Elliot is almost 14 years old. He is almost 6 feet tall. He will be in high school next year. (I’m just going to let that sink in for a second… High. School). So, naturally, he is getting to that stage where it’s not always cool to be seen with your mom, and I get it. I really do. But sometimes it’s hard for a mom. Like this morning.
Elliot’s class is leaving today for a weeklong trip to Nature’s Classroom, a retreat a few hours away in NH. I needed to touch base with his teacher before they all left, so I walked with Elliot up to the school. But it was obvious he didn’t really want to be walking “with” me. So I pulled ahead, went in to speak to the teacher, and did my thing while he stayed outside with the other kids. As I left the school, there were even more kids gathered. Elliot caught my eye through the crowd, started towards me like he was going to give me a hug and kiss goodbye, remembered where he was — and with whom, and quickly half turned away from me. All this happened in a split-second. But I saw on his face he was torn between being chill and acknowledging me. His eyes kept flashing towards me while he continued to talk with his new friends, but he stayed in the crowd. As sad as I felt, I knew I needed to just keep walking and not say goodbye to my baby (which would have undoubtedly embarrassed him and set the tone for his whole trip). I get it. But I also didn’t really want to part that way for a whole week.
When I got to the bottom of the stairs, I caught his eye and held it. Then I very subtly flashed him the “I love you” sign. His eyes smiled. He looked away. I kept walking. When I peeked back at him one last time before turning the corner, he was looking at me with a small smile and subtly giving me the “I love you” sign. That’s my boy.