I can see it coming but I can’t stop it. My second son is 12 now and I know from experience it won’t be long until it happens: One day you’re walking along beside them and you reach for their hand and they pull away, grinning at you with that “Gee, Mom, don’t embarrass me” look they all adopt sooner or later.
No more cuddling. No more tender hugs. And especially no hand holding where anyone might see.
Oh, occasionally he will lose himself to the emotion of the moment and retreat to the spontaneous affection of childhood. But little by little it disappears. Just like the blankies and teddy bears it becomes a memory of the precious little boy who once loved rubbing my hair at nap time to help him fall asleep.
It won’t change the way we feel about each other, of course.
There will always be a strong bond there. But during the teen years that bond will have to become like the waistband on my jeans, stretching and contracting to give him room to grow.
Growing is good. I want him to grow taller. Grow stronger. Grow wiser. But never ever do I want him to grow away from me.
So until we reach the continental divide that spans childhood and being a “grown-up,” I think I’ll hold his hand a little tighter and a little longer. When he begs me to come eat lunch with him at school or to watch him practice basketball drills, I won’t tell him I’m too busy, because I see it coming. My little boy is becoming a man.