Long before I became a parent, I dreamed of becoming a parent. It was one of my heart’s fondest desires. I always imagined myself surrounded with children, all of whom were girls. Little boys were nowhere to be found in my parenting dreams. When I became a parent for the first time it was to a daughter. Another daughter followed and along with her came a bouncing baby boy. A what? Pardon me, Lord, but I do believe there is a “No Boys Allowed” sign hanging on the door of my parenting dreams clubhouse. Sometimes, what you think you don’t want turns out to be the most incredible gift ever. From the moment my son Alex was placed in my arms I loved and adored him. When my son Nicholas arrived, not long after, I knew how very special the gift of a son is, and I loved and adored him too. Make no mistake, my girls are all I dreamed of and so much more, but there is just something about my boys. It is something that I have tried to find words to describe without success. If you are the mom of a boy, you will no doubt understand what I’m talking about.
As tots, my boys thought I was the most wonderful, magical creature they had ever seen and the adoration and love I felt for them was completely reciprocated. It did not matter what activity they were engaged in (blocks, trains, cartoons), whenever they caught sight of me, their tiny arms shot straight up in the air, fingers wiggling, as they excitedly shouted “Mommy” and ran to me wanting to be held, willingly giving giant bear hugs and slobbery, sweet kisses (they slobbered, not me) . If they needed something it was “Mommy, do it”, if they were hurt “Mommy, fix it”, whatever it was, it was mommy, mommy, mommy. When they were younger, more experienced parents would always say the same thing to me “Wait until they’re teenagers.” I would look at my boys, who were no doubt looking back at me, and reply “Oh, that’s a long time from now.” The more experienced parent would always smile the sweetest smile, the way people do when they are speaking to an innocent with no clue, which is what I was back then. Well, “a long time” is now and those experienced parents were, of course, right. Soon both of my boys will be teenagers (Alex is now 13 and Nicholas will be 13 in September). Me + Parenting Teen Boys = No Clue!
Since I was once a teen girl myself, parenting teen girls, even with the ups and downs, has been fairly easy (one is now 23, the other 17). It is my sons who have me befuddled. The good news is I am not alone. Every friend I have who is the parent of a tween or teen son feels as unprepared and inadequate as I do. What do I know about raising teen boys? Nothing…absolutely nothing. Furthermore, though they look sort of like my boys, I’m not even certain that the two boys living in my home are my sweet, adoring boys. Let’s look at the facts. These possible imposters are taller and stronger, with deeper voices, and sometimes they display uncharacteristic aggressive behavior. I swear I can see a slight shadow of facial hair and they do not smell at all sweet like my little guys do. These two boys do not run to me and willingly offer up hugs and kisses, and they claim to not need my help when they are hurt or for much of anything, come to think of it. Yes, I think they may be imposters and just when I’m about to bust them for this, I will feel a gentle nudge or get an unexpected hug and I know without question that they are mine.
It is these little glimpses and reminders of the past that make me think I might just survive being the mom of teen boys. It won’t be easy for me, but it won’t be easy for them either. I know, whether they admit it or not, they still need me as much, if not more, than they have in the past. I will do the very best I can to help them through these years. One day, when my boys have grown into the loving, respectful and nurturing men I know they will be, when I see a less experienced mom with her little boy, I will smile the experienced parent’s sweet smile, but behind mine will be the words “You can do it and it will all be okay.”
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