My son turns 12 this week.
I really can’t believe it. He is just one year away from being a teenager and I have noticed over the past year (since we are home together and I have more time to observe such things) that he has become a typical teen boy in many ways.
Suddenly, he is wearing shorts with hoodies and crew socks regularly. He also cares more about his hoodies, but while he doesn’t care which brand is written on it, he does care that there is a brand and that it’s soft and cozy.
He prefers YouTube to cable and he has recently discovered that he enjoys working out.
My son has always been very smart. He taught himself to read at age three. I mean, my husband and I and my aunt who was his “nanny,” read to him multiple times a day from birth and he knew the alphabet at 18 months-old, but as far as trying to teach him to read? No actual teaching occurred. He just figured it out using the resources we had given him. And that is how it has been for much of his 12 years.
He has an engineer’s mind and loves a challenge. At age four he would put puzzles together upside down so he could not see the picture, only the shape of the pieces and how they fit together. Math came easily to him and I recall that his second-grade teacher told me he was doing group work on a particular problem and he looked at the equation and instantly knew the answer. The rest of the group couldn’t see it and wanted him to just write down the answer for all of them. He refused and instead encouraged his friends to find more than one way to solve the problem. He still does this.
He is also a creative writer and creates illustrations in great detail when he feels like it. And he has a great sense of humor. I’m pretty sarcastic – a family trait that did not skip any generation – and he is sarcastic and loves a good pun.
He is also a follower of rules, for the most part. And he hates when others do not follow the rules. He is sweet and sensitive and still reaches out to hold my hand.
The pandemic has frustrated all of us, but I am grateful to have this extra time with my family and to enjoy spending time with my son and getting to really see HIM as he is growing up. We are doing fewer errands, less running back and forth to activities and are not cramming every minute of every day with things to do. Instead, we have spent more time playing Uno Flip and Harry Potter Clue and cuddled on the couch watching movies and talking about current events, history and the future. Even celebrating his birthday without a big party is a treasure. Since his birthday is during the week, we celebrated a few days early over the weekend. We enjoyed takeout of his choice (Chinese food) and friends and family drove-up and wished him well. It was a good day.
I believe we will both always remember the better part of his time before becoming a teenager and for that, I am thankful.