So, Nathon turns 13 years old today. As his mother, I've been putting off this moment as long as possible, but the clock kept on ticking against my will. I can pretend I didn't see it coming, but I've seen the signs all along. Even though I want to deny it, I have to admit that I could hear the relentless "tick-tock" echoing in my heart with every passing year, and with every milestone he's accomplished.
Even this morning when I gave Nathon his Happy Birthday hug, I warned him that he's not an "official teenager" until 9:31pm tonight. You see, he was born at 8:31pm, but that was when we lived in Arkansas, which is in the Central Time Zone. And now we live in Georgia, which is an hour later. (Silly, I know...now who's acting like a little kid, right?!)
I blinked, and somehow, the boy is already taller than me, and wears bigger shoes. I've noticed that his voice isn't cracking as much as it did even just a few months ago. The boyish features on his face are morphing into a young man's right before my eyes (even if there is an occasional blemish - sorry Nate... just keepin' it real).
I'm constantly amazed at how much Nathon can do on his own now. He helps me so much when Bryan's travelling (not always without complaining, mind you). He walked himself to swim practice nearly every morning in June. He walks the dog and goes off with his friends riding bikes around the neighborhood. He takes out the trash and mows the lawn and grills THE BEST burgers you'll ever sink your teeth into. He's becoming more self-sufficient and responsible all the time.
So, it seems that Hot Wheels, Legos, Transformers, action figures, and light sabers are on the way out. (OK, maybe not light sabers...) And while I definitely won't mourn the loss of those toys, I am sad because it means that my baby boy is growing up and leaving those things behind (as much as any boy ever really does leave childhood things behind, anyway). Those things will soon be replaced by wakeboarding, competitive swimming, deodorant, iPods, electric guitars, friends, and Facebook profiles. (...and girls. Don't forget girls. Maybe girls won't happen right away, but soon enough, I'm sure!)
He may still have a lot to learn, but he's got a smart mind, a strong, healthy body, and a loving, caring heart (even when he covers it up with his teenage "bad-itude"). He has so many other great qualities too. Like not being intimidated to talk to people, being willing to ask for things he wants, and not being afraid to express his thoughts and opinions.
I'm so proud to have Nathon as my firstborn son. I can't wait to see where God is going to lead him in life. And I'm so glad that I get to be part of it.
So, today we begin the next chapter of Nathon's life: Adolescence. The teenage years. His journey into manhood.
My heart may not be ready, but I know he is.