“You know that children are growing up when they start asking questions that have answers.”
— John J. Plomp
“Mom, have you noticed in the past few months if my voice is getting deeper? Because I feel like it has gotten deeper lately.”
Just days past his 11th birthday, I had to stare my oldest son in the face and answer, “No. Not really, but remember, I hear you talk every day so I might not notice it as much as someone who hasn’t seen you for awhile.”
He’s pretty anxious for puberty.
But, really, who isn’t at his age?
Maturity looks pretty good until you reach it.
And to be quite honest, he’s starting to reach it.
I talk to my mother quite frequently on the phone. For the past few months, I’ve talked to her about my eldest son and the changes I’ve witnessed in him. They’ve been behavioral, for the most part, as he takes on chores with zeal and procures model behavior. Funny thing is that I was just thanking my lucky stars that one of the three was acting good, and never chocked it up to maturity until a couple of weeks ago.
It happened as I left him at the sitter’s house to head to work. I kissed all three boys, telling my first-grader to behave himself at school and on the bus. When I got to my oldest son, I kissed him on the forehead and said, “Be good.” He replied, “Mom, I’m always good. I don’t get in trouble at school or on the bus.”
There were occasions when he did.
But, he’s right, I no longer have to worry about those things with him.
And as the wheels continued to churn in my head I realized that my son has been maturing right in front of my eyes.
When I run to the store these days, only two little boys run up begging to go. The oldest says, “Mom, I want to stay here.” When he has an issue or a question, he says, “Mom, can we talk in private?” And I was even asked, ever so quietly, to buy deodorant to help with perspiration during August football conditioning.
All of this is new. He’s the first-born, and to be frank, I am used to a myriad of little boy issues. Cuts, scrapes, dirt and tears — got those covered. Now, we’re facing a new frontier.
And although I’m not quite ready to walk down that road, I’m getting there.
My oldest has been fun to raise thus far.
His questions often make me scratch my own head as I search for an honest, yet toned down response to his query. And when he searches his brain for what he deems a grown-up response, yet doesn’t quite get his wording right, I can only smile. He’s helpful, prudent and serious. A friend, in describing his own first-born son, told me, “If there was a cliff, not only would be not go anywhere close to the edge, but he would stand 100 feet in front of the edge and warn everyone else of the impending danger.” That’s pretty much a dead-on description of my own first-born.
But along those same lines, he likes rules. So, obviously, when he’s told at school that x, y and z happens at the onslaught of puberty, then my tween looks for all the signs, and just to be sure he’s noticing, he asks mom. And I like that he does. I like that he’s not afraid of important questions, because I fear that there will come a time when he’s not as open as he is today.
As Albert Einstein once said, “The important thing is not to stop questioning.”
And I’m learning not to question his maturity.