My oldest son, Casey, started high school this year. It hit me not long ago that I only have FOUR MORE YEARS with my first born – with my precious son who made me a mother.
I know that time will fly by, and it’s been hurting my heart that my time with him is so short. He’s growing into a man, and in a few short years he will have his own life without his siblings and parents.
Casey just had his first high school band concert a few days ago. I burst with pride as I watched him passionately playing his trombone. He was part of two real bands with so much talent and drive. I was and am so incredibly proud of his efforts to become a musician.
After the concert was over, I was so happy to see him (my husband and other kids had already left because it was getting late). Casey helped clean up the stage with a smile. Once he was done, we walked towards the exit doors of the auditorium, and I told Casey I wanted to take a selfie with him. He was hesitantly willing, and as we walked into the empty vestibule, I pulled out my phone for a quick photo. We posed for the selfie, both smiling, but before the camera could even flash, Casey had bolted away from the camera and out of the auditorium, clearly afraid someone would come in and see us taking the photo.
The freshly taken picture of my smiling face and a blurry image of someone fleeing the scene burned a hole in my brain, and a pain in my heart. I was crushed, and I was speechless. I felt an instant loss of joy.
As we got in the car, I expressed my sadness at him not taking the picture with me, and I started to weep, like really weep. I couldn’t talk about it, so I cried in silence.
You may think this was an overreaction on my part, but if you couple my sad realization about Casey leaving us in four years with him starting to be embarrassed of me, you may understand how this was more than my heart could bear.
We drove in awkward silence for a while, but finally I did try to talk to him more about how he hurt me. He seemed to understand, and when we dropped by a friend’s house to pick up some pallets on the way home, he rolled up his tuxedo sleeves and helped me. He wouldn’t let me do it by myself.
The rest of the way home, we were both feeling better and were able to talk about the concert as if nothing had happened. Then, when we got home, Casey made sure I didn’t unload the van by myself even though he had a lot of homework to do. He was very loving and hugged me, telling me he loved me.
That’s the son that I have always adored.
I am telling this story as a way to speak to all the teenagers out there. I won’t pretend I don’t remember what it is like to be a teen – I do. I remember wanting to fit in so much, wanting the popular kids to accept me, and I do remember sometimes being embarrassed to be around my parents.
Believe me, I remember and I understand. But, there is something so much more important than all those things. I know that now that I am a mother myself.
Mothers and fathers devote their lives to raising their children – to making sure they are healthy, happy, provided for, taught, and loved. Being a parent is a selfless job, and due to the love and service parents provide to their children every single day, they love them more than the children will ever know – at least until they also become parents.
So, my teenager friends, when you start to have that feeling that your parents are too uncool for you, or that you look uncool with them, I ask you to please reconsider your thoughts.
The truth is, your parents will always be there for you and will always love you. They support you more than any friend ever could. And to be honest, a true friend would want you to be close to your parents. It makes me sad to think that a friend would make fun of you for taking a selfie with your mom, or hugging your dad, or saying “I love you” to them both.
It hurts your parents when you push them away. See, they have rocked you to sleep, kissed your booboos, played with you to see you laugh, comforted you when you were sad, celebrated every holiday and birthday with you, and taught you how to be a good person for so long. It has brought them so much joy – you have brought them so much joy.
Continue to let them find joy in you and you in them. A parent/child bond is one that should never be compromised. It’s one of the most important relationships you will ever have. It should mirror your relationship with your Heavenly parents.
So, talk to your parents about everything, and they will listen to you. Respect how they feel about things and they will respect you. Trust them and they will trust you. Show love and help them out as they have always done for you.
As for my son: Casey, I love you. You will always be my little boy, but I also love the young man you have become, and will continue to develop into. I hope we will have a strong bond your whole life – it would make me the happiest mother in the world.