Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Dear Bug, May 2014

Dear Bug,

Spending all your childhood watching you grow and change didn't prepare me for how our relationship would grow and change.

When you were a toddler and a small boy, every day, multiple times a day, I'd hear, "Play with me, Mommy!"

And that's what we did, every moment we had. Blocks, Legos, puzzles, board games, Hot Wheels, stuffed animals, hopscotch, train tracks, dinosaurs. Countless rounds of the fishing game, the battery operated wheel whirring around with the plastic fish opening and closing their mouths with funny little clicks while we both aimed flimsy fishing poles into their mouths.

Having you approach your teenage years has changed that "Play with me, Mommy!" into "Leave me alone, Mom."

I do my best to not take it personally. I understand that you still love me. This is just the start of the time when you need a little more independence, a little more elbow room to become your own person. I do my best to make sure I'm not hugging you in front of your friends, that I'm not picking out all your clothes, that I'm giving you just a little of the space that you need.

Bug, self portrait (because he does not take "selfies.")

Hopefully, you understand why I still plant a kiss on your forehead (while you are still shorter than I am and it's easy for me to do it), why I still insist that you be involved in family activities, why I still ask to do things with you. I'm used to being your playmate, your friend, used to joining you on your adventures.

Watching you set out on adventures, such as junior high, without me is scary. For both of us, I think. I'm trying to approach these adventures with the same level of excitement as you are, instead of pining for Candyland on the living room floor.

So much of parenting surprises me. Going from your best friend, your playmate, to a strictly parental figure has been a tough transition.

But luckily, you are still willing to sign off of your Minecraft game that you play over Skype with your friends, and watch an episode of Doctor Who, or play a game of Clue, or read a few chapters of a novel. I worry that as time goes by, you won't want to do even these things with me. But worrying about it won't change anything. So I'll enjoy every second that you do spend with me.

And refrain from that hug in front of the school.



  1. Ah yes, the lovely teenage years! My stepdaughter is now 14 and it is quite an adjustment. There are still sweet moments...but I can see that biological drive toward independence that happens throughout adolescence.

    1. Yes, we're only at the tip of the iceberg here. Can't wait (or can I?) to see what's ahead.