a roommate, but on Saturday mornings when you get to sleep in, I don’t hear too many complaints. I know you’re frustrated that you aren’t taller, your voice isn’t deeper and you aren’t shaving. Trust me, the time will come. In fact, you just lost your last tooth this year! I’m guessing 2015 will be the last time I’m the second tallest person in the house. Momma is about to get passed up. You just lack four inches in catching me.
You still boss the heck out of your siblings, but I know I can always count on you to be my second parent. Sometimes I need that. You are beyond awesome with Gianna. Seeing the two of you together brings me a joy I can’t fully describe. Thank you for loving her like that. Whether your life’s vocation is one of a paternal father or a spiritual one, your bride will be lucky.
It’s brought me great joy to see you excel in so many things this year: 4-H, student council, sports, academics. But, it’s not the accolades that impress me the most, it’s what you’re learning and who you’re shaping yourself to be.
Earlier this week, you and I got to talking about a teenage book club over the summer. You weren’t convinced of the cool factor and the more I tried to describe it, the harder you laughed. I almost wrecked the van because we were both giggling so hard. My good gravy I love this season of parenthood with you. You’re like a real live grownup who I can laugh and reminisce with. Who I can share funny stories of my childhood with and you get the lesson. What a fun and exciting season we’re entering.
As we sit on the cusp of a great four years of change, I just ask one thing. Pray for your dad and I. Your broke us into this parenting gig. Back in 2001 I didn’t know it could be this good. But it is. It soooo is.
Keep checking ESPN’s website, sneaking your iTouch, twirling that hair on the top of your head, reading until midnight, swiping chocolate pretzels when you think I don’t see, rehashing every NBA game and the NFL draft and antagonizing your siblings. Rest assured, our house is greater, funnier and more organized because of you. You’re the light of my life, Will.