Last week my son had his braces removed after 2 and half years. The results were amazing, although his teeth were not bad to begin with. He smiled so much that day that by the end of it his jaws were sore.
After the orthodontist removed the braces and cleaned his teeth, he took numerous pictures for the file. We all sat there in awe as we studied each photo. I had to choke back the tears as I looked at the pictures that were taken in the very beginning. It wasn’t the sight of his straight pearly whites that got me going, but the change in his physical appearance.
When we got home, he went to his room to share the news with his friends via cell; I poured myself some tea and sat on the sofa wondering where those 2 and half years went and how he got so damn big.
He was soon to be 12 when the metal went into his mouth. There were no signs of puberty at the time. His voice was as girly as ever, his hair was kept longer, and he was a little chunky. He stayed close to me and was still depending on me for love and support. Somewhere in those 2 and half years he turned into a young man. His voice has deepened, his hair is kept neat and short, and he is slimmer, and taller than I am. Facial hair is being shaved off (I don’t know when that started happening), his chest has broadened, his shoulders have widened, and he is more responsible, mature, and private – he closes his bedroom door, but I can hear him in there talking to girls. He doesn’t cling to me anymore, but still depends on me for love and support, although not in the same way.
“Mom, take me to the mall. Ma, get me a drink. Ma, where’s my allowance?” This is my love and support. Gone are the days when I sat on the floor with him playing Little People farm house. Gone are the days when we went shopping to the mall and eating french fries at Zellers restaurant. Gone are the days when I read to him while he snuggled close to me under the blankets before going to sleep.
Not only was he a good child, but he was a good baby as well: very pleasant, rarely cranky, never unmanageable. Perhaps I was lucky, perhaps all those psychology books I read made a difference, perhaps it was because I just loved him so damn much that he grew to be an intelligent, wonderful, loving, kind-hearted, fun, loyal individual, with a great sense of humor and respect for others. (Yes, he has my bad qualities too, but there is more good than bad.) I know that he will continue to grow into a respectable, hard-working, successful person because I’ve seen how he copes, how he adapts, and how he conquers the difficult things in his life.
I miss that baby who wrapped his little arms around my neck. I miss that toddler who always woke up happy after an afternoon nap. I miss that pre-schooler who loved Play-doh, Boohbahs, and Treehouse. I miss that little boy who took my hand while crossing the street. All I have left of those times are photos and memories. Where did the time go? I ask myself, but as soon as I look at my son, I realize where it went, and I wouldn’t wish that time back for the world.
He’s at another chapter in his life, as I am in another chapter in mine. His first year at high school has brought on other challenges, such as peer pressure, but I’m sure he’ll make it through. I’ve always helped him solve his problems by giving him several solutions and letting him choose the best way. Pretty soon he’ll be in university, making more difficult choices about his future and living it up at the same time. All I want is for him to be happy and content with his life, with his choices, and have small regrets. And if he tells his own children that he had a happy childhood and that he grew up in a loving and caring home, without criticism and judgment, then I will die a happy mother, knowing that I did at least one thing right in this world.
“Ma! Can we go get Popeye’s?!”
I finish the last bit of tea in my cup and I wipe the tears from my eyes.
|Elementary Graduation Day, June, 2014|