He’s Not a Baby Anymore.
Today is Dylan’s 14th birthday. There’s no longer any doubt: he’s a teenager.
I spend every day thinking about Dylan. I think about his issues, his ADHD or whatever it is, his behavior in school, his grades, his future. He’s a frustrating kid. His gifts far outweigh his problems; his talents are extreme and beautiful, like he is. But I focus on the negative, rather than the positive, far too often – and I forget to remind him of his inner beauty, his brilliance, his inner light.
Then again, I worry too much.
I try too hard. I give him too much. I take away too much. I discipline him too often. I don’t discipline him enough. I take away his privileges too often. I don’t take away his privileges enough.
I am too involved. I need to step back. I want to be there for him. I want him to be independent. I want him to advocate for himself.
I advocate for him. I put him in a new school, a new environment. He gets new teachers, new friends. Did that work? No. Does anything work?
And it’s his birthday. Today is his birthday. And all those thoughts – the thoughts that occupy every waking hour on any other day – those thoughts all go right out the window.
All I can think today is, He’s not a baby anymore.
I still see him so clearly, toddling in my direction with that huge, gorgeous smile on his face – running as fast as his tiny legs would move. Smiling all the time, beaming even, curious, excited, thrilled to be alive. Dylan smiled constantly.
I wouldn’t ever want that baby back, now that I know him now. I don’t miss those days, the exhaustion, the constant need to be on the lookout.
But on his 14th birthday, I can’t help but feel a bit nostalgic for that smile.