This morning I had to rouse my son early, well, early by summer vacation standards. I sat carefully on the edge of his bed so as not to startle him, then gently shook the lump that was snoring soundly under the blanket.
“Good morning, sweetheart,” I chirped. “We need to go shopping for Dadoo’s birthday and maybe pick up a few school supplies, remember?”
He groaned, flipped over on his back and within seconds, the snoring continued.
Instead of waking him up again right away, I sat in the filtered sunlight and looked at the face of my sleeping boy, though at 12 years old, he’s starting to look, and certainly smell like more of a manchild.
His bed sits in the same place his crib sat all those years ago. Instead of stuffed animals, a colorful mobile and small blue blanket, his headboard now contains Lego pieces, an MP3 player, Rick Riordan books and his Nintendo DS, which I suppose late at night is the modern equivalent of a colorful mobile. There might be one tattered stuffed animal hidden in the corner of his bed, just for old time’s sake. But you didn’t hear that from me.
As I watched my boy sleep, I looked at his face and thought about all the times I would enter his room after hearing, “Maaama” on the baby monitor. Each morning I would be greeted by him standing in his crib with a wide semi-toothy grin, bouncing up and down, ready for me to whisk him out of the “sleepy cage” so we could start the day. I’ve been a WAHM since he was 3 months old. In the baby and toddler days we blew bubbles, played with Mega Blocks, had Hot Wheel races, read hundreds of books and played endless games of “pretend” with Buzz Lightyear, Woody and any other plastic hero or villain we found in the toy box.
Now he’d rather play Minecraft on the computer with strangers and two friends from school. They don’t actually see each other, mind you, they play online and he’s perfectly content with that. All I can think of when he talks about Minecraft is the famous line from the Breakfast Club, “Demented and sad, but social.”
Soon he’ll be starting 7th grade and I know the anxiety is already building in my easily stressed-out boy. I look at him and wish I could take all the uncertainty, fast pace and cruelty of middle school away, but this is a smart child who will go on to do big things so I just have to let him forge ahead, knowing I’ll always be there to help – without smothering. Such a fine line.
I sat on the edge of his bed for a few more minutes and watched his eyes open ever-so-slightly.
“Hi,” he said tentatively.
“Hi, friend,” I replied. “Sorry, I was just watching you sleep.”
“That’s not creepy at all. Why are you in here stalking me?”
I laughed and then repeated my request for him to get up soon so we could get an early start on the day.
Another groan emitted from the blanket-lump as he rolled back over and requested, “Next time, could you please not be such a creeper?”
I promised no such thing, then patted him, opened his blinds so the sunlight would help wake the tween beast and started to walk out of his room.
When I got to the door I heard a low muffled, “love you,” come from the bed. He may not be bouncing in the crib with a smile but at this age, I’ll take it.