His little hand would encircle mine and he would plead with the deepest blue eyes, “I wanna hold you, I wanna hold you.” Now those same eyes can slice through my heart with the most hateful glare or tone and declare any question an inquisition or invasion into his privacy. Yes you guessed it I have a 16-year-old son who is living under the same roof.
After a particularly difficult day I took solace in my younger son Jack and hugged and pleaded with him, “Jack can you please not hate me when you are 16?” He laughed and replied, “Tom does not hate you because he is 16, he despises you because he is 16.” Out of the mouth of babes.
At one time he was moon and stars what orbited my Mommy Planet. We went everywhere in our jogging stroller and wagon. I was lucky enough to have 5 years with just my Tom before another sibling came along. There were many little golden moments with my Tom in Michigan and Minnesota and even in Kansas. Farmer’s Markets and the garden were special places for the 2 of us. In Michigan we had a large lot on a Biological Station where I planted numerous gardening experiments. Tom would roam the garden eating fresh peas from the vines pulling weeds or what he thought were weeds and happily watering the plants and me. He would throw the zucchini dog toys after a disastrous miscalculation and over production of 8 zucchini plants. With the zucchini logs that were produced from this mistake, I could have constructed a small addition to our home. Instead Tom used them to entertain the 2 beautiful chocolate labs.
Our time together as best buddies making homemade pizza dough and cooking from the fruits of our labor was our golden age. Walking to Har Mar Mall and Como Park and its attractions are memories that I treasure and will carry me through the tough teen years.
As with all Golden ages there must also be Dark Ages to go through. I know that the time spent with my fair-haired little Tom helped make him a kind and confident young man. Growing apart is a natural process and if he was a clingy Momma’s boy I would be disappointed in myself for not making him independent enough to strike out and be free from my apron strings.
Tom is a charming young man and I know will be a fine warm adult male who will be a wonderful husband, father and a most loving son but the transition to my little guy and my man is a tough and bumpy road that is more heartbreaking than I expected. It maybe because we spent so much time together and he was such a desired child that his mutiny from my ship is so painful and heartbreaking. I called him my ¼ of million-dollar miracle baby and it is just so naïve of to me to think that this was going to be a smooth process. Nothing about him has ever been all that smooth or easy. (This process is again another blog topic, I digress yet again, damn you circular thought)
The fact I am also a well thought of teacher at his high school maybe contributing to the force of his rebellion and need for independence. It is hard for me to understand as the eldest child of 6 to live in a shadow and I know that this cannot be easy for him either. I see even in the disgusted sneers he hurls at me a bit of regret and longing when I hurl my acid tongue at him after a hurtful moment in defense, “I know you hate me now but if you could just be civil we might have something left to repair after you grow up.”
So I guess it will take time, patience and understanding and remembering my little buddy and our forays into the farmer’s markets when he was my moon and stars. And I will take comfort in the fact that all my hard learned lessons could be so much worse and like my Mom said this too shall pass and when they have children smile because you know that soon he will finally get you and you can then be just a little smug as his 16 year old decides he no longer needs to orbit his universe.
Tom at 16 in Ireland this summer.