My youngest biological son, I, turned 13 last year. He's the 5th of our brood of 6 kids to do so.
I know what's coming. Tears. Innapropriate giggling. Long showers. Squeaky speech. Red cheeks. Impulsive stomping and door slamming.
When my oldest, D, turned 13, I really didn't know what I was in for. The first time D wailed and weeped and rolled around on the living room floor extolling how much he HATED his teachers and his counselors and his principal and me and and his father, I was horrified. I tried to reason with him. I tried tough love. I tried soft love and hippy hugs. Finally, I sent him outside and told him to hit the punching bag until he stopped crying.
Then I realized that the D in my living room was not the same sweet little boy I held at my breast so many years before. He was a young man, with all the angst and agony afforded to young men who haven't yet found their inner Swartzenegger. I had to give him time to navigate the hormonal waters of early teen-hood. And in time he found his way.
While it happened, though, I went through my own five-step process of watching the boy-into-man evolution.
1. Shock: "What the hell is going on with D?"
2. Anger: "Quit acting like a baby on crack and go to your room until you can act like a normal human being!"
3. Bargaining: "If you'll quit weeping, I'll make you your favorite peanut butter and jelly with no crusts!"
4. Depression: "I miss my baby D!"
5. Acceptance: "OK, so how many years until college?"
Now that I've seen the process a few times, I can skip straight to Number 5. Only 5 more years until I goes to college. Really, that's not very long at all. I've decided I'm going to enjoy as much of it as I can, caterwauling, high water bills and all.