Last week my 14 year old son, Aidan, called me from school to bring him his rugby uniform. He had a practice that afternoon and he’d forgotten his stuff. I was really aggravated. It wasn’t the first time I’d have to bring him something he’d accidentally left at home, and I ‘d just reminded him, THAT MORNING, to bring whatever he needed.
When I arrived at school, the secretary offered to take his things or call him on the intercom so I could give them to him in person. I obviously wanted to see him, primarily to give him crap for interrupting my day, again.
And then he turned the corner, walked into the school’s foyer with a huge smile, and gave me an unsolicited hug.
As we stood there, his head against my shoulder and his arms around my waist, I got a lump in my throat and my eyes welled up. In that brief moment, I was acutely aware of how little he was, and how the boy in my arms wouldn’t be little for very much longer. Any day now, that growth spurt will strike and my head will soon be resting on his shoulder, my arms around his waist.
The second born of my twins, Aidan has always patiently served as the foil to his sister Sydney’s passion and drama. During pregnancy, Sydney was the difficult one, stubbornly refusing to grow, putting me on bed rest, necessitating an emergency c-section when she went into fetal distress. Aidan, by contrast, sailed through twinship in utero. She was born, all 4 pounds of her, with her eyes wide open, taking in everything she’d missed during 37 weeks on the inside. Five pound Aidan emerged and promptly fell asleep.
Little has changed since then. Between Sydney, and his little sister Skylar, Aidan can barely get a word in edgewise. Happy to let his sisters take the spotlight, the only time Aidan can really make himself heard is when he’s playing the drums.
I sometimes think his instrument of choice has little to do with loving percussion, but being able to bang out his frustration as the only boy sandwiched between two noisy girls.
Lately, Aidan’s been carefully negotiating the territory of his first year of teenagehood. He loves to hang out with his friends and walk to his grandparents’ house on his own. He spends hours coiffing his hair and uses copious amounts of cologne. He’s suddenly conscientious of his wardrobe, insisting on the Roots sweatpants/Hollister t-shirt/Nike Air Jordans uniform that every single one of his friends seems to be wearing too. He likes his door almost closed at night and prefers to confide in me when we’re sitting side-by-side in the car, eyes on the road ahead, the radio just enough of a background distraction.
But little Aidan is still in there too; when he asks me to kiss him goodnight; when he regularly volunteers to be my errand buddy; when he’s sick and wants his mom.
I feel the change coming.
In a very short time, my boy will grow taller, his shoulders will broaden and his voice will change. He’ll have better things to do than join me on Costco runs. He’ll close his door all the way and won’t need a goodnight kiss.
I’m excited for what Aidan’s future holds; to watch him negotiate the best years of his life as the kind and generous man I know he’ll be. But I also want to hold on to these days for just a little while longer. I know much I’ll miss having that head on my shoulder.