the mother of the teen

Last night I went to bed as regular old me and this morning I woke up the mother of a teenage son.
It’s hard to believe that the little baby who cried his way into the world 13 years ago, the baby whose every move I fascinated over, chronicled, and photographed is now old enough to, well, pout alone in his room and know absolutely everything there is to know.
When Jack was an infant, I checked and double-checked Dr. Spock to see what skills, milestones, immunizations to expect. Then at some point, I stopped looking and just enjoyed each stage of his life for what it was.
Now is when I kind of want a manual. (When) will he get moody? (When) will he despise my presence? (When) will he argue with me just for the sake of having a different perspective? Acne? Body hair? Growth spurt? The voice change? Physical changes I can see and register but as he stretches his wings into adulthood, I have no basis for what to expect other than what I’ve heard from parents who have endured the same.
I guess he’s in that crazy stage of development where anything can happen at any time. For now I will relish every moment he doesn’t sulk at the dinner table, talk back or get embarrassed by being out in public with me. I mean really, the kid still has a few baby teeth, so hopefully we have time; he’s such an enjoyable kid. Funny, thoughtful, engaging, curious. And my challenge as a parent is to make sure he retains all those wonderful qualities for the period of time I have left to influence him. And of course to do that without his noticing.

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