I admit it. It stung when my 10 year old son told me that he was "too old to wear the Spiderman hat" that I bought him today. "Kids at school will make fun of me and say it's baby-ish" he said. I pretended to shrug it off and told him I would exchange it for some AXE body spray that the all the 5th grade boys seem to be wearing. He seemed pleased with that.
Today's exchange stirred up emotions and memories of the past year that my subconscious had tried to bury. I remembered my son's recent D.A.R.E. graduation at school where he made lightning fast eye contact with me before quickly turning away. Was he embarrassed to have me there among his peers? I told myself it was his Autism that caused his fleeting eye contact, but my heart knew otherwise.
Recently, I noticed that I am the one looking for his hand when we cross the street. Up until a few months ago he was the one always searching for my hand, always looking for his mom's guidance. Where did my boy go? Why is he being replaced by this socially maturing tween?
People used to tell me to enjoy my baby because time flies and I used to roll my eyes at that. I remember wishing that time would fly when my son was a very, very active toddler who loved getting into everything! Now I feel like someone knocked the wind out of me as I realize that time has indeed flown by. In the past 12 months alone, my son has grown two shoe and clothing sizes, and I was too busy noticing those to notice his gradual emotional growth.
I sit here, misty eyed, wondering if I have made maximum use as his mother to love him, nurture him, teach him to be a good citizen these past ten years. I come to the conclusion that in spite of my often imperfect parenting, my son is growing up to be a fine, young man. He is smart, funny, very caring, persistent, good-looking, thoughtful and kind. He's turning out to be the kind of person that I hope I can measure up to.
Cheers dear son! I hope 2013 continues to be a time of healthy physical, intellectual and emotional growth for you. I hope 2013 allows me to continue in my own growth as your very proud mama! I love you to the moon and back.