In less than a month, he’ll be 13. I’ve been writing about him since he was a kindergartner, but those days are quickly coming to an end. In a month, he’ll be old enough to have his own Facebook account (yes, we’re making him wait) and he’ll begin to create his own online story. I’ve already begun to say less about him, but I suspect that decline will take a steep dive towards silence when he becomes his own autobiographer.
The irony is that in recent months I’ve had more to say than ever – needed someone to listen – because this parenting thing has gotten really hard.
He’s a good kid. A great kid, in fact. He spends most of his free time at the library and gets straight As effortlessly. He’s smart, wise, capable of kindness and mostly trustworthy.
But he’s also 12, and I’m learning exactly what that means.
It means parenting has gotten really hard.
It means the transfer of power and responsibility has started to go more quickly and less smoothly than I would have imagined it would. It means he wants more freedom than I’m ready to give and is giving less respect than I believe we’ve earned. It means we’ve moved from disciplining to arguing, and he raises his voice.
Like I said: hard.
Saturday night was especially rough. My feelings got hurt and he found himself grounded with his cell phone in my purse. He disappeared into his bedroom, and I sent his father after him to… to I don’t know what. To plead my case? To prove we were united, I guess. A few minutes later I decided to wade back in myself.
The details of why he is grounded and who said or did what are irrelevant. What’s relevant is this:
Somehow, the three of us started to talk.
No one was yelling. There were a few tears shed, but mostly we were actually communicating. Both fronts, I think, felt heard for the first time in weeks.
My son voluntarily hugged me at one point. That doesn’t happen much anymore.
It was the best thing to happen in my life all week.
Parenting right now is hard. But it is still worth it. There is still happiness to be found.
What was your happiness highlight this week?
I take the time to highlight what made me happy each week because gratitude is the root of all happiness. I encourage you to develop your own gratitude practice; I wholeheartedly believe it will change your life.