Max is 12 years old today. The thought that keeps going through my head (because it amuses me) is that: I’ve kept a kid alive for 12 whole years! I have loved my kid at every stage. Except for when he was 9. And 3. Oh, and 5 was a pretty rough stage. The best times with him when he was a tiny baby was when he slept on my chest and I slept too. The best times with him when he was a bigger baby was bicycling all over town with him in a seat in front of me. Plus his laughter. The best times with him when he was a toddler was playing chase until we fell over laughing. The best times with him when he was a little kid was having philosophical discussions about the ethics of war. The best times with him when he was a bigger kid was going to Powell’s and see him find stacks of new books to read. The best times with him when he was a big kid is family movie night which 45% of the time involves watching Zombieland.
And here we are. I don’t know how 12 is going to be. I’m hoping 12 isn’t like 9. But right now I absolutely love the stage he’s in. He’s just discovered drama. He actually cares about his grades and is super proud of the 3 A’s he has right now. Except for PE. He couldn’t care less if he flunks PE. He is mature enough that he had a debate about homosexuality with his semi-homophobic friend in which they agreed to each come up with valid and reasonable points and they would listen to each other. Max reports that they both came up with good points and acknowledged them. Do you know what kind of maturity it takes to listen to someone – to really listen – to someone whose viewpoints you are absolutely opposed to? How many adults do you know that can do that? He’s anti-war but loves weapons. (He will always be a warrior in nature) He loves fancy glassware and dishes. He loves movies. He still loves video games. He’s funny and articulate and his empathy for people has slowly been catching up to his great empathy for animals, though I suspect he’ll always love animals more than people.
I will admit that I fear the onset of hormones that shapes so much of everyone’s teen years. I’m hoping that the dramatics of his early life were enough and that we’ll be spared a terrible teen, but I’m no fool. I know not to have any specific expectations. Right now – Max is awesome all the way through.
The other day we were at Target to find a jacket for Max. We passed by some shoes and I spied a pair of the most hideous hiking boot/stiletto/platform combination ever and I declared that I had found my fall look. Max says “You mean you want to wear hooker hiker boots?” really loudly. I burst out laughing but quickly realized that I shouldn’t take my son out in public. Next we passed by a pair of nasty looking sweater “boots” like a flat sole with a big knitted sock sewn to it. They were white and dotted with silver sequins. I suggested that these were going to be his next pair of shoes, to which he replied “I’m not going to wear tranny shoes!”* even more loudly than before.
Which is when I realized you can’t take any of us out in public.
Our tough times are tough but we have a lot of fun together and at the end of the day – it’s a good sign when your kid still likes hanging out with you when he’s 12 years old.
Happy Birthday Max!
*He has no negative feelings about transexual people other than that he’s seen some examples of transexuals dressed in questionable manner.