You watch them take their first steps. You listen to their first giggles. You hang their finger paintings on the refrigerator with alphabet shaped magnets. You tear up when they get shots, and fall off their bikes. You pick them up, dust them off, hold them tight….
Then one day, you wake up… and they’re teenagers. Or even worse, TWEENagers.
They’re mean. They’re snarky. Sarcastic. Smelly. Hormonal. Sneaky. Smarter than everyone else alive. Conniving. Liars. Expensive. Dramatic. Trendy. Selfish. Whiney. Bratty.
They’ve become these little shells of creatures that used to be so genuinely happy to be around you. Now they bite at your hand when you reach out to help them.
Every once in a while you catch a glimpse of that little person, locked up behind their eyes. A random, I love you mom, text comes through. Or they’ll laugh and joke around while sporadically helping make dinner. Little glimpses, little reminders. They’re still in there somewhere… fighting their own battles with school, siblings, and life. Looking desperately to find their place in the world, and trying their damndest to grow up to quickly.
I sip my wine, from the back porch after they’ve all finally given up their fighting for the day and fallen asleep. I begin to pen a letter to my mother, but the only words I see on the page are these:
You were right. I love you. Oh, and I’m sorry.