Tomorrow, my house is going to be overrun with a dozen or so teenage boys. They’ll play some basketball, go to the field to throw the football around and then come inside and take over the den. If they can all fit in there.
You see, my baby is turning 15.
Gulp. How the heck did that happen?
One minute, I’m walking along Spring Street in NYC, watching my husband eat a slice of Ben’s pizza while I’m holding on to a pole waiting for my latest contraction to pass. Hoping that I’m dilated enough for the doctor to send me to the hospital.
The next minute, I’m living in Florida, divorced and re-married, and getting my house ready for an onslaught of testosterone fueled teenagers. Bottles of water and Gatorade. A huge bag of veggie sticks from Costco. And a coupon to help defray the cost of the eight pizzas I’m going to order for their lunch.
Quite different from the birthday parties we had when he was younger. Like when he turned four. We rented a pavilion at the beach and hired someone dressed as Woody, from Toy Story, to entertain the kids. Woody came with his own handler, an older woman who was really mean. Plus, it rained in the morning so we got nervous and changed the plan and had it at our house. Not my finest moment.
No, we’re long past those days of sending out sports-themed party invitations. Of making goody bags. (Oh, how I hated those.) And waffling over how many kids could spend the night. My kid’s not even calling this a birthday party. He’s just having more friends over at one time than I would usually be able to tolerate. And he’s really excited.
And, for the most part, so am I.
It’s just that I’m feeling a little nostalgic. I pulled out his photo album yesterday and looked through it. The one I did during his first year of life. (It kind of stops after that.) From the days when you actually took film to the store to have it processed. And it put me in that place where you kind of panic a bit because, oh no, you can’t stop time. And how did he get from there to here? And where is he going?
So sure, I can lament his getting older and mourn the things that are no more. Like the types of conversations we used to have that would start with him, always curious, asking me, “What would happen if…” Or the way he used to end so many of his statements with “Right, Mommy?” Or the fact that I can’t help him with his homework anymore because no, I don’t remember Calculus and I dropped out of Physics.
Or, I can be excited for him to start this new phase of his life. That he’s almost done with his first year of high school. That he has to shave every week and has at least seven inches on me. That in a little more than three years, he’ll be going to college. (Yikes.)
And that, come Monday morning, after his appointment at the DMV, he’ll have his learner’s permit and will be able to drive me all around town. Like I’ve been doing for him the last 15 years. I’d do anything for him. Except clean his room.
My baby. My kid. My teenager.
Smart and handsome. Kind and sensitive (most of the time).
He’s turning out pretty good.