i see him

Can you see him?
The young man who used to be my baby boy?

I swear.
I turn my back for FIVE MINUTES and there he is...
Looking suave and sophisticated in a purple shirt and tie, 
moving easily among his fellow eighth-grade graduates.

He's got a LOTTA nerve, that one.

He and his friends complained about dressing up.
But secretly they didn't mind,
because the female demographic of this group
isn't shy about telling them they look hot in dress clothes.


Lord, help me.

The rate of maturity this year has been astounding. Alarming. 
But not the four-inches-taller-and-20-pounds-heavier part... the
"you're-calmly-defending-yourself-and-I'll-be-damned-if-you-don't-have-a-good-point" part.

I have no idea where he picked that up... probably on the bus. (Honestly, the crap these kids learn on the cheesewagon...)
At any rate, his newfound ability to behave rationally and reasonably is FREAKING. ME. OUT.

But don't be fooled by the rare moments of clarity. 
The hormones are still eating his brain like alien zombies
and he still visits the Land of Complete Boneheads nearly every day.

And there were PLENTY of shenanigans this year...
maddening and baffling and redundant to the point of total insanity.
In fact, rarely an afternoon would pass that
I wouldn't daydream about stopping by a liquor store after work,
because "taking the edge off" sounded very much like
Heaven wrapped in Nirvana sitting on a frothy cloud of Utopia.

Don't even get me started on the ground covered in the Cute Girl Department this year. This photo (and his goofball grin) should be explanation enough, right?

He learned a lot about girls this year, and some of that learning hurt. A lot. His heart got banged up and broken, and my heart broke for him.
"That's why they call them crushes. If they were easy,
they'd call 'em something else." (Name that movie!)
But we Recovering Adolescents know all too well there's usually 
only one way to move through those lessons: The hard way.

As it turns out, Tyler wasn't the only one learning lessons the hard way this year... I learned a few myself.
In parenting a 14-year-old, I made a really big mistake: I forgot what it was like to be 14 years old. I lost sight of the fact that this year is fraught with hard lessons and harsh realities. I forgot how hard it can be to find acceptance without compromising your values or your individuality. And instead of remembering, I spent months and months lecturing and punishing.

For most of the year, I totally flunked Unconditional Support.

And then, in April, I became desperate and miserable enough
to get on my knees and beg for help. And I finally, finally, saw things differently. I saw that I was the one who needed to change.

Now I see that he will make mistakes - the same ones, in fact, over and over and over again - and it will still be frustrating and disappointing.
But I cannot take it personallyHis choices are not a personal affront to me (although they seem like it). He does not make stupid decisions to drive me crazy (although they do).

He makes stupid decisions because making stupid decisions is how teenagers learn to make smart decisions.

Most of all, I see that this is only temporary.

I finally understand that adolescence is just the place he must pass through on his way to becoming the man I know he can be. This is only a pit stop, not the final destination... and understanding this crucial fact makes it SO much easier to accept him for the brain-dead, hormone-infested dork that he is.

I see him.
The young man who used to be my baby boy.

I see him immersed in his world, finding his own way.
And as I continue my retreat to the sidelines, 
once in a while he glances my way... just to make sure I'm still nearby.

I see you, son.
And more than words can express, I love what I see.

1 comment:

The Orgill Family said...

oh my goodness, I see him too and can't help remember the time we got to spend with Tyler while I helped watch him, I can't believe it was 5 years ago!!!! He has changed and grown up and I just love what you said in your post!!!! So true and it brought tears to my eyes. Love you guys.