I was sitting in the car line yesterday like I have done 1,560 times before when a boy who I recognized walked by my car.

It was 3 p.m. and school was out. This meant kids flooded out of the building and began zig-zagging through the rows of cars to find their ride home.

I was about five cars back in the third row over. In this spot, I cannot see the group of kids who, by this point, have huddled in clusters at the bottom of the steps. I know they are there because I have the scene sketched in my memory. I really don’t need a real-life visual at this point.

RELATED: Dear Son, Now That You’re a Teenager

I don’t know what that after school parking lot congregation means to these kids, but I like to imagine the burst of time spent immediately after being set free from their duties brings a bit of solace and even excitement. 

As a parent of a teenager, I find myself doing a lot of comparing, contrasting, and conjuring up of what is truly going on in my son’s world.

I am learning that slowly letting go of his childhood doesn’t mean I am really in control of that process at all. It just happenswithout my consent and without fail.

One day, I woke up, my son walked out of his room, and he was no longer a kid. He was a young man. He opened the fridge door to grab some breakfast. I watched him in the glow of the refrigerator light and saw a more defined silhouette of an adult. That child of mine was gone. 

We have the tooth fairy, Easter bunny, and Santa. I was convinced at that moment that there is also a midnight troll that comes to wipe away our kid’s chubby cheeks and replace them with a new creature full of hormones, attitudes, and just a person who is, overall, unrecognizable. 

Which brings me to the boy in the blue shirt at that middle school. 

At first, I noticed how tall he was. As he got closer, I was marveling over his broad shoulders.

RELATED: And Then, He’s 14

When he reached the point where I could really magnify his face, I saw a defined jawline and eyes that were strong and steady. 

At that same moment, I still saw this young man as the little boy running and hopping down the elementary school steps. 

I saw his rosy, red, and chubby cheeks with a grin slapped carelessly across his face. I saw his innocent eyes darting quickly left and right and the uncertainty of where he was going to find his ride home. I saw him struggle to get his big backpack into that car and his little brown-haired head barely poking up over the back seat. 

Surely, this was not the same person. I guessed that the troll got to him, too.

I felt my heart squeeze tight, and it pushed those familiar tears of reminiscent glory into the corners of my eyes.

RELATED: He’s Right in Front of Me, But Sometimes I Miss My Son

I was surprised that something I should have seen coming had caught me off guard so quickly.

And yet, here we are. Moms of teenagers. 

We were told it was coming, but we chose to ignore the signs. We decided in our hearts that our kids would really never grow up and that naughty troll would undeniably skip over the class of 2025.

This year proved to me that all my denials of this natural process could not be contained because my son is exhibiting otherwise. 

Even though I may be sad that he is no longer little, I can still cling to the memories I have been gifted with through today. 

We keep clinging and they keep letting go. I guess it’s the name of the game, and I had better get used to it.

PS – Your son growing up is the slowest breakup you’ll ever know.

Originally published on the author’s Facebook page

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Laura Hurd

 I am a stay at home mom to two beautiful boys, my youngest having been diagnosed with Autism. Our family motto is that the little things are the big things.

I Want to Be My Teen’s Friend, but First I Have to Be His Mother

In: Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Teen boy smiling wearing a hoodie

He’s 13. I could stop there, and most parents would simply shake their heads, give me a look of sympathy, and simply say, “It gets better.” My too-cool-for-school kid did a complete 180 in his seventh-grade year. Always at the top of his class academically, he stopped studying, stopped doing homework, stopped caring about grades. I tried to talk to him about it, but all I got were eye rolls, barely audible teenage slang that made no sense to this Gen-X mom, and the slamming of a door. He doesn’t even need the large “Stay Out” poster on his bedroom...

Keep Reading

Dear Daughter as You Grow into Yourself

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Girl in hat and dress-up clothes, color photo

My daughter, I watched you stand in front of the mirror, turning your body left and right. Your skirt was too big and your top on backward. Your bright blue eyeshadow reached your eyebrows and bold red blush went up to your ears. You didn’t care. I watched you marvel at your body, feeling completely at ease in your skin. You turned and admired yourself with pride. You don’t see imperfections. You don’t see things you are lacking. You see goodness. You see strength. RELATED: Daughter, When You Look in the Mirror, This is What I Hope You See I’m...

Keep Reading

My Child with Special Needs Made His Own Way in His Own Time

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding child's hand walking across street

I want to tell you the story of a little boy who came to live with me when he was three years old. Some of you may find this story familiar in your own life. Your little boy or girl may have grown inside you and shares your DNA or maybe they came into your life much older than three. This little boy, this special child, my precious gift has special needs. Just five short years ago, he was a bit mean and angry, he said few understandable words, and there was a lot about this world he didn’t understand. Unless...

Keep Reading

When the Grandparents Are Still Working, Your Support System Looks Different

In: Grown Children, Motherhood
Child kissing grandma on cheek

I had my kids in my 20s, and yes it was hard, but probably not for the reason you think. People discourage you from having kids young because it could jeopardize your career, keep you from traveling, or eat into your savings, etc. For me, my kids are my world, and I don’t think I jeopardized anything by having them. They can travel with my husband and me. My savings account isn’t as cushioned as it was before I had my kids, but that doesn’t matter to me. The most difficult thing about having kids in my 20s is not having...

Keep Reading

Here’s to the Friends Who Don’t Hide Their Messy Parts

In: Friendship, Motherhood
Two women sit in a field with arms around each other

To the friend who invited me over without picking her house up beforehand . . . thank you.  You had no way of knowing, but I’ve been especially weighed down by the feeling of “I can’t keep up” lately—and when I walked into your beautiful home and saw dishes in the sink and laundry scattered here and there, I let out the deepest exhale I didn’t even realize I was holding in.  Because seeing your mess? Your less-than-perfect? It didn’t make me think any differently of you, but it did allow me to give myself the grace I desperately needed....

Keep Reading

Hand-Me-Downs Come with Spots, Stains, and Sweet Memories

In: Motherhood
Hand me down clothes folded in a box

The newborn announcement pictures are precious. The new pastel-colored onesie that doesn’t quite fit the baby with pockets of fabric that have to be folded back to peak at the little, wrinkled fingers tipped with translucent nails. The little hat that covers their soft, fuzzy head will never be worn again, but it completely makes the outfit. We often love to capture our little ones’ adorable moments and milestones. However, it can be quite challenging and costly to keep up with the expectation of dressing them in fully styled outfits, especially as they grow from babies to toddlers and then...

Keep Reading

This Is a Mom’s Brain in the Middle of the Night

In: Living, Motherhood
Woman looking at smartphone in the middle of the night

Dear husband, let me introduce you to your wife, insomnia edition. You see me not sleeping. You see me “playing” on my phone. Here’s what my brain is actually doing . . .  It’s 2 a.m., I wake up thinking, “I need to make an appointment” (it can be as mundane and stupid as a haircut or more importantly, a specialist appointment for one of the kids). I try to go back to sleep, promising myself I will remember. Lying there, I tell myself I won’t forget. I will remember, don’t worry. Fifteen minutes go by . . . On...

Keep Reading

Organized Sports Aren’t Everything

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young girl with Alpaca, color photo

Today I watched my little girl walk an alpaca. His name is Captain. Captain is her favorite. He’s my favorite too. I met his owner on Instagram of all places. She thought I was in college; I thought she was a middle-aged woman. Turns out, she is in high school, and I am a middle-aged woman. This random meeting led to a blessing. We call it “llama lessons.” We take llama lessons every other week. It’s an hour away on the cutest hobby farm. Our “teacher” is Flora, who boards her llamas at the alpaca farm. She wants to teach...

Keep Reading

Her Future Will Not Be My Broken Past

In: Living, Motherhood
Mother and daughter hold hands by water, silhouette photo

Forty years ago, you were an innocent child. You were brought into this world for a purpose. Your innocence is robbed before kindergarten by a trusted relative. You are broken and bruised by those entrusted to protect you. You are extremely emotional in your childhood, but no one listens to understand. As you grow into your teenage years, emotions are bottled up out of fear. You lean into promiscuous behavior because that is the only way you know how to get men to love you. Because of abuse that no one took you out of, you stay around those who...

Keep Reading

You Came between Us

In: Marriage, Motherhood
Toddler between mom and dad under sheet

Right in the middle of our deepest love, you came—just between us. A silent, unseen surprise. A mysterious miracle of incarnated love and joy. From that sacred moment that we couldn’t imagine being any sweeter, came you. Sometime in the middle of all the daily goodbye hugs, my stomach began to grow and you came between us. This beautiful bundle of life blossoming right inside of me. And we were in awe of every single tiny formation of you. In awe of who you were, excited by who you’d be, in awe that you were ours. You came between us...

Keep Reading