I'm living with a stranger. I'm fairly certain it happened overnight. My little boy has turned into a full fledged teenager. I still know a lot about Noah. I know his favorite color is blue, he's a handsome boy, and a kind big brother. I know his passion is basketball, and he's smart and wants to go to a "good college"- in his mind means "out of state". I know all of his friends, and their parents. I know he eats and sleeps A LOT, and wants to have bigger biceps. I'm finding out he believes I know very little about everything- because I am always wrong, and he is always right. It's so hard to believe that only five years ago he told me everything that popped into his mind, and now... nothing, except his need for new basketball/football/running shoes and random sports equipment.
Just a few years ago he used to argue with his brother about who got to sit closer to me on the couch. In fact, I bought a bigger couch so they wouldn't have to share me. Now he uses that same couch to sit as far away from me as possible. I miss him, and he is sitting in the same room as me. When he walks up the steps in the morning I don't see the tired 14-year-old that he is. I see the 4-year-old that he was stomping up the steps demanding to know where Kitty is, and why he pooped in his room. As we are sitting at the supper table and he informs us that we need to pay for basketball, and he's going to start driver's training, all I see is a kindergartner telling us he has to stay away from the licker (Abby) at supper. I know growing up and detaching from mom is totally normal, and if I was his best friend (like he promised me I ALWAYS would be when he was 5) I'd be worried. I never went through this "my life is my own and my parents are only in it because they have more money", mostly because I always felt like my parents' love for me was a flip of the coin. I do one thing wrong, and it was gone. Therefore I have to admit what Noah and I are going through means I did a mostly good job raising him and it's perfectly healthy. I also know it's normal that teenage boys will eventually come back and need their mom, but what if he doesn't? I told him I'd move to wherever he goes to college, then he told me he wasn't going to tell me where he is going. What if he moves far away to college, meets a girl and marries her, and she doesn't want him to have anything to do with his family? He's a people pleaser. It will probably happen.
Last night I as I laid in bed tears started streaming down my face because he grew up too fast. What was I doing when it all happened? I know I didn't pay enough attention to him when Ethan was a baby. I have the video tapes to prove it. How could I have missed it? I'm a teacher, I get home early and I have summers off. Was I blind to his getting older? Did I spend too much time working on my masters, reading, laying in the pool, or away from home? How can someone who lived in me for 9 months be a stranger? Everyone says "It goes so fast" when it comes to raising kids. That is an understatement. I spend so much of my life wishing away time; I wish it was Christmas break, I wish it was summer, I wish it was 5:00 so I can drink a beer. Is that how I missed Noah growing up? I think for the rest of the summer I'm going to spend hours staring at both Noah and Ethan. I don't care how creepy it seems, I know they will thank me later.