When he’s 13, you may find socks in every room of the house, wonder how a party sized bag of Doritos can disappear in one afternoon, and smell Axe body spray in every corner of your home. 

When he’s 13, you most likely will hear deep, dramatic sighs when you ask him to vacuum the stairs, wash a dish, or look up from his iPhone. You may very well feel like a broken record as the same tape plays from your weary lips—pick up your crap, take out the dog, is that clean underwear? You may also feel like an Uber driver, chauffeuring him to practice, friend’s houses, the mall. 

When he’s 13 you may feel a pang as you pass Gymboree and enter Game Stop, where you put down a deposit for a ridiculously expensive Thanos Infinity gauntlet. You surprise yourself when you can name all five Infinity stones, then surprise yourself even more when 13 drags you to see Infinity War and you shed tears over Spider Man’s demise. Ditto for Starlord. 

When he’s 13, you may ponder how one person can emit so much gas, and take such delight in it. You begin cracking the windows in the car, steer clear of tacos, and discourage any burping, even if it is the chorus to Stairway To Heaven

When he’s 13, you may catch a look of sheer horror on his face, as he helps you fold the laundry and accidentally touches on of your bras. He makes the same face when your underwear peeks out over your jeans, you refer to any male as handsome, or attempt to do the floss. Ditto for the dab. 

When he’s 13, you may grow wary of his Instagram “fame” and Snapchat “friends”, and find yourself using phrases as “who’s DMing you now?” 

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When he’s 13 you may be shocked that, never much of a gamer before, he now spends hours playing a game called Fortnite. He seems to relish shooting people. You then text every mother in your contacts, who assure you that yes, their sons are obsessed as well. 

When he’s 13, he will make you cry. He will push away your hand so abruptly  when you go to tousle his blonde locks it may break your heart. He will roll his eyes, speak in grunts, and find hugs to be completely embarrassing . . . most of the time. When he allows you to embrace him you will rejoice, breath in his sweet scalp, and remember when he used to live in your arms, in your belly. 

When he’s 13, he may become obnoxiously snotty, looking down at your ideas, suggestions and requests. He may say words you didn’t think were even in his vocabulary, and you will immediately miss the days when he thought stupid was a curse word. 

When he’s 13, he may shock you when you take him for his Gardasil vaccine, and he coolly asks the pediatrician—so this protects me if I have oral sex too? 

When he’s 13, you may be in awe over how man-like and child-like he can be at the same time, as his voice sounds as if a marshmallow is being dragged through gravel. 

When he’s 13, he will be able to munch chips, check his Insta feed, and watch The Walking Dead all at the same time, but will not be able to finish one algebra problem without your prompting. Ditto for cleaning up the dog doo in the hallway. 

When he’s 13, he will want to talk, but only on his terms, without a lecture, and usually in the car. This way he doesn’t have to look you in the eye. Don’t judge him. Remember, you did stupid things as a teenager too. 

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When he’s 13, he may toss all his beloved stuffed animals, except that one. This may kill you, but let him purge, for at least “Pandy” made the final cut, and now watches you from beneath his pious spot on the top of the armoire. 

When he’s 13, you may bleakly look for that apple-cheeked toddler who would wake nightly, crawl into your cool bed, and discuss his recurring dinosaur nightmare with you. You may seek out that chubby seven-year-old, whose eyes lit up when you picked him up from school each day. Now? A surly youth shuffles to the car, red-faced because you are playing Fleetwood Mac in the car, not AJR. God forbid. 

When he’s 13, you will look at him with the same awe you did when he was a sparrow small newborn, and you a first-time mother. You will marvel at his growth, both physically and spiritually, stunned that this is the same boy who carried a Fiona and Shrek doll around with him wherever he went. 

When he’s 13, you may choke on the lump in your throat and ugly cry as you iron his 8th grade graduation gown. 

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When he’s 13, you will feel more blessed than when he was a scrunched up little baby, because you have had the privilege of watching in utter amazement this child, slowly becoming a young man. 

When he’s 13, enjoy it mama. You may have to enjoy it through tears, but enjoy 13. 

Thirteen will take your breath away. 

This book has been a go-to for our boys as they transition into young men. We thought yours might like it, too! Is he too busy to sit and read? No sweat. He can listen to it here, on Audible.

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Claudia Caramiello

Claudia Caramiello is a certified pharmacy technician by day, freelance writer by night, mother of two teen sons both day and night. Hailing from New Jersey, she survives single motherhood on caffeine, humor, and listening to Twenty One Pilots. Her articles have been featured on Scarymommy, Bluntmoms, Sammiches and psych meds, Elephant Journal, and Moms & Stories. You can find her on Facebook at Espresso & Adderall and read more from Claudia on her blog, https://wordblush.com/