09 December 2010

thirteen.

i thought it’d be different somehow, that the sound of the house would change to accommodate a newly minted teenager. that the air would be coolly aloof, jaded, mildly impatient and amused with the outdated antics of the old ‘rents.

but i stumble warm from sleep this morning, half-blind without glasses, to wish my b a happy birthday and a happy day at school and in response he peanut-butters his bread a little faster, mumbles thank-you, embarrassed. doesn’t turn around.

he’s not one to be chipper in the mornings and this was exactly the same response as a year ago, and i think huh. perhaps i will like thirteen.


b6


there was a time when he was little and i was draping clothes back on hangers and he was just out of reach for a second. and he spotted the Forbidden Staircase and freedom and it tasted like glee, so he sprinted those stubby legs straight off the top stair, lungs in full-giggle.

i lunged for him, grabbed air, felt my heart freeze solid as he pitched head over heels like a tumbleweed down that steep slope and hit the door at the bottom with a sickening crack.

we rushed him down the street to the doctor, our New Parents of One Child colors flapping in our wake, and she looked him over and pronounced him fine and said that most children take a plunge or two down the stairs at some point.

he was dimpled up and happy-babbling by then, smitten with the moon of her stethoscope. of course.


b2


b is, by all accounts, our easiest child. if anything, my fear for him is that he’s too compliant, lacks the maddening brash confidence and swagger of your average seventh grader. still, i remember the liberating feel of thirteen, and i wonder if there will come a day when the freedom on the opposite side of our values tastes like glee, and i will watch him dive and crumple just out of reach.

and maybe that’s it, right there. to stay within reach. not so much so that i can keep a rein on him but so he can stretch out a tentative hand every now and again, maybe needing us a little, and find that we move where he moves to stay within his reach.


b5


b, my sweet, beautiful child. i hope you grow in depth and strength of character, in full-flung love for your God. i want the world to be kind to you, but i hope that you are tender and compassionate even when it is not. i hope you gauge your value by Christ's sacrifice for your life, that you draw your joy from His lavish and utterly ridiculous love.

i am brought to my knees with the gift of being your mom. have a good year. make this a good year.

happy birthday.



***



more imperfect prose at emily's

16 comments:

Jennifer Shults said...

Can you make your kids stop growing? I swear every time I turn around one of them has a birthday.

He is so gorgeous. You can see straight to his soul through his eyes and it is indeed a wonderful thing. Big hugs to both of you today!

Flower Patch Farmgirl said...

I am slain.

Wait. That sounds sort of...tragic.

How about, "You slay me". Yep. That's it.

keLi said...

is it okay that i cried reading this, even though my boy is a full DECADE away from this milestone?

beautiful.

Christa said...

I just stumbled upon your blog some how last month...and I love your words and photos.

I understood this all so well. My oldest just hit 13 a few weeks ago:
http://cohesive-pieces.blogspot.com/2010/11/israels-thirteenth-year.html

I think 1997 was a good year for boys.

Kimberly said...

Oh Nic...he has YOUR heart...your tenderness, your compassion. And, as with you, I imagine all who know him have sweeter lives than they otherwise would have done.

Ostriches Look Funny said...

oh. Seriously.
This pulls me into little tiny pieces. I have ten years before it happens with my oldest boy, so I'm going to squeeze all the moments I can out of it. I could cry thinking of the day he won't be thrilled about stethoscopes.

Raechel said...

I love this. I love the way you write.

Except, I don't love the way you make me feel all panicky and sentimental inside when I think about my own little boy growing up and someday (much sooner than I realize) becoming a 13-year-old too.

Thank you for the reminder to SEE him today.

fleetfeet said...

***SOB*** So beautiful.

emily wierenga said...

and maybe that’s it, right there. to stay within reach. not so much so that i can keep a rein on him but so he can stretch out a tentative hand every now and again, maybe needing us a little, and find that we move where he moves to stay within his reach.


this answers me. my post question. my wondering about child's potential... it's as though you read my mind, friend. and what a beautiful boy, and heart-rendered-undone words. you gift your family with your prose. and you gift me. (thank you so much for linking nic. this will be the last imperfect prose until the new year. merry christmas!)

Southern Gal said...

Happy Birthday to your B. This has all the anxiety and hope of mommy love all wrapped up in a beautiful package.

Melissa Campbell said...

Your prayer is beautiful. And so is your son. Blessings.

Seeker said...

Beautiful, my friend. The words, too.

Dana @ Bungalow'56 said...

Somehow I missed this post and as a mother to my now 15 yr old eldest Your words dug deep. This teenage world is grasping for them, and I do not want to let her go. Wisdom wrapped in beauty. That is what your post is. Thank you.

Mahina said...

I love your "imperfect prose". Well done. =)

Melissa Campbell said...

Your prayer is beautiful. And so is your son. Blessings.

Ostriches Look Funny said...

oh. Seriously.
This pulls me into little tiny pieces. I have ten years before it happens with my oldest boy, so I'm going to squeeze all the moments I can out of it. I could cry thinking of the day he won't be thrilled about stethoscopes.