He towered over me, right there in the middle of the kitchen while I was making dinner. I looked up into a face I barely recognized, and his tall frame leaned in ever so slightly as he looked down on me. This newfound physicality was different for both of us.
Me, looking up into the defiant face of my 15-year-old son. He, awkwardly asserting his testosterone-fueled independence. I placed my hands on my hips and even stood on my tiptoes a little, desperately trying to find some extra authority. I’ll even admit to shaking my pointer finger at him at some stage trying to convince his adolescent brain it was a firm NO to his request. Our conversation ended abruptly with an arrogant toss of his head as he strode away.
It was then that I knew. I may have won the outcome this time. But I had lost the battle. More than that, I felt like I had lost him.
Where had my little boy gone? Our conversations used to be reasonable and respectful, filled with please and thank you and boy bear hugs. We talked mostly about simple things, apart from the odd friendship trouble. Things like swim practice and school, soccer and how far he threw the discus at athletics training that afternoon.
I wanted to stay in a place where our days were predictable, ordered, and safe. But with the toss of his head, that eye roll, and his taller-than-me frame, a new era had announced itself. An era I wasn’t ready for.
I silently pleaded with God. Please can this mama and her little boy stay here, just a moment longer?
My prayer was met with silence. It was the immature prayer of a desperate mama who found herself feeling out of her depth. Deep down I knew the answer. Of course, my son had to grow beyond me. This mama inevitably had to lose a few battles between the boy becoming the man.
It was yet another season of parenting that carried new challenges. New challenges for both of us. But ultimately, the greatest challenge necessary for this season was making itself abundantly clear. It was not about the battles won or lost.
It was about this mama, loving her boy unconditionally, for as long as it would take, for the man he was destined to become to emerge.