A couple of days ago I had to drop Declan off at Centennial Park for his 'jamband' before going to my Quakerism class at the Meetinghouse. We left a few minutes later than we should have (natch) so he said to drop him off at the entrance to the park and he would walk to the community center. He got out of the car and was walking away and, as I turned around, I looked at him objectively (as opposed to looking at him with the eyes of a mother); I was blown away by how tall and handsome and manly he looks. He'll be 16 next month. He's this much shy of 6 feet tall. He has a beautiful physique and proud posture-he carries himself with poise and grace. I can not believe that my son is so grown.
He seems to be maturing emotionally, too. Yesterday was my birthday. Hammy took off work so we could hang out together and have a family day. We gave Declan the option of skipping school (we'd call in for him) to hang out with us but he said that he had a couple of assignments that had to be handed in (hmmm...go to school and see one's friends or go birthday shoe shopping with one's mom? A no-brainer!). We went shoe shopping, went kite flying and friend visiting at the park and then came home to pick up Declan to go out to eat. We wound up going to an Irish pub and we all had a nice, relaxed time. A year ago D would have been sullen and rude at being forced to go out with his family. He was so angry all the time. I'm not sure if it's maturity in general or because he is no longer homeschooling and has a much larger world to fit into but he is much happier than he was a year ago. Yeah, he still has mood swings and takes his frustrations out on his brothers but, in general, he is a calmer, less volatile, happier young man.
I'm so relieved. A year ago I loved him dearly but really didn't like him much at all. Everything was a confrontation and a reason for him to rebel. It was hard to see 'that of God' in him or in myself when dealing with him. He was miserable and he was doing his darndest to make the rest of us miserable with him. I couldn't even think about him without feeling angry and sad. I missed him. I missed hugging him and laughing with him. While he's not totally comfortable with me just walking up to him and hugging him, we laughed together quite a bit last night. A year ago I sorta believed/sorta hoped that he because he seemed to enter adolescent turmoil so early that he would also grow out of it to be a mature young adult, ready to take responsibility for himself and his world earlier than many (chronological) young adults do in our society and that seems to be what is happening. I have hope that, by the time he is 18, he will be a kind, thoughtful and passionate young man who believes in what is good and is willing to act accordingly. For now, I will relax and enjoy the young person he is and watch him blossom as he grows.