This post is sponsored by the Center for Parent and Teen Communication. All opinions (and memories!) are my own.
The thing I remember most about Jake’s birth was how scared I felt bringing him home from the hospital. There’s no guide book for being a parent. I wonder if first born babies sense the way new parents approach every task with uncertainty.
The good news is that babies are resilient.
They forgive us for putting the diaper on wrong or being a little too over protective on the playground. Jake was sensitive to the way we cared for him as parents. In the same ways that we didn’t want to mess up as parents, he didn’t want to mess up as our child.
He was a rule follower and did not like to disappoint. Every situation was approached with a slow curiosity. He would observe, assess the risk and then make a decision if he wanted to participate. That sweet little quiet heart seemed to match his pale blue eyes and blonde hair.
Jake started edging up on my in height by the 5th grade. It’s a little awkward when your child doesn’t fit in your lap anymore and then they start looking down on you. Year by year he changed both physically and emotionally.
Sometimes, we’d wonder what he was thinking when he was quiet. Then I had to remember that he was assessing a situation.
While I hurry through life, he is internalizing because he doesn’t want to make a mistake. There are times we need to push him a little. For example, we would encourage him to go to the register at a restaurant to ask for extra condiments. It was a stretch, but just because he’s taking his time doesn’t mean he’s not listening. It just might mean he’s thinking about what he’ll say to an adult he doesn’t know.
Jake is going to be eighteen in a few months. The road to adulthood hasn’t been without bumps. And when I’m feeling frustrated because he’s not a verbal processor, I look in his blue eyes and see that sweet little quiet heart.
As a mom of 3(!) teens, I’ve got a fantastic tool to share with you guys today.
The Center for Parent and Teen Communication is a new, valuable resource for every parent navigating the teen years. You can get a taste for the type of advice you’ll find with this post from the director, Dr. Ginsburg.
I highly encourage you all to bookmark the site and pass along this video to any other teen parents you know- we’re all in this together!