How is it possible that you can be fourteen this week? Fourteen. It's so much older than thirteen, by leaps and bounds. Everyone told me having a teenager would be an adjustment. It wasn't. You were just a year older when you turned thirteen. You didn't grow fangs or a larger than life attitude. You didn't retreat to your room or shave your hair into a mohawk. You didn't suddenly change from the kind twelve-year-old of the past into the sullen, moody, very hard to live with thirteen-year-old that I remember being at that age. You stayed just the same...just a little older.
But fourteen? Fourteen makes me feel old, especially when you inform me that in 18 months, you will be driving.
It just isn't possible.
Fourteen scares me. I expect to hear horror music in the background every time I open the door to your room only to find not a trace of anything amiss. Not even a sock out of place on most days (although this is becoming a little more challenging with time). I keep waiting for a call from the school principal or for a neighbor to bring you home by the earlobe for doing something like wrapping a tree in toilet paper or egging someone's car (don't get any ideas). But it never happens.
When I was fourteen, I had a bi-level haircut, wore tube skirts all day and you could not see the floor of my bedroom underneath the mess of clothes and Vogue magazines. When I wasn't hanging out with my friends or babysitting, I kept to myself. I spent hours in my room glued to my portable boom box making mix tapes of my favorite songs. I only came out for meals, and even then I tried to avoid eye contact with all of the living things in our home, except for my cat.
You're fourteen. You're responsible. You're kind to your siblings (most of the time). You're smarter than anyone I know. You're fun to be with and you have a crazy sense of humor. You eat your veggies. You don't always love it when I ask you for help with this or that, but you always lend a hand anyway. I guess you can't be perfect all of the time, can you?
You're growing up. You're almost not a "kid" anymore and more often than not, I hear you being referred to as a "young man." Sigh.
I knew this time would come. Parents can't freeze their children and keep them babies forever, even though I'd like to. I miss that time when it was just you and your dad and me. The three of us. Our little family. And even though I love your brother and sister with the power of a thousand moons (or something like that), there is something magical about that firstborn child, something that they will never understand until the day when they become parents themselves. You were the only one to have us all to yourself. You broke us in. You christened us into the world of MOM and DAD and for that I will forever be grateful and indebted to you, my son.
I'm so proud of the young man you're becoming, but most of all, I'm so glad you're not me.
You're way cooler.