This Post: My Son, No Matter How Big You Get, I’ll Always See the Little Boy in You
Written By: Marybeth Bock
He walked in the door after school, flung his backpack on the floor, kicked off his shoes, headed straight to the kitchen to grab a drink and a snack, and plopped on the couch with a huge sigh…
I’ve seen this same after-school ritual a million times. But for some reason, today, I looked at my boy and saw something different.
I saw his big feet hanging over the side of the couch.
I saw the sheer amount of space he took up as he sprawled out – certainly not enough room for anyone else to sit beside him.
I saw how big his hands were wrapped around his drink.
I saw the stubbles on his chin as I recalled how his cheeks used to be baby-soft.
I saw the adult-like look in his eyes when he sighed and the way he ran his hands through his hair the same way my husband does when he’s stressed or has a lot on his mind.
I saw him deep in thought contemplating the day and thinking about what he had on his plate the rest of the night.
He looked so grown up.
“How could this be?” Where did the time go?” Where’s the little boy who used to cling to my leg and wrap his little hands around my finger?”
As I stood there in all my sappiness, I wanted to tell him to slow down. I wanted to tell him how I desperately long for his littleness even though I’m relishing where he is now. I wanted to ask him “Why did you have to grow up so fast, I’m not ready for this!” I wanted to share with him what my heart was feeling but I knew he’d probably roll his eyes and think I was being sensitive, silly, or sappy.
My Son, No Matter How Big You Get, I’ll Always See the Little Boy in You
I realized at that moment that my boy wasn’t a baby anymore or a toddler or a small child or a tween… he was looking more like a man with each passing day. And, I couldn’t help but ponder the passing of time.
It seems like yesterday I was holding him in my arms in the hospital feeling a bit terrified… I knew nothing about being a mom and definitely nothing about being a mom to a boy. “What was I going to do with a boy? Would I, could I, be a good boy mom?”
Thoughts and images swirled around in my mind. I had grown up with two brothers, so I knew what I was in for. Boys (at least from my experience, anyway) were loud and messy. They played with snakes and frogs and threw balls in the house. They jumped on things, over things, and through things.
Despite those early fears, together we grew up, grew closer, and created an unbreakable bond.
My son seemed to show me the way. Every now and then, when I was struggling or exhausted or worried I was getting this Mom gig right, he would glance up at me with his trusting eyes as if to say, “You’ve got this, Mama… it’s all good.”
And I did, and it was.
He was a fearless little boy – climbing trees, collecting bugs, and building ramps to hurl his bike off of – always with a huge smile on his face. His adventurous spirit was matched only by his sweetness, as he’d reach up his hand to hold mine when he needed a dose of my reassurance and love.
The years were filled with school and sports, friends, and more fearless adventure. With every passing year, he needed me just a little less. “Nah, Mom… I think I got this.” Or, “Thanks, Mom… I’ll let you know if I need your help.”
My heart ached and soared at the same time. All my dedication, lessons taught, guidance, and love were paying off. Yet, if I closed my eyes tight enough, I could still picture his little hand in mind and the way he snuggled next to me at night when I read him his favorite book.
One thing I’ve learned on my journey raising my son is that the attachment we mothers form with our boys (and our girls, too) during the early years causes us to forever view them through a lens of that early connection.
I’ve also come to realize that letting go is the hardest part of parenting. At a time when we want to hold on even tighter, our kids need us to loosen our grip and it’s all so difficult.
The beauty of it all, though, is that I have so many amazing memories of my son’s childhood that warm my heart like a comforting blanket… powerful images of his chubby little feet, his sun-bleached hair on the beach, and his gangly, awkward arms and legs I loved so much. These flashbacks sometimes hit me by surprise taking me back to those early days that seemed to fly by all too fast.
My son has no idea that the changes I see in him are both perfect and perhaps a little painful… which is why I find myself staring at him so often. I get lost in thought thinking about his first day of elementary, middle and high school, his first dance, his first crush, his first heartbreak, when he got his driver’s license and so many other “firsts” and “lasts.”
I also get lost in who he is now – his changing face, how he belts out something so witty out of the blue, and his mature outlook on things that sometimes blows me away.
I will always relish in my son’s independence and maturity as he continues to grow, but no matter how many candles are on his birthday cake, how big his feet get, or how deep his voice becomes, I’ll always view him as my little guy. Because in my mind, he’s still there – climbing trees, swinging a plastic lightsaber, and asking for a piggyback ride from the sofa to bed.
In my mind, he’ll always be my little boy…
About Marybeth Bock:
Marybeth Bock, MPH, is a Mom to two young adults and one delightful hound dog. She has logged time as a military spouse, childbirth educator, college instructor, and freelance writer. She lives in Arizona and thoroughly enjoys research and writing – as long as iced coffee is involved. Her work can be found on numerous websites and in two books. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.