Friday, July 18, 2008

Peter Pan Loses His Shadow

As we were sitting at breakfast, my eldest son, who just got home from CHURCH camp, proudly announced he had grown arm pit hair. Fabulous.

Wow! Where did that come from? I thought puberty was supposed to make kids feel self-conscious. Keith is anything but. I'm afraid to think of the announcements that could follow: "Guess what, I kissed a girl, and I liked it." Wait- that would be bad for Emma and Amy, but natural for Keith. But, he's too young. Isn't he? Isn't a rising sixth grader too young for this stuff?

My youth is filled with memories of being both a late and early bloomer. I was the oldest (literally) in my class, so all the puberty stuff hit me first, much to my absolute horror and embarrassment. But my friends were socially (read: sexually) much more advanced than I. I thought boys were cute. And we used the term "going together" to describe sixth grade "dating". Although, if I actually had ever "gone with" any boy at that age, I wouldn't have known what to do with them.

Today, Keith is (relatively) at ease around girls. He is good at being their friend. But, at this point he claims to have no interest in "dating" anyone, unlike his friends. I get a running commentary of the soap opera of sixth grade boy/girl relationships from him about his friends. I laugh gingerly at the ridiculousness of the drama. I'm cautious about my amusement, because, in truth, I know Keith (Emma and Amy) are mere moments away from being knee-deep in the fray of "dating".

How does a mom (and dad) handle it? I am literally standing on the edge of my children stepping into the next phase of their lives. As I recall, this is when parents become "stupid" and they "just don't understand." This is when I began to realize that I really "knew it all" and the world shrunk to the size of just me. Everything that happened in my day was directly done to, about, and for me.

Am I going to be able to handle the self-centered behavior of teenager-ism? Am I going to be able to stand watching the mistakes they will inevitably make as they learn their way in the world? But, mostly, am I going to be able to live through them shutting me out, in the normal way that teenagers do?

I know the umbilical cord was cut (literally) years ago. But the metaphorical umbilical cord is becoming thinner than I care for. The days where I was the center of their world, and every art project was designed for me, and I was the one who could kiss away boo-boos, are slowly slipping away.

Who knew such angst could be inspired by arm pit hair? Hopefully, my worst fears will never be realized. I trust in the ground work that we have carefully laid in my children. And I believe that they will come out on the other side as people of whom I am very proud to know and love.

In the meantime, I will agonize over the conversations that will inevitably come up now that "arm pit hair" has been introduced to Emma and Amy's vocabulary.
And I will let hubby deal with Keith's actual arm pit hair when he gets home. After all, I wouldn't want to horde all the fun stuff for myself! Daddy should be able to join in the fun, too, right?

1 comment:

ThePrincessMommy said...

This was REALLY good - you really need to start submitting these!!! Funny!