It’s official. The tweens are amongst us. Well. Me.

I am surrounded.

My 11 year old son has shown the early signs of impending TEEN-HOOD. His little 9 year old brother mimics every move.

How do I know we’re here? Well, according to my wise “older-mom” friends, who smirk with laughter and gaze at me with a knowing nod and eyes that sparkle at my predicament, it’s the TWEEN YEARS.

The impetuous precursor to puberty, teen angst, and bizarre bouts of self-discovery.

I shouldn’t be shocked by my 11 year old’s behavior. I have two brothers. One older. One younger. I was there and observed all of the teen years erupt before my parents. However, it didn’t happen to me (wink, wink). I’m the middle child.

But now that I’m living with the actual tween and the amplified attitude, coupled with silent moods and cringe at the twister of emotion and venom back talk? I hate it. I hate the TWEEN years.

I know this will pass, all the biology text books and life education classes prove it.

But dang.

How long does it last? And How many more years do I have to survive this?

I miss the randomness of his kindness and sweetness. I know he misses it too.

He says he doesn’t want snuggles at bed time because it’s “baby-ish”, so, I just sit and read one of his comic books out loud, and he falls asleep with his hand on mine.

He doesn’t like me kissing him on the head or cheek when we part ways at school, but, he still squeezes my hand before I walk away.

He used to loves snuggling close to me when we watch scary movies, then when I get up to turn on all the lights, he crawls under the blanket with me and says “I saw through that plot line the whole time!”

When he has a bad wipe out on his skateboard or BMX bike, he walks away from me, with his head down, and his hands dart up to his eyes. He doesn’t look at me because he knows I can see his fear.

When he went to sleep away camp for the first time, he announced he wasn’t scared or nervous. But when it was time for me to go, he searched my eyes for tears for proof he wouldn’t cry too.

I know I can’t stop time. Despite all the grumbling, arguing, groaning, whining, and chore resistance, he’s still just a little kid. Trying to find out who he is and where he belongs in this crazy world.

And I can wait a little longer for him to reach that next stage: College-Hood.

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Deb Burke

I grew up in the picturesque town of Madison, Wisconsin. That's the only normal thing about me. I also grew up in a family shoe repair business and soon learned that child labor laws don't apply to family businesses. I left Madison to finish college in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Here I became a spelunker, a cyclist, a mountain trail runner, an avid hot air balloon watcher (much to the dismay of the drivers behind me) and quite the connoisseur of green chili cheese burgers. Eventually, I fell in love, had 2 children, bought a house, and then got married (in that order). Life is certainly crazy keeping up with my two boys!

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