My son’s birthday always makes me reflect. It could be because his birthday is at the beginning of the new year, and I’m already in a reflective mood in thinking of the previous year and what I want to accomplish the upcoming year, or it could be that with his birthday comes the anniversary of my becoming a mom. With his upcoming birthday, I’m reflecting on how he’s moving into a new stage of his life, and I’m moving into a new season of parenting. I’m now a mom to a tween.
Depending on who you ask and where you look, a tween is between ages 8 and 12. He is turning 11, so he’s on the end, closer to being a teenager, but the tween “attitude” is new for us. He is now at an age where he isn’t a little kid but isn’t a teenager. It is an interesting in-between stage. It is filled with angsty sighs and a slowness to do whatever is asked of them. It is filled with many firsts, like getting his own phone or staying home alone for a few minutes. But, it is also filled with sweetness. As he gets older, he wants to be almost a protector for me and even his little sister. When shopping with me, he volunteers to put the groceries in the trunk or the cart back in the corral.
As we move into the new season of life, I find myself saying yes to many of his requests. Whenever he wants to talk about whatever he wants to talk about, I’ll listen. I do not want a day to come when he thinks I will not be there to listen. Whenever he wants to snuggle close on the couch, I’ll snuggle on the couch even though I’m not a snuggler. I know that my days are limited, so I’ll hold onto them while I can.
With the new season of life comes new feelings for both of us. He wants to assert his independence, and I want to keep hold of the little boy that he used to be. I realize that trying to hold on to the little boy he was is not beneficial to either of us, but I do miss his tiny hand holding mine. What he needs from me is changing. Change is different, but it isn’t bad. I’m learning to embrace this new season of parenting.