He walked into the kitchen while I chopped onions for dinner. He began to talk about a new video game release, and I, being distracted, gave some distant mumbles of assent.
Suddenly, he walked up to me. "Mom, you look like you need a hug."
Then he hugged me. And held me.
He's 13, nearly 14. These last few months we've laughed together a lot. And we've frustrated each other a lot, too, scoping out our new spots in this family, in this world–he's becoming a Big Person, I'm becoming the mother of a son who needs me in a very different way than he used to.
It's exhilarating, frightening, wonderful, irritating, and hilarious.
And so I stood there in my kitchen, at the end of a very long day in which we had puzzled each other at length, my son (my son!) holding me. Even an embrace is uncharted territory–when will my arms get used to the surreal sensation that he's a head taller than me now? I don't even always know where to put my hands.
But then my heart remembered, and my hands found their way to his back, a back that is strangely muscled and lean now. I patted him, just as I did when he weighed six pounds.
My mind scurried to find a joke to explain this sudden and unexpected moment–he loves a good quip more than anyone I know, after all.
But the joke caught in my throat, blocked by the lump of emotion as we stood there, my hands still patting his back. We were perfectly silent, though my mind raced to capture the moment and sear it into my heart.
Remember this. Remember this.
Finally, gently, he slipped away from me. "Moment of affection now ceased," he announced, grinning my favorite cheeky grin and heading for the fridge to gulp some milk straight from the jug.
Moments like that don't cease, though, despite the boy/man's best efforts to the contrary. Those moments fill me up, fortify me for this strange new journey I'm walking. It's a journey that leaves me baffled and delighted and frightened and filled to the brim with joy at my front-row seat as I watch him become a man.