I’m not going to lie.
Raising little boys is tough.
Once, when my twin boys were nearly two, nap time turned my sweet and gently waking little boys into master Houdinis. These boys somehow stealthily removed the most securely fastened clothing available to
man toddler, only to shed their fully loaded diapers. I can still remember the smell that permeated the hallway outside their room. Wide-eyed and partly in shock, I entered the nursery like an uninvited guest walks into a frat party gone wild.
The crap had hit the ceiling. Literally. Who knew the projectile of turds could actually defy modern day physics. But they did.
Then there was the time our boys’ preschool director ever-so-gently suggested that they, at three, “perhaps would be better off waiting to begin preschool at four.” Sugarcoating aside, my boys were getting kicked out of preschool. Apparently, “hugs” between twin brothers had escalated into WWE-style takedowns. On a fairly regular basis.
Another moment I’ll never forget happened in the first grade. One of the twins decided to get really creative with word families. Like a little genius, he went down that alphabet rhyming every “uck” word he could. I can still picture the pride on his little face when he declared to the class his word created with the letter “f”.
Seriously. In the early years raising boys, crashing elbows and flying dump trucks marked many if not most of the walls and furniture in our home. “Street-darting” became an Olympic sport for a short time for us. And clothing was apparently “optional” after a long day at elementary school.
As parents of little boys, my husband and I were exhausted.
All. the. time.
But then something happened! Something glorious! Something magical. Something we suspected was intangible.
Our wild world of boy . . . suddenly grew calm.
Allow me to be the one to let you in on a few hidden truths about 12-year-old boys.
There will come a time at which the Gods of Parenting come together to rejoice and shower upon you an Utopia that is . . . the 12-year-old boy.
Truly. Really. Honestly. Boys, around the age of 12, become easy-going, slightly less exhausting, and just plain pleasant to be around.
What makes the 12-year-old boy so incredible you might ask?
The 12-year-old boy might unexpectedly join you as you’re enjoying your morning cup of Joe. He doesn’t want anything from you. He simply wants to hang out.
The 12-year-old boy might not only compliment your cooking, but, he will begin to request your meals. In turn, you want to cook for this 12-year-old boy until his belly’s content.
The 12-year-old boy will say, probably after you’ve prepared one of his favorite meals, the two most beautiful words ever: Thanks, Mom.
The 12-year-old boy will probably reveal to you his school crush.
The 12-year-old boy will allow you to cuddle him. He often puts his arm around you. (Probably not in public, and definitely not in front of his friends.)
The 12-year-old boy won’t hesitate to ask you a personal or otherwise guarded question.
The 12-year-old boy now asks to hear your stories.
The 12-year-old boy begins to demonstrate a newfound sense of responsibility. He starts and finishes homework without a single reminder.
The 12-year-old boy will probably ask, How are YOU, Mom? Or, How was YOUR day?
The 12-year-old boy might begin to to model chivalry, opening doors in your path.
The 12-year-old boy will likely appear eager to do odd jobs such as mowing lawns and pet-sitting for neighbors.
The 12-year-old boy might stand taller than you.
The 12-year-old boy often “teases” you, lovingly.
The 12-year-old boy carries your groceries inside without being asked.
The 12-year-old boy sometimes ponders deep questions about life and things that really matter in the world.
The 12-year-old boy begins to show you that all those little seeds you planted starting so long ago have taken root. You begin to see reflections of some of your best parenting.
As far as the 12-year-old girl, I can’t say what that’s like yet. My daughter’s nine. But trust me, when it comes to raising boys, 12 is a very good year.
Look forward to it.
And never wish it gone, even when the 12-year-old boy resorts back to his three-year-old self from time to time.
My boys, those same little stinkers who threw poop all over their bedroom at nearly two, turn 13 this month.
They are now boys on their way to becoming young men. (Sigh)
As I watch them usher in this new stage, I realize, life as a mom of teenage boys will probably be a lot different.
I realize that my now teenage boys might duck out of sight when they spot me across the school parking lot. They’ll probably want to date soon, too. And, I’m prepared that on some nights, dinners with friends at Whataburger might trump requests for mom’s meals. But while the idea of raising boys into young men is bittersweet, remember this: A very cool thing about growing older and raising older children—boys or girls—is that you begin to realize the greatness of every stage.
And when you think you can’t possibly love this child any more, you do. You will, with each and every passing birthday.