Sunday, January 10, 2010

Smells Like Teen Spirit

It's official: we now have a teenager on our hands.

In my head, I hear all the usual plaintive laments: where did the time go? It seems like just yesterday . . .

However cliche those sentiments are, they're true and very real to me suddenly. Kevin was a baby, and then I blinked, and here he is, a teenager. If I close my eyes and concentrate hard enough, I can almost convince myself that I'm back there, when Kevin was tiny and sweet, and all mine, his personality yet to develop and be discovered. I can almost touch it. I remember thinking at certain times when he was very small, "I wish I could put this time in a box and pack it away, so that in the future I could take it out and re-experience it over and over." But of course, life doesn't allow you to do that.

Kevin's babyhood, and a good part of his childhood are gone forever. And suddenly I wonder, did I kiss and hug
him enough? Did I read enough stories to him? Did I cuddle him enough? Because that time is gone.

For the last week or so, Michael and I have been taking the video camera out and about with a project in mind: to video tape random people wishing Kevin a happy birthday. We burned it onto a DVD to give to Kevin for his birthday. We got about 30 people, both friends and strangers, saying happy birthday and imparting words of wisdom to Kevin as he embarks on being a teenager. A couple days ago, Michael and I took turns taping each other leaving messages for Kevin. I didn't realize how significant this all is to me until Michael turned the video camera on me, and I suddenly broke down crying. That came out of left field! But it just hit me - my baby is turning thirteen. He's really growing up.

I suspect that this is going to be a year full of changes. I won't be surprised if Kevin grows to be at least as tall as me over the next year. I'm sure he will be dealing with some other physical changes, if the mood swings he already has are any indication. I know that he and his dad and I will continue to butt heads - he's at the beginning of a long process of trying to figure out who he is and what his place in the world is, so I know that clashing with us and testing the boundaries constantly are all part of that. I remember my teenage years as not being easy ones, and there is a part of me that feels sad that Kevin will be experiencing the confusion of not being a child, but not being an adult either.

He's thirteen today. Thirteen. I am very proud of the person he has grown into, the young man he is becoming - proud in a way that cannot take credit, but more in a way that feels a full heart and a sense of satisfaction. Kevin is a great kid. He is loving and loyal, he's brave and will take a stand for what he believes in, even at the risk of being unpopular. He's a good friend to his friends, and a good brother to his siblings. He's sensitive and compassionate, and he has big dreams for himself. These are exactly the things I've always wanted for all of my kids.


Wendy P said...

Happy Birthday, Kevin!!

ashamom said...

Happy Birthday Kevin!!

I hope you will enjoy being a teenager!!

Esther and Brian said...

Happy Birthday, handsome! I can see both your Mom and your Dad in you...hope you had a wonderful day!

UB said...

What beautiful family pictures.......