Today, Big Boy turns 12. I have known him since just before he turned 4, so for 2/3 of his life!
Being a full-time mom to a child with another mother is not easy. In fact, it's really stinkin' difficult. But this year, I think we've turned a corner. Things seem better, calmer, and more.....normal. Like the stuff that we're dealing with is just normal, every day parenting stuff that anyone with a tween-age kid would have to face.
Big Boy is having a STELLAR year. He's gotten awesome grades both quarters at school, making the honor roll both times. He was even named student of the month in November! As proud as we are of his grades, we're even more proud of the responsibility he takes for his homework. I never have to nag him to do it, and he even has approached long-term projects in an organized way. It wasn't too long ago that we had to keep explaining to Big Boy that his projects were not "our" projects. It's nice to see this growth, and gives us hope in other areas of his life, that he will mature and be okay.
Big Boy plays hockey, and he's having a great season! He's finally figured out how to use his size and be aggressive, and he's become a real asset to the team. Tryouts for next year a in a few weeks, and we expect that he's going to be pleasantly surprised with his scores this year. It's great to see him excelling, especially since hockey is his favorite activity. The lucky boy is even going to the Boston Bruins game tonight!
One of the great things about Big Boy is that outside of the house, he is always polite and well-behaved. I never have to worry about sending him over to anyone's house, or worry that he'll get in trouble at school. Although the same can't be said at home, we have moved into more age-appropriate misbehaviors. There's a real blessing in this, that I don't think I can really put into words. I worry a lot about Big Boy's future. I worry that all the stuff that has happened with his mom, and all the craziness will have a huge impact on his ability to form relationships with others later in life. I worry about his sense of entitlement (which is not his fault. When enough people tell you and act as though you're the only person on the planet that matters, you wind up feeling entitled). I worry about his need for constant attention. I worry about his ability to express his feelings appropriately.
But you know what? All of those things have gotten better over time. It's like Big Boy is more comfortable with himself, and that makes it easier for him to interact with others in positive ways. He's developed his own personal style (and I'm so thankful that it's collared shirts. He likes too look neat!), and it's so cute to watch him put gel in his hair so it looks just so. He's learned to stay out of his friends' dramas, and he's pretty clear about what he likes to do and doesn't like to do.
In short, I think he's pretty much turning into the best a parent can hope for at 12. (Although, I wouldn't mind if he practiced his violin without reminders.) I love being able to tell him, on a regular basis, how proud I am of him. Our relationship is never going to be the same as my relationship with my biological kids, but he is very much my kid, and I love him with everything I have in me.
Happy Birthday Big Boy! May this coming year be as great as the one past!