14 is sulking shoulders, guttural sighs, melodramatic eye rolls when you can’t tell the difference between Josh Dun and Tyler Joseph of Twenty One Pilots. 

14 is armpit hair, long colt-like legs. Peach fuzz. 

14 is a lot of Fortnite, YouTube, and memes that you don’t understand. 

14 is binge watching both Riverdale and Full House at the same time. 

14 thinks the teenagers in Stranger Things are awesome. 

14 still won’t eat his vegetables. 

14 finds public hugging revolting.

 14 thinks you know nothing, and keeps you at an arm’s length. 

14 speaks in a series of grunts and mumbles.

 14 would make an excellent extra on The Walking Dead

14 now walks a few steps ahead of you, not beside you. 

14 is also a couple of inches taller than you.

14 doesn’t smell like Dreft and baby powder anymore.

14 watches Rudy with you, and to your delight, loves it. 

14 is a complex ball of teenage hormones. 

14 is awkward in his own skin. 

14 won’t sing along to the car radio in front of you. 

14 doesn’t think you’re cool anymore. 

14 is correct. 

 14 is lounging on the couch. When the warm amber light hits his face in a certain way, you almost mistake him for his father. 

14 isn’t a child, but not quite a man. 

14 is in a suburb of adulthood. 

14 prefers his phone over you. 

14 breaks your heart. 

14 tests your patience. 

14 breaks the rules. 

14 awakens love so exquisite, it scares you. 

14’s voice cracks and squeaks in the most endearing way. He speaks, and you envision a baby giraffe trying to stand for the first time. When 14 finds his voice, it’s as deep as a bass guitar. 

14 says he doesn’t need you. This is usually true. Unless the WiFi isn’t working, he’s hungry, or he has a pretty big problem. This makes you both happy and sad. 

Proud and mournful. 

Excited and crestfallen. 

You never realized how possible it is for two such contradictory emotions to exist at the same time. 

14 sneaks up on you.

Where is that postpartum 29-year-old, standing barefoot on the cool floor at 2 a.m. moons of milk staining your nightgown? Weren’t you just peering over a gingham bassinet, thanking God, the universe, your genes for a healthy baby? 

You could never picture 14 as 14. Until of course he was 14. At one time you could only imagine him as your baby. For years time was on your side. 14 was nowhere in sight. Then one day, there he is. 

14 showed up when you least expected him, but when you needed him most. 

14 still needs his mom. 

14 will never ever admit this. 

14 needs a safe place where 14 can be 14. 

14 is confused, illuminated by a series of neurons firing rapidly inside his not-quite-developed brain. 

14 is strikingly handsome. 

14 is fiercely sullen one day, exuberantly buoyant the next.  

14 is shaggy hair, smelly socks, and Adidas hoodies. 

14 can do a load of laundry. 

14 can not however, fold this laundry. 

14 is hard to catch. Much like a toddler, 14 is always hurrying off to discover something new, but without turning around to check if you are still there watching. 

14 proves every word in Love You Forever is true. 

14 is growing up. 

14 is letting go. 

14 will always be your baby. 

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Claudia Caramiello

Claudia Caramiello is a pharmacy technician by day, freelance writer by night, mother of two sons both day and night. Hailing from New Jersey, she is surviving single motherhood on caffeine and humor. You can find her on Facebook at Espresso & Adderall and read more from Claudia on her blog, https://wordblush.com/