I wasn’t planning on sitting down to write about my son Alex, but it seems to be what I need or rather want to do right now instead of chores. I came to the computer to check to see if he had sent an email. Right now, he is down in Denver at a technology conference for three days with 25 other students from his school. And, I miss him.
Alex and I in some ways are very much alike. We wear our hearts on our sleeves, we value and invest a lot in our friendships and family, we are both the oldest of three, and we look a lot alike- much to his dismay. He was a happy baby, an easy and joyful toddler and fun kid. Of course he is still all those things, but adolescence is kicking in and he and I find ourselves in new territory with one another. He is all over the place… and in turn, so am I. Our rhythm together is off… as it should be.
He is pushing for his independence one second, can’t remember anything the next, and then has a brilliant idea following. Spontaneous bursts of tears are often followed by crazy laughter and soon after a surprisingly quiet and gentle moment with a cousin or younger brother. Honestly, this time can be so frustrating and hilarious at the same time. Trying to guide him well right now is proving to be a much greater challenge than I anticipated at this point. Sometimes I feel like I do well, but more often I find that I am falling on my face as much if not more than he is. It is terrifying. I so need to get this right. The stakes seem higher than ever before.
Last night, sitting by the fire with Ry and Chachi, Chris and I got a glimpse of what life will be like in a handful of years when Alex leaves the coop. Sometimes, we can’t help but go there. A friend recently wrote about sending her eldest daughter off to college and realizing she would pretty much be living life on her own terms. I had a bit of a shockwave hit. How could I possibly teach Alex all that he needs to know to be able to do just that in only 6 more years? But as he sloppily packed his bag Wednesday night and had that wild spark in his eyes from the anticipation of a new adventure, I felt a total calm hit instead. Alex loves and adores going out into the world. His curious nature, his comfort in his own skin, his great attitude and more laid back (sometimes too laid back – don’t get me started.. grrr….Hahaha… grrrrr! See the craziness?) nature, and his strong sense of what is right and wrong gives him all he needs to do to go off, learn, try and have a great experience.
|Alex at Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Jenny Kruckeberg|
When Alex left the house on Thursday morning, he was really affectionate. I got lots of kisses and hugs. With Alex, I have played the game I love you for every________ in the world for 9 years now. And of course, we are always trying to one up the other. As he walked out the door, snow was falling and I told him I loved him for every snowflake in the world. He turned and gave me a big and wide-eyed grin, flashed the sign for “I love you” with his hand and then took off running with pure excitement towards Chris’s truck ready to begin his adventure. He didn’t have to say a thing, but he one-upped me in that moment and I think he knew it.