Over the course of the last few months, whenever we are in the car, Nolan will listen to his iPod.
I don't blame him, tuning out the rest of the din in the car, I'd listen to headphones too would it not incur the squinty-browed disapproval of my husband. (He is concerned about my safety, so I can hardly argue with that.)
I've not said much to Nolan about it, even when it gets on my nerves...I just yank out one of his ear buds and say what I have to say.
Lately, he's taken to his room. He's reading, usually, and again, I can hardly fault him shutting out the din of the house for a moment alone. At thirteen, I'm surprised it's taken him this long to get to that maneuver. However, I vacillate between respecting his time to himself and wanting to force him out amongst us.
I found myself remembering today how I used to do the same thing. One of the reasons I am such a voracious reader is that there wasn't much else to do in my town, especially in the summer; my family was certainly not rich, and the only entertainment, the only escape I had came from the pages of my books.
It's a dilemma. For now, I just leave him be, and once in a while I ask him to come out and hang with his boring Mom.
Tonight, I talked to him about not being in such a hurry to grow up. I told him that I remember reading, and wondering about the world, and being impatient to be out there in it. I told him not to be in such a rush to leave us, because adulthood is not as glamorous as he might think it is--to enjoy this time he has where someone else looks out for him, someone else pays his bills, because once it's over, it's not as fun as he thinks.
And something else came to mind, and I shared it with him.
"I remember," I said, "once, I was SO pissed off at your Nana, I counted down exactly how many days I had until high school graduation, until I could get OUT. Out of her house, and that one-horse town. Out into MY life. Irealize, son, that some day you might be that mad at me. And I'm not saying that it's a bad thing. But you have to realize that this time we have now is really not all that bad, and I would appreciate it if you would stop trying to run from all of us, and start trying to enjoy it more."
I know he's gonna go, they are all gonna go at some point. I realize that my tendency to hold them close is not always a good thing. Luckily, I have a husband who is a little more loose on the reins, and friends who are both quick and gentle in pointing out my insanity.
As I held Nolan's hand for a moment this evening, I noticed how much bigger it is--it's about the same size as mine.
He's perfectly capable of doing all the things I can do. He can hold on to things all on his own.
I just have to let him.