Where have the last years gone? Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was sitting at my dining room table talking to a social worker about the safety features of my house?

I know where it has gone.

To therapy. And hospitals. And detention. It has gone to struggle and success and soccer. It has vanished into the past that I never see coming. It has disappeared into the happiness of triumph and the despair of defeat.

How is it possible that my baby will turn 13 on Tuesday? My baby that has struggled to attach… My baby who was never really my “baby” at all… He will be 13 on Tuesday.

Is that possible?

Blocked Goal

I want to be ok with this birthday. With the thought that he will be able to go to PG13 movies without me and without my permission. I want to be okay with being mom to a teenager when some days, I still feel like one myself.

Yesterday, he came home from school and we had a conversation. There were no control battles. No uncomfortable silences. No awkward statements. We talked about the girl he walked to school. And about band. And about his inner struggle to do better. And about the mean substitute teacher. His desire to be like his dad. What he thinks is funny.

You know? My boy has the most remarkable brown eyes. And he is smart. He knows what he wants in life. He knows. And he loves his mama. Both of them.


Last weekend at the soccer tournament, every time he scored, he ran past me signing “I love you” with his right hand right below his hip. I could tell that he didn’t want his teammates to see, but I saw. And I signed back. Cause I dread the day that stops. So I will love him with abandon as long as he allows.

Because, on Tuesday, he will be 13.

13 is such a milestone anyway. But this year, when Isaiah turns thirteen, he will also celebrate his fifth year with his forever family. He doesn’t talk about it much, but I’m positive he thinks about it. He thinks about his birth family. He wonders who his birth dad is. He wonders where his birth mom is. He wonders if they are safe. Why they made the choices they did.

So do I.


A few nights ago, we had the “puberty” talk with Isaiah (again). Because he fidgets and is ALWAYS hungry, we gave him a half-gallon of strawberry ice cream to eat while we talked. He nearly ate the whole thing. Nervous may not be a strong enough word to describe how we were all feeling.

But I brought diagrams.

As it turns out, diagrams are not enough. He (correctly) spelled every word he didn’t want to say out loud (I will spare you the g-o-r-y details). But he is talking to us. Unafraid to share his feelings and his fears. He is turning into a young man right in front of our eyes.

So, even though he is still struggling to attach, even though he still struggles with behavior issues, even though he was not born to me, my son turns 13 on Tuesday.

And it may just be the most exciting thing I’ve experienced in a long time.

7 Responses to Adolescence