After my son got on the bus for camp yesterday, I received this text from him,
Ur really annoying
Like really really annoying
My crime? I asked him to pose with his bus counselor for a photo. They were both getting into the July 4th spirit and their attire were so cute. So I thought it would be fun to take a picture of the two of them and called out to my son (already seated) to come off the bus so I could take their picture.
You know what? I am really annoying. Like really, really annoying.
Not because I asked my son to take a photo but because my son is 12 years old. He is the oldest camper on the bus and in the oldest group at day camp. He isn’t a little kid anymore. He is a tween and I embarrassed him by not respecting that boundary.
In my defense, he is my baby. Most of my mom friends were done having kids when I announced my third pregnancy. Many were surprised that I was re-opening the baby making shop after a considerable hiatus. But my husband and I never felt done. So here we were back in the land of cribs and pacifiers while our friends were moving on to restaurants without highchairs and children’s menus.
Not only was he my baby, he was a baby to his older sisters who sometimes were more like second and third mommies to him rather than siblings. They were 9 and 6 when he was born and they loved taking care of him. Aside from number 2 diapers, there was nothing they didn’t want to do for their “baby” brother.
When I would come to elementary school for pick up or class events for my daughters, mom friends and teachers would say, “Let me see the baby! “ or “The baby got so big!”. He was a novelty – so small compared to these big 3rd, 4th and 5th grade giants.
Knowing he was definitely the last baby for me, I savored every step of his babyhood. I took extra time to smell his baby shampoo head before I laid him down in for the night. I was less concerned about him meeting milestones, knowing that he would get there at his own pace. It seemed so quick that he went from crawling to walking, from bottle to cup and from crib to bed. Soon he wasn’t a baby, he was “big” boy – at least that is what I told him.
After my daughters moved on to middle and high school, I would run into people less frequently. They would ask “How is the baby?” and I’d reply he is already 6 or 7 or 8 years old. Wow the time flew! And I had to agree… It was all passing so fast.
On the first day of fifth grade, he told me he would walk alone to the bus stop on the corner. I could see him out the window, but it was still a small dagger to my heart. A few months later, he told me he was confident he could handle staying alone for a few hours during the day if I had to run errands. He could also make his own breakfast – as in pour himself a bowl of cold cereal or microwave a frozen waffle.
He still needs help with his homework and reminders to brush his teeth. He still wants to share the details of his day with me, although he prefers I not ask too many questions. He still likes to be tucked in at night – but don’t tell his friends. And if I ask him before he leaves the house, he will give me a quick kiss on the cheek before he heads out the door.
He will always be the baby of our family. But I need to remember that he is also 12 years old – a tween and in a few weeks, a teen. He is grown up in many ways even if he still has a lot of growing up to do. I have to respect that and I have to stop being like really, really annoying – especially in public. My baby isn’t a baby anymore.
About Randi Mazzella
Randi Mazzella is a mother three and freelance writer. Her work has been published in many print and online publications including She-Knows, Teen Life, Club Mid and About.com. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter @rmazz90210.