My oldest turned 13 yesterday.
To say he was excited about turning 13 is an understatement.
To him it was a huge deal.
He was one step closer to adulthood. He was no longer a “tween”.
He was officially a teenager.
I like my kid.
It’s easy to say we love our kids.
There is something in us that always loves them. No matter what they do or how they act, there is always a place in our heart for them.
It’s not always easy to say we like our kids.
Can we be honest about this?
There are times they drive us nuts.
When they’re young they are keeping us up at night. They have turned spilling food and drink into an art form. They always want to play with you. Be with you. Take up all your time. When was the last time you were able to sit on the toilet in peace?
They are annoying, frustrating, and to be honest, they are energy vampires.
Yet through it all we love them but we don’t always like them.
Bodhi (my oldest) has hit a good age. He’s likeable.
We share a lot of the same interests. We enjoy hanging out together. When there is good news to share we can’t wait to tell the other one.
It is easy with him.
He is a confident boy. He is a social butterfly. He has a weird (but funny) sense of humour. He is smart and focused (as much as a 13 year old boy can be). He is extremely brave and willing to try out things that are beyond his comfort zone. He loves movies and is fascinated with the process of making them.
He is also a child of divorce.
Back when I was his age this set you up for failure.
You were talked about in hushed tones. People felt sorry for you. You were often left to fend through life on your own. You had to sort out the mess on your own at an early age. Forced to grow up too quick.
How do I know this?
I was a child of divorce.
I came out the other side insecure, anxious, and unprepared for future relationships. I still carry some of the scars from my childhood that continue to haunt my adulthood.
So why is Bodhi so different from me?
His mother and I made a vow to never have our issues bleed into his life. That through all our shit we would put him first.
Protect him and talk him through as much as we could.
Have we been successful? No, but we have tried very hard.
We talk to him continually and make sure he feels safe talking about anything and everything with us.
We have made a concerted effort to put him first.
We are both with other people now. He has a Step mother and a Step father who care very deeply for him.
He has other siblings who absolutely adore him. The moment he enters the room their faces light right up.
I’d say he’s doing pretty good.
I asked him the other day how he was doing. I asked if he ever felt upset about the divorce. Did he feel like it affected him in some negative way.
He told me that he actually felt pretty lucky.
That he now had two sets of parents that cared about him.
That he loved being an older brother in one house and an only child in the other.
He gets two birthday parties, two Christmases.
He said he doesn’t really remember what it was like when his mom and I were together but that doesn’t bother him because his life is pretty great.
He looked me in the eyes and said, “Dad, you’re doing a good job”.
I hate it when he makes me cry.
As I turned away to inconspicuously wipe the tears from my eyes he asked me a question that had been bothering him for some time.
“Now that I’m 13, can I watch the walking dead?”
I like my kid.