The other day I looked at my first born child and realized something pretty significant–he is officially a pre teen. I know I should of realized this when he reached the double digits in age but a couple of days ago, the realization came crashing in my face by way of a shopping trip to our local H&M. So last semester in school during every progress report and Parent Teacher Conference, DJ brought home straight A’s. These weren’t nineties these grades were more like 95, 96 in all of his classes!
At first I was confused-were the classes too easy but I remembered that I had put in in Honors at the beginning of the school year so I knew they were challenging. I also remembered that night after night I had seen him hunched over the dining room table working on Algebra, Science or English with a worried look on his face. Proud of his accomplishments, I promised him that I would get him any gift he wanted –within reason. So when report cards came out he had one wish–he wanted some new clothes. Or in his words, ” he needed to update his ‘swag’ and Gap Kids was no longer cool.” At first I fought this with “tooth and nail” (what’s wrong with Gap Kids) but after having several discussions, I realized that I had to let him express himself no matter how much I disagreed.
So last Saturday night, we headed to one of the many malls in the metro Atlanta area and landed in H&M. For at least an hour I watched my son try on clothes, look in the mirror and do sample “poses” with the clothes on. Finally he decided on several different outfits and while we were waiting to check out, I happened to look at him and I realized something very important. The child I birthed almost 12 years ago is growing up. He is developing his style, he is forming opinions and in 6 more years he’ll be headed off to college. While waiting with a handful of clothes in my hands, I could feel my eyes welling up and a lump in my throat but I maintained my composure.
While I don’t know what will happen in the next 6 years, I do know that I have to start treating him like a young adult. No more babying him or doing everything for him. Just today I decided to let him stay at home while I ran the block (yes that is a big deal). So as I adjust to these “middle school” years, what advice would you give me?