When my babies were babies I imagined that surely the overwhelming love I felt for them would dissipate a wee bit as they aged, if only because they became a bit more independent and less demanding of my undivided attention. Now my attention is wildly divided and I even get to consider myself some these days, but the love is still overwhelming. They get to an age where you can no longer snuggle together in the morning or pick them up when they are hurt, but there you are, still just as excited for every step forward and just as eager to bundle them in hugs and kisses as they move further out into the world.
Kids change. And fast. The truth is, my work is mostly done with this one. He is who he is. His character is formed. His heart is open and full. His brain is ready and willing. Of course, there is plenty of reminding and fueling and teaching and fortifying to be done...that goes without saying, but at 13, I can clearly see the man inside this boy. And that's weird for me.
One of his greatest concerns, and he asks me about ten times a day, is what college will look like for him and how will he survive. Really. We talk about logistics. Dorms. How will he make himself wake up for an early class? What ingredients are in his favorite sausage pasta dish, so he can make it on his own. Will there be a cheap Thai restaurant near his college that he can walk to? How will he work on the weekends and be able to study and do parties start later in college? Yes, they do honey. And they last much later and that's a topic for another time.
Right now there are kittens. Matching damn kittens.
"Cats love me." he says.
"Will you be the defender of cats and kittens at college, when other mean boys are thinking it's funny to torture them." I ask him.
"That's stupid," he says. "Of course I will."
"When they put them in the dryer and turn it on, you will get them out, and punch them in the stomach (the boys, not the kittens) and then you will take the kittens and any girls present (they will definitely want to go with you) away from this bad apartment, back to your place (after grabbing some kitten chow and a litter box at the grocery store) and you will maybe watch a movie and order some Thai takeout and play with the kitties, you and the girls. That's what you'll do, right?" (I said all that.)
He just looks at me. And nods slowly.
"That's already been established." I say. "I'm just doing my job, which now that I think about it, is nowhere near done."
"Get out." he says.
I am not at all used to being told to get out of his room.
"Please leave, Mom" I say.
"That too." he says, with a smile.
The kittens are not ours. We have a kitten timeshare. We have partial custody. We have weekend visitation. They live next door and we just go get them when we need them. Our neighbor is good with this because she's not a big cat person and only got them to reign in the mouse population. She feeds them and cleans out the litter box and they poop in her houseplants and we provide the loving socialization and use them for blog inspiration.
You should try it, it's awesome.