The above photo is of my oldest son when he was about 17 or 18 months old. We were on a family vacation to Hilton Head Island, and it was heaven. My son Joshua was an easy baby, and easy toddler, and as sweet as can be, and oh, let me tell you, fellow Mamas: he loved me. He love love loved me.
Now, he’s almost fifteen years old, and I’m using a baby picture because he wouldn’t allow me to use a present-day one. The days of me counting his age in months is long gone. He is still a pretty easy kid, though parenting him is not nearly as joyous and carefree (still lost of joy, but also lots of care.) He’s a good kid, and he still loves me. And I love him more than ever.
But sometimes, it feels like…he loves me not. The glimpses of him when I see his love and appreciation for me shine through are further and far between. Being a teen mom is hard when affection is one of your love languages, because the days when he’d pat my fave and crawl in my lap and hug me at every opportunity are definitely long gone as well.
He lets me flat iron his hair for his Halloween costume: he loves me!
He’s mad at me when I say he has to go trick-or-treating with the extended family as is our tradition instead of meeting up with his friends: he loves me not.
He brings me his most favorite hilarious YouTube video to watch with him: he loves me.
He puts his earbuds in as soon as we get in the car and ignores me during the drive: he loves me not.
I know, I know. It’s not about me. I didn’t become a parent so that I’d have a little person who would love and adore me forever. But man, sometimes I really miss the days when it seemed like that would be the case.
I love the young man my son is. I love who he is becoming. But like many moms, the fear of letting go of him is real, and it is growing nearly as fast as he is. Which is super, super fast. He’s been taller than me for well over a year, and his voice is nearly as deep as my husband’s. I don’t want him to live here forever or anything, but I do want him to want me in his life forever…you know?
If you’re a mother of a teen, of course you know.
He loves me, you guys. Even when it seems like he loves me not. And as I loosen my grip on him, I thank the Lord for every moment we share when that is clear, and for the privilege of ever having been loved by him at all.