Yep. 12. Last year without a teenager in this house. That is crazy people!! I was just looking through my old photo albums, reminiscing my favorite years when my home was full of babies and toddlers. Days consisted of snuggles and stories, giggles and games, meltdowns and nap times, cutting up food and cleaning up messes. Playing cars on the floor and singing silly songs. Wiping noses, and stressing over coughs, physical exhaustion and incoherent sentences. The good, the bad, the beautiful. I miss those days, have I mentioned that? But these days? They’re different. It’s more emotionally exhausting than physical. There aren’t quite as many snuggles, and no falling asleep in my arms, but there’s big conversations about important things. There’s still much laughter and silly songs, just of a more grown up nature. There are still meltdowns and messes, but he even makes some of his own lunches and dinners now. There is the joy of watching him in sports and activities that he loves. You trade one thing for another and I know that someday soon I will really be missing these days as well. I try really hard to remember that on the hard days. I was warned that these pre-teen years could be… tough. And they are. Sometimes I feel like most of our interactions are me getting after him to do his homework, get off electronics, clean his room, stop bugging his siblings…. you know? But then I have these moments, where I glance at him, and I remember how my whole world was once made up of him. I remember the night before M was born, knowing I would be induced the next morning I went to put him to bed. I rocked his chubby little body and he fell asleep on my chest in the rocking chair and tears streamed down my cheeks. I knew both of our worlds would change the next day. That he wouldn’t be the whole center of the world. I knew I would love the baby in my belly, I just imagined that I would always secretly love him the most. And my heart hurt for him that his world would change. That he would have to share us. There are days when we are having a rough day and I think that I should have just had him, so I could still devote my entire self to him, and his needs. Maybe it would seem less overwhelming? But then…. but then. These moments happen. Moments that make all the hard things worth it. A couple of weeks ago Laeten got an award at school. Out of the 1,200 students each teacher picks a student to honor. His history teacher chose him. He got up and mentioned how L always comes to class with a great attitude, how he is always happy. He said that he noticed how L had taken a turn in the second term. How he went from struggling to complete assignments to working really hard to get everything turned in. He noticed him. He made me notice him. I thought “yeah, he is always happy! He does always go to school with a good attitude! He has worked hard!” I loved him for noticing. I loved him for reminding me.
This kid. He melts me. And he challenges me. He makes me so proud! And he makes me so frustrated. He brings me such joy. And he makes me question myself. But you know what? That, my friend, is motherhood. It is wonderful and it is hard, and that’s how it should be! I have been given this huge responsibility to parent this boy. And every day I wake up wanting to do it right! And I beat myself up for every mistake I make but I forget to applaud myself for all the things I do right. I forget to remind myself that I have a child that is happy, and kind, and so, so, SO very loved. And so very loving. He loves me too, so I must be doing something right. Or many things right even. I love who he is growing to be. I love his soft heart towards others. I love his prayers, and how he thinks of others and tries to look out for the underdog. I love how he has learned to use his hard days to empathize with others that are hurting. I love how he is the first to notice if I am having a sad day. He is a sensitive soul. And I love how he is growing to be my buddy. How we can read some of the same books and go to a movie together that we both love. So… yes, it is hard for me to have my babies grow up, but it is also kinda wonderful. I love who he is growing to be and I can’t wait for all the greatness that is ahead of us. He is an amazing boy, and I am so excited to see who he becomes. I mean, he’s pretty darn cute already (if I do say so myself). Great things are in store for him. For us. I just know it.
It’s funny, I took these photos in November and he has since changed his hair and it’s amazing how much a haircut changes your look. I like his hair here better than I did at the time, haha. I yuh ya L! You are the greatest thing that has ever happened to me!! All my heart… xoxo