You're getting closer to being a teen, and I'm noticing a shift. Truth be told, I'm struggling with that shift. It's sort of like when I get that call that you made the All-Star team and we'll get to watch you play four more weeks of baseball but also lose any chance at vacation the last month of the summer - I'm half cheering for it, and half like, ohhhhhh, yayyyyy sarcastically.
But no matter what, I'm always rooting for you. I'll always be your obnoxiously loud #1 cheerleader in life, so embrace it and accept it and prepare for more!
I know sometimes you get embarrassed when I'm cheering so loudly for you at whatever sporting event you're taking part in. I had a good run of about eight years where it didn't phase you to have mom yelling how proud she is of you or telling you to move your hands up higher on the bat. Now we're at the stage where you let me do my cheering but once in awhile, slip in the side-eye to show me that you already know everything there is to know and you need no more guidance. I get it. I do. I've been there, thinking the same thing about my mom.
I walk down and you're playing video games with your friends, chatting away on the headphones. When I was a kid, we talked on a phone but today, I feel like I'm saving on phone bills because you'd much rather talk through a mouthpiece on your headphones. When I ask who you're playing against, you're like, "Mom, just Jimmy and Corey, and don't say hi to them!" I used to be cool but apparently, that's faded. I get it. I do. I've been there, asking the same thing of my mom.
I know I'm nagging you more and more now, but there's just so much more to nag about. It's not just brush your teeth and make your bed and do your homework; it's wear deodorant and please pack all your homework so you don't get a zero and no you cannot bring your phone to school. And sometimes you oblige my nagging and say "Yes, mom," and sometimes you just wait until I'm done and shut the bedroom door. I get it. I do. I've been there, tired of hearing my mom's voice nagging me to do the same things day after day.
I am sitting here on my laptop, tears falling from my eyes, because I remember being twelve and thinking that my mom just didn't understand; that I knew more than she did; that she was just out to drive me crazy. And I find some peace in remembering that despite all that, I loved her so fiercely even on the days I'd never tell her so. I know you love me. Even on the days when we're both a little harder to love. I get it. I do. I've been there, and you will be someday, too.
We're both going to stumble and we're both going to fail at things; that's just life. I've been a pre-teen but times are different (school research is easier - thank you internet) and growing up is different (and way scarier) today (also, thank you for that, internet). While you're doing your best growing up and I'm doing my best to stand by you and guide you, it's not going to be a perfectly paved road. There's going to be bumps and potholes and obstacles in the roadway but just like you're there saying "It's okay Mom, tomorrow will be better," when I have a rough day, I'll always have your back in life. I'll be there to help when you need it, and be there to celebrate your achievements.
Here's the thing: I take for granted all the little things in life, including you sometimes. When you were little, I was so excited for the next big phase of your life: walking, talking, little league, kindergarten, junior high. And it's cliche and it's been said before but time really does fly. I am still so excited for each new phase of your life but as a mom, I hope you can cut me a little slack because with every new phase in your life comes a moment where it hits me that you're not so little anymore. Every day you're a little more independent; every day, you're a little bit taller; every day, you're a little bit closer to a driver's license and graduation and a thousand other things that I am so, so excited about but also so, so not ready for.
So when I hug you for an extra couple seconds, it's not to embarrass you. It's because I'm trying to squeeze in every single possible hug before, in the blink of an eye, you're grown up and moved out and getting the side-eye from your own kids.
And whether you like it or not, I'm going to cheer louder than anyone else at your games, I'm going to say hi and get to know your friends, and I'm going to nag you to do your homework and clean your room and be a good human being. You may not love it now, but I know just like I did with my mom, you'll look back one day and hopefully never have any doubt of how incredibly much I love you and how proud I am of you.
Love you always,