Yesterday Addison came home from school and asked if we could go to his middle school's football game at 4:30 p.m. "Sure," I told him, because I knew he wanted to go, and I can see the field from my front door, so the fact that it's right there made that decision easy.
His friend was dropped off at our house, we put the leash on the dog, and two minutes later we were at the game. Addison had misplaced his phone, so I told him I'd stay in the same spot so he could find me easily.
Within 30 seconds, I realized I was in 'tween hell. I was instantly transported back to middle school (I went to junior high, if they even still have those. I don't remember sixth grade at all.) In a rush came back all my insecurities. I saw the pretty girls, the ones who were already wearing make-up and getting their hair cut at expensive salons. I saw the rocker chicks, wearing their high-top sneakers and skinny jeans. I saw the nerds, the group of Hispanics kicking around a soccer ball, and the misfits.
I turned and looked around. I saw Addison and his friend talking with other kids, and talking with girls. That's when it hit me, HARD. My son, all 11 years of him, was no longer a little boy. He may not technically be a teenager, but he's in that world already. My heart about broke right there. His simple life of Spongebob reruns is over. His life is now about girls, Facebook, texting, sports, school, and more.
I want to protect him. I want to let him know his heart will be broken; he will have friends who turn out to not be true friends; and many more life lessons we have all learned at some point. But I can't. I can't shelter him forever, and this is the hard part of being a mother.
I've never told anyone, but when I was about six months pregnant, I woke up in the middle of the night one time and couldn't go back to sleep. Something made me go into his nursery and sit in the recliner. Looking down at my stomach and knowing my son was in there unlocked some sort of deep emotion in me. I began crying, and started to talk to God.
"God, please, please, let him be okay. That's all I ask. I promise I will be the best mother possible to him, if you just help me out on this part." I went on like this for awhile, and every so often, I thank God for listening to me that night. I try hard to make good on my promise.
Raising Addison is one of the most rewarding things I've ever done as a human being. I'm proud to say I'm his mother.