Being the mom my boys need has always been my intention. I am still learning it is an art of constant adjustment. As the different ages and stages bring on new ways of being in the world for the boys so it does the new requirements for me as their support team.

When the boys were young much of my vigilant efforts went into knowing everything they liked and disliked so I could ensure a tomato NEVER landed anywhere near a sandwich that was going into their mouth. Or that a timeline wasn’t agreed to that sped up the speed of life to include tons of tricky transitions. I was proud of my knowledge and my efforts to keep life rolling around smoothly with the parts that we could actually control.

Now that my oldest is on the doorstep of the teen years things are changing. He doesn’t actually require me to know him that way. In fact he would like to regularly dispute the information I toss out as being the end all and be all of what I know to be true of him. He would indeed be okay with picking tomatoes off the sandwich he picked out himself. And I best step away from the sandwich already.

My job is no longer to know him as he was but instead to meet him where he is. He is blossoming at an astounding rate and huge parts of that is him getting to know himself outside of who I am. It is trying on things that didn’t fit before and deciding for himself to love it or leave it. Me offering up “what I know to be true” about him is actually stepping on the toes of who he is becoming. It may be true that I am right in some of those instances. That he still does prefer a large lead up to transitions. But he wants to and I dare say needs to come to that knowledge on his own.

It’s very similar to the way he has been learning his whole life. He figured out to read through trial, error and access to a lot of literature. He discovered the tools that fit his learning style and applied them. And voila there he was reading and owning the process. The same is true now. As he speeds toward a more independent existence in the world. He will need the same trust and support from me, now quietly on the sidelines.

I think when they were little I would walk out front to make sure the world was safe for them. Now as we are in the tween and teens years, I am saddling up beside to see the world with them. Hand holding available but not required. I imagine the last step will be standing behind, with the same safety net, as they march forward confident in the people they’ve become.