You don’t need me for a lot of things, but you’re not done needing me yet.

You’re becoming a man-child with you wide shoulders, big laugh, body odor, and adolescent attitude. You’re growing up in so many ways, and in so many ways you don’t need me anymore.

You don’t need me to tie your shoes or brush your teeth. You don’t need me for middle-of-the-night nightmares or for Despicable Me bandaids when you scrape your knee. You don’t need me to hold your soft squishy hand when we cross the street or to read Thomas the Train books before nap time.

But you’re not done needing me quite yet, son. I’m still here, I still have your back, and even though you’re growing up . . . you’re not grown up yet.

You still need me to listen. You need me to listen when you tell me about your day and about that kid who’s been giving you a hard time. You need me to listen to the play-by-play of your football practice and to the complete rendition of the last chapter from your favorite book.

You still need me to hug you. You might know it, or you might not, but you do. You still need me to wrap my arms around you in a way that reminds you that you aren’t on your own and that I love you no matter what.

You still need me to teach you. Feel free to enter an eye roll here, I’m ready for it. You might not see it or understand it, but you still have things to learn from us. There are new levels of responsibility, work ethic, and integrity that come as you get older and we are here for it.

You still need to be a kid. You need to be a kid as long as possible, son. You need me and your dad to carry all the burdens that come with adulthood like housing, food, bills, and transportation until it’s time and you’re ready, and believe me, we don’t want to rush it.

Be a kid as long as you can—it’s important.

You still need me to say no. You need me to say no to things that aren’t safe, or aren’t healthy, or aren’t good for you. You still need me to protect you even though you might not love it.

You still need me to remind you who you are. You need me and your dad to speak identity over you and then water that identity like crazy. You need us to speak life over who you are. You need us to tell you that you are smart, you are strong, you are amazing, you are good, you are handsome, and you are special.

So son, as you start another school year and you’re getting taller by the minute, let me remind you . . . 

You don’t need me for as many things, but you’re not done needing me yet.

And when you’re all grown up and moved out and living your own beautiful life . . . even then, you won’t need me much, but you might not be done needing me yet. Maybe you’ll only need me for that taco meat recipe or for dropping off a load of laundry, or for taking grandbabies for the day, but until the end of time, I’ll be here.

I love you with my whole heart,

Mama

Jessica Johnston

Jessica Johnston is a writer and mom of four kids. She is an avid coffee drinker, risk taker, and TMI sharer. She is a firm believer in keeping it real and believes our imperfections bring us together. She writes at https://wonderoak.com/. You can follow her there, on Facebook, and on Instagram.