My son is 12. I check his web search history and read his texts. He knows I do. I want to make sure he’s on the right path, so for now, I’m all up in his business. (We’ll save the privacy debate for another time. )
Recently, I was looking at his search history and found something that broke my heart. (To protect his privacy, I’m not saying what it was.) Oh, man. It was like a punch in the gut. It still hurts my heart just to think about it. Why did it hit me so hard? Not because it was something shocking or bad. Because it made me realize how much I miss my son.
There was a time he and I were inseparable. We did everything together. We talked about everything. He never hesitated to ask me questions, about anything. It was me and him. We were buddies. Then, things changed. Mostly for the better, sure, but still… I got a promotion and had less time. His little brother came along. Puberty came along. Girls came along.
Now he’s this pre-teen boy with secrets who won’t be seen with his mother. Who won’t hug or kiss his mother (God no!). Who won’t talk to his mother. I don’t know how to reach him. And I miss him. I miss him somethin’ awful, as my Gram used to say.
Here’s a boy who for years started every morning by curling up in my lap for a few minutes. Every. Morning. I tell you, there is no better way to start the day. Now, I’m lucky if I get a “good morning” grunt.
And every day would end with us snuggled in his bed, with books and bears and talk of what we did that day, and what we’d do tomorrow. Now, I get a quick “good night” and when I go in for a kiss I’m met with a turned cheek and an eye roll.
And now he’s a young man who Googles things instead of asking his mother.
I know it’s normal. (I hope?) Boys grow into men and to do that they must change, and pull away from their mommies and start to figure things out on their own. But when I see that my boy, my baby, is looking for answers to something, and that looking doesn’t include me, I want to go full on momma bear.
I’m not gonna lie. I worry. I worry that it’s not normal and this divide between us is something I did. Or some pain he’s harboring. Or something that went wrong. (WHY DIDN’T HE ASK ME?!) I worry about him a lot.
So, what do I do? How do I get this man-child with the thin mustache and croaky voice to open up to me? Is that even possible? And how to I deal with the guilt I have for my part in this? Was there something I could have done to prevent this chasm? Should I have been more engaged?
It’s not all bad. We still have “our time.” I do my best to make time for him alone. We have movie dates, which are my favorite. And we do talk. But mostly about lacrosse and Nirvana and which Avenger would kick which Avenger’s butt and how the Beatles influenced most music we hear today. But not about how to talk to girls. Or navigating middle school society. Or the thing he Googled.
I miss my baby boy.