Boy Patriot

My son turned 15 almost two months ago. Somehow, amid all of the chaos of July, I simply forgot to post something about him as I’ve done for Lucy, Hermione, and Tiger.

So allow me to remedy my lapse . . .

Boy Patriot made me a mother after a long, painful struggle with infertility. It was a strange thing to become, overnight, just another patient having a normal pregnancy after I’d been seeing specialists for so long. But despite the difficulty in conceiving, carrying my firstborn was one of the most enjoyable phases of my life. I had an easy pregnancy and a semi-challenging (and for a moment, very scary) labor and delivery, and in the end, my arms cradled a healthy 8 lb, 7 oz baby boy.

It’s hard to think of him as such now. When I brought him home from the hospital, he fit perfectly on my lap. Now, he’s taller than I am. He shaves. He talks about flirting with girls. His voice is deep and resonant. He’s learning to drive. He talks of joining the Army.

He’s becoming a man.

It’s tough and rewarding to watch this transition. Perhaps the most interesting thing about it has been my own propensity to feel safe around him when Mr. P isn’t around. Not only is he transitioning into adulthood, but he’s transitioning into protector. I know I can count on Boy Patriot to defend not only me, but also his sisters, his brother, his home, his property.

I find that I don’t always know how to talk about this boy–this young man–now. I don’t see him the same way that I used to see him. I don’t see his faults and gifts and talents through the lens of my own or Mr. P’s. Rather, Boy Patriot is starting to become his own person–his own man.

We have much in common, Boy Patriot and I. It’s rewarding to have a son who enjoys fantasy and science fiction as I do. It’s fun to talk language and literature with him. He’s bright and witty, and he enjoys a good snark now and again. And I have to admit–I found it deeply rewarding when he threw Catcher in the Rye down and said, “This book is stupid, Mom. I’m not finishing it.” Score one for taste!

This is an odd stage in life–this transition, this time when he’d rather be with friends but is confined by his circumstances, when he longs to do more but is restricted by his age, when he wishes for grown-up fare and understands some grown-up things but doesn’t mind an occasional animated movie. It’s a stage where I can see the future dimly, as through a glass, but in tantalizing shades and shadows that suggest good things, great things ahead. It’s a stage of coaching–a stage where I still have a voice and still have authority, but where his decisions and opinions become more and more important each day.

There are moments these days when I see the flash of the man he is becoming–when I hear his voice pledge his all to a woman he loves, when I imagine that this face might one day be imprinted on his own son, when I envision the gray in his father’s hair flecked in his own. But there are an equal number of moments when I remember–when I see the little boy with the white-blond curls and the chubby arms, when I hear the sweet little voice that used to call me “Mommy,” when I can almost taste the moments where the full weight of toddlerhood would finally wear itself out and fall asleep on my shoulder.

Fifteen years. Fifteen years, I’ve been a mom. A mommy. Almost a third of my life devoted to parenting.

And this boy is the one who ushered me into it all.

It’s been worth every moment.



2 thoughts on “Boy Patriot

  1. Jane Wells (@BirdOnFireBook)

    This made me cry.
    By oldest, my firstborn with an also scary delivery, is 11. And he is encroaching on my airspace daily. For now, though, he is still boy. To look ahead just four short years and imagine a young man there instead is – well it’s just unimaginable. Yet oh so very inevitable.

    1. jmpadoc Post author

      It made me cry to write it. My younger son is 11. There’s a huge gap between the two boys right now. It’s amazing to think that in another four years, Tiger will be where Boy Patriot is now, and Boy Patriot will be . . . well, who knows? In the Army? In college? Falling in love? Four years seems like a long time looking forward. Four years looking backward is a blink.

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