When my oldest turned 13, I cried. A lot. While it was a milestone that could make any momma melt, it was not crossing that threshold that caused my tears. No, my private weeping came from the loss I expected. I was convinced that my sweet boy, my shy and loving firstborn, would suddenly and horribly become a teenager.
I know it is silly, but I had allowed myself to believe that from those years, no good could come. Our culture does not look favorably upon those between 13 and 19. We are taught, if passively, that they are selfish, impulsive, conniving and difficult. And even though none of these traits applied to my son before that fateful birthday, I believed that all of these things were coming. I could not have been more wrong. Since then, I have learned a lot.
I have learned:
And while the teen years do bring adjustment, I am happy to share that the teen in my house is a bigger version of the boy he was. He still laughs freely, loves his momma, frowns when he reads and loves French fries. And I like him. I really do.
In our home there are many children. My oldest paves the way. Most often, we believe his paved path is for my younger children. But, I am learning, too. I am learning to ignore the lies of our current culture and focus on what is truth. I am learning that what I did for my son, I must do for my other children as well. Because all of it really matters. While we may not see the results of our work when our babies are very young, all the holding and snuggling and talking and teaching and correcting and listening and praying contribute to who they become.
And yes, the work is long. But when I see my son work with a sibling, when I see him using his gifts, when he wraps his arms around my neck and squeezes me tight and long, I know that it is worth it all.
For our whole family.