My son Cole is only 11, and I recently saw two emerging pimples on the left side of his nose.
“Oh,” I said, “You’re getting pimples.” I said it lovingly because I realized that this is his ascent into puberty. “Can I pop them?”
“No,” he said with shock. “Why would you do that?”
“Come on, Cole,” I said chasing him around the kitchen. He ran to his room and shut the door. “I can at least put stuff on them.”
I was less tactful when I saw that he is starting to get pubic hair. He was getting ready to get into the tub.
“What the heck is that?” I ask as I squinted my aging eyes at his nether region. He covered himself quickly. I had inadvertently shamed him. “Cole,” I continued ignorantly, “You have pubic hair.” Since then Cole has been locking the doors of the bathroom and won’t even let his brother near him when he is changing.
“Mom, what’s wrong with Cole?” Jonah asked as he pushed against the locked door.
“Nothing is wrong with him,” I responded. “He’s just growing up.” My eyes filled with tears as I stare at the locked door, too.
When did my little boy’s body start to morph into one I did not recognize? When did his body become completely off limits to me? I knew I was no longer allowed to comb his hair or straighten his shirt, and come to think of it, he hasn’t needed me to do those things in a long while, but when did this begin?
He still sleeps with his stuffed puppy. How can this be congruent with a growing boy’s body? Tears ran down my face and I wiped them away knowing that this was a train that could not be stopped…should in no way be stopped. This was going to be a painful growing experience for the three of us.
As I started to rise from my seat, the bathroom door lock popped open and Cole peeked his head out.
“Mommy?” He called.
“Yes,” I answered.
“Can you help me? I tried to pop my own pimples because they are getting so big, but I couldn’t do it. Do you have that stuff you were talking about?” I nodded my head and went over to help him. In his fragile state, he let me kiss his forehead like I have done since he was a baby.
“Okay, so you have to be really careful when you do this,” I began…