It has begun.
You know that phase of not talking to your parents? Where you just kinda wanted to do your own little thing and have them leave you alone?
Yup. We are there.
Will has always been a quiet kid. As in, doesn’t talk much, NOT as in doesn’t make noise. He makes plenty of noise. In fact, he is the top producer of noise in our home. And that’s quite an accomplishment because he’s got some pretty stiff competition. Hence, my extremely developed talent of tuning out.
Normally, I don’t mind the quiet. My sister and I call that magic time once the kids are in bed and the house is quiet “peace on earth.” I’m not the type of person that must maintain a running conversation with another person because silence makes me nervous. It doesn’t. So why is this bothering me so much?
I worry. I feel he is on the cusp. Of what, I'm not entirely sure. On the cusp of puberty, on the cusp of extreme self-awareness, on the cusp of receiving an education not gained at home or in school. Topics include drugs, sex, puberty (and all that lies therein), Santa Claus et al, bullying, bedtimes, allowances, and exposure to new and different and (sometimes) scary things. I know he knows things, I just don’t know what he knows or how much he knows. Or how he knows it.
This is very disconcerting to me.
Car rides are agony. Maybe it’s because he sits up front with me now and I notice the silence more when it’s next to me instead of behind me. Maybe it’s because he’s busy with the radio and the sun visor and the window and getting his seat just right and the coolness of sitting up front. Maybe he’s just enjoying the scenery he missed in the back seat.
Or maybe he doesn’t have the words. Maybe there’s something on his mind that is so embarrassing it is simply unspeakable. Maybe he doesn’t know where to start. Maybe he doesn’t know what to talk about. Maybe he’s more of an introvert than I thought.
Maybe I am overthinking this. Maybe he’s not on the brink of emotional breakdown from holding everything in the way I always worry he is. Maybe he’s just at peace and enjoying the calm that being in the car sans siblings affords him. Maybe he doesn’t feel the need to talk constantly. Maybe he just wants to be alone with his thoughts as he discovers the world. Maybe he’s a processor. In other words, maybe he’s more like me that I thought.
And maybe, just maybe, he is just a normal 11-year-old. Maybe I should make peace with the fact that he is healthy, that he seems happy and that he is here with me, however silent. Maybe I need to enjoy the sheer presence of this amazing child and the occasional word or two he throws my way, instead of worrying about what he’s not saying. As he grows up and away, maybe I should just enjoy the fact that at least I can still be close to him, in proximity if nothing else. Maybe I should focus on what I do have with him instead of what I don’t.
I’ll take it. Because it’s pretty amazing and wonderful. And maybe he’s really OK and happy after all.
And because maybe, probably definitely maybe, it won’t last.