I can’t tell you how many pictures I’ve taken, or how many images I’ve captured of my son throughout the years. But this shot–this picture right here–this one grabs me.
This one hurts.
The sweet boy pictured here has his whole life before him; plenty of dreams, hopes, and all the desires of his precious heart wrapped-up within his small, tweenage frame. They’re right there, just beneath the surface…
And I wish I knew what they were.
I know that sounds strange–odd even–but this kid of mine? This amazing boy God’s given me to raise…he’s pulling away. I feel it. I see it. I hear it in the way he talks, in the alone time he seeks, and the nature of our conversations.
He’s growing up…and I don’t know how to handle it.
I can’t tell you how hard that is to admit, or how much I struggle with this newfound reality, but I am struggling. The mama he used to run towards for hugs and kisses, Band-Aids and bedtime stories is slowly being pushed aside. He’s becoming more independent. He’s forming his own ideas and opinions. My son’s got a voice all his own and everything about him is indeed, changing.
Oh, how I used to know this kid inside and out—his likes and dislikes. This was the child who never left my side…the baby who always snuggled, and always smiled. This young man was once the little boy who’d planned on becoming a fireman, loved the color blue, and whose favorite pastime included anything (and everything) having to do with cars…and trains…and dirt.
It doesn’t seem like that long ago.
But those cars are gone. The trains have all been donated. And the stuffed animals that once graced his bed, held firmly within his toddler grip, are no longer.
You know, I can’t quite pinpoint when this transition took place or why it’s hit me especially hard this summer, but it has. God’s preparing my son for what lies ahead.
And He’s working on me too.
I’ve realized that I’ve got to adapt. I’ve got to begin to let go–to let him fly–little by little. I have to encourage my son’s independence and relinquish my attempts for the control I so desperately want to possess. I need to give him more space, just as I need to speak (a little bit) less and listen more.
It’s true. My son is pulling away. He’s desiring more freedom. He’s right smack in the middle of finding himself and his place in this world.
And I have to let him–whether I want to or not.
Are you struggling with this too, friend? Has your son started pulling away…transforming into the young man God’s created him to be? Here’s what you can do:
Breathe. Our boys are changing into young men and it’s not an easy process for any of us. It’s a delicate balance. There’s a lot of emotion involved. Understand their need for more space. Listen to their hearts (when they choose to share). Allow them to breathe.
Adapt. I wasn’t informed how heart-wrenching this would be or how much I’d long for the days of old, but it is, and we must adapt. We need to embrace this new stage; try and relate to what they’re going through, and be there for them throughout this phase and beyond.
Trust. This metamorphosis (of sorts) is just the beginning. I know there’s a lot more to come and I know it’s going to be a struggle. This mama heart of mine may just break (in half) along the way. Even so, I’m going to ask God for help. I’m going to seek His counsel, pray (a lot), and trust in Him. Always.
Jenny Lee Sulpizio is a wife to one, mom of three, and daughter of the most-high King, who tends to share (and possibly overshare) all things mama-related. To learn more about Jenny or to visit her blog, Mom on a Mission, head over to www.jennyleesulpizio.com
Oh Jenny–You just got me. Tears…I relate to all of your feelings. Sometimes I’m all ok with it and other times I want to scream and almost feel in a panic! It is good and healthy, but it is hard for us mommas! Thank you for putting my feelings into words and reminding me I’m not alone. :)Much love
Yes!!! I agree with all those emotions and more. It’s so hard. Hugs right back, Monica!!
Oh my, my boys are only 2.5 and 1. And as I read your post, I can’t help but feel I gotta hug, kiss and treasure this stage even more! The toddler and baby stage is crazy but time slips through my fingers so FAST! Just the thought of the one day when my little boys are gonna grow into men and somehow enter their little caves, makes me so emotional!!! Thanks for sharing your words of wisdom!
I can relate. The days are long (sometimes really long), but the years are so short. It speeds by. Hug them tight.
Whew – this was good timing to read. Just a good reminder lots of other moms are going through this right now too. My son just turned 12 and he’s been pulling away more and is actually a lot more argumentative, wanting to disagree or challenge things I say, which is fine but sometimes just gets exhausting. I feel some “anger” but I have been told, too, that this is all a part of the pulling away. So, I’m trying to not take it personally, which is where us moms can get into trouble, I think. Anyway, your post made me want to break down because it reminded me why this has been so painful: there is a loss of what was: the little boy who always had a friendly smile for everyone, always was laid back, easygoing, loved new and any adventures. Writing this makes me cry but I’ve been told he’ll come back to that guy when he’s older – it will just be an adult version of him:).
Sheri, it’s so hard, right? My son is experiencing many of the same issues. There’s some anger, some disrespect, and other tweenage problems were currently dealing with. It’s very frisutrating and yes, exhausting too. I’m praying for him…and for me too. Hugs!
This is my heart! I really needed to read this. I a discovering this for myself right now. Allowing my soon to be 16 year old to grow up is breaking my heart. I did not expect this to happen. I mean, I knew he would grow up – but I never would have guessed my reaction to all of it. I have been very honest with him about hard this is for me. I think open communication is crucial to all of life’s stages. He seems to understand. He jokes with me about it sometimes. One evening we had a difference of opinion on a matter. We kind of settled it, but it do not feel SOLVED. He went up to bed. I sent him a text that reminded him that this is hard for me but I promised him I was trying. His reply was, “I know, Mom! Thank you for trying!” Jokingly, I asked him if he wanted to come down and sleep with his dad and I like he used to. He said he thought he was a bit too big. I told him I miss those days….he said he did too! LOVE HIM!!!! I thank God so much for allowing me to be his mom. Just hope I am not messing up too badly!
Keeping you in prayers.Reading Just the first line of this post hurts.I have a very young child but I can empathize with you.Stay strong Momma …
Hi, Jenny! I was strolling through some of the posts at the MOB blog and came across yours. This one really hits home for me! I’m a mom of only one “boy” – I say boy, but he’s 22 years old now. He’s pretty much living independently out on his own, now. Like my husband has told me a million times, we should be thrilled that he’s been launched and is doing pretty well out in the world. But, it’s still be so hard for this mama, who for all these years lived only to be a good mom. Suddenly, my son doesn’t have a need for me anymore. He doesn’t call and hardly ever visits. Any connection is one-sided. My hubs also says he thinks it’s just a phase of gaining true independence and he’s come around, which may be true, but it still is difficult for this mama. Thanks for sharing from your heart…it is nice to know that we moms of boys are not alone when they finally pull away.