The In-Be-Tween Years


Nicholas is twelve. How did that happen? His feet are as big as mine. He regularly steals my socks. I like to think my feet smell better. Tween boy feet are no picnic.

He had a sleepover for his birthday. There was laughter and screaming until 3 a.m. I woke up to cereal bowls, empty 2-liters and very little cake. It looked like the aftermath of a frat party – but with more stuffed animals and Nerf darts.

He got hamsters for his birthday. Their names are Carol (for Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel – who he calls a beast) and Shuri which he says is the name of Black Widow’s sister. They sleep all day and become superpowered at night.

He’s all into his cell phone and video games. He says dirty jokes he hears on the bus, but he doesn’t know what they mean. He vacillates between trying to be grown up and wanting Mommy to wait for the bus with him. Until the bus rounds the corner – and then I am dead to him.

He says that our relationship is like the main characters in Whiskey Cavalier – that we bicker but deep down there is love. I’m not sure that’s the right analogy – but I get what he’s saying. He tries to give me the stink eye and ends up smiling.

I don’t know if we’ll survive these ups and downs. But, I’ve taken to shrugging my shoulders and saying, “It’s a middle school thing.” It’s weird to be with a being entering puberty as I enter the menopause years. Both our hormones are malfunctioning. Poor Michael.

What I do know is that this is a transitional time, and with any luck we’ll all come out of it better people.

Meanwhile, I’m hiding my socks.


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