While snuggling on the couch, with my not a date son, I was relishing our snuggle time since now that Ryan is an official teenager, cuddles with Mom on the couch, or anywhere for that matter, are few and far between. Basking in the moment that I knew would end all too quickly, I would occasionally glance over at Ryan, the glow of the television and the orange Halloween lights casting shadows that danced across his beautiful face, and I would smile. As I happily studied that face, I was amazed at how in just the past six months, Ryan's face has become less boy and more man. This was even more evident to me as one particular "shadow" seemed to remain on Ryan's face regardless of how bright The Capitol of Panem's lights shone forth from our television screen. This "shadow" was located right above Ryan's upper lip. I smiled and thought to myself, "chocolate milk mustache", until I remembered Ryan does not drink chocolate milk.
Like any good mother, who in an instant forgot about the threat of Ebola, I licked my finger and tried to wipe the "shadow" from Ryan's face, which almost put an end to our not a date, date night. I'm not sure who was more horrified, Ryan, from my germ ridden, saliva face washing, or me, once I realized that "shadow" was not chocolate milk, Oreos, or leftover Little Ceasar's Pizza. Nope, no matter how much mom saliva can remove, it cannot remove darkening peach fuzz that is slowly morphing into whiskers. Katniss Everdeen's fight for survival as she fled from the onslaught of deadly Tracker Jackers was quickly forgotten as my entire body wanted to scream, "Who the hell cares about Tracker Jackers....the hormones are coming....the hormones are coming!".
Unlike the American Colonists, I did not have Paul Revere come galloping in on horseback and screeching through the streets, warning me of this hormonal uprising. There was no townsman perched aloft in the church tower holding a lantern to warn me the hormones were coming, "one, if by land, and two, if by sea", nope those hormones washed up on my shore and took me completely unaware with no warning whatsoever. I swear, I never saw them coming.
The American Colonists had scouts on the lookout for those sneaky Redcoats, but, me, well, I only had Denial keeping a watchful eye for hormones with me and clearly she was NOT paying attention while perched in her church tower. For example, when Ryan would call out my name from upstairs and I assumed it was Kyle due to this large man voice coming from Ryan's room, Denial assured me that it was pollen induced allergies, not hormones effecting Ryan's voice. When Denial said that Ryan's love of Old Spice Fiji Scent deodorant was not really necessary, but, just something Ryan used to "feel grown up", I believed her, even though the scent in Ryan's bedroom last week when he ran out of that Fiji island smell told a very different story. And yeah, it's true Ryan keeps the bathroom door shut tight every time he showers, and although I wondered if his need for privacy was because of his changing body, Denial reminded me how drafty it is when you leave the bathroom door open and no one likes to be chilled when you are wet. So, of course I believed Denial when she told me that little shadow on Ryan's upper lip, must certainly be a permanent Welch's Grape Juice stain and not the start of (whisper) whiskers.
Ryan struggles with change and prefers routine, so you can understand why I chose to believe every single word Denial said rather than consider The Big Change was just a few miles off shore. Some days, Denial is much easier to live with than others. Believing the "Redcoats" weren't coming was so much easier than preparing for their onslaught, even though, a little voice in my head seemed to be getting louder and louder than both Denial and Paul Revere combined.
Some days, the voice in my head won't shut up and so many questions reverberate through my brain. For a kid who hates the feel of paper touching his skin, how in the world am I going to get Ryan to put a sharp, scratchy "deadly razor" against his skin, and more importantly, against his jugular, and assure him he will survive? Will Ryan, by no choice of his own, wind up looking like a member of the Duck Dynasty family with a beard that touches the ground? As sensitive as Ryan is, will he literally feel each and every whisker being pulled from his chin and decide immediately that a razor is a left over torture device that the Redcoats brought to terrorize Colonial Americans?
Will all that info I learned about boys and the "stuff" that goes on "down there" freak Ryan out as much as it freaks his mother out? Will he be afraid, ashamed, or embarrassed when that "stuff" starts working "differently"? Will Ryan's social struggles become bigger and more apparent as boys his age begin taking an interest in girls, going to dances, and going on dates? Will this lead Ryan to feel more "different", more awkward, more alone? Will these feelings then lead to anxiety, depression, drugs or alcohol?
See why I love Denial? I'm pretty sure even if Paul Revere would have come galloping down my street, warning me of these unwanted invaders, I probably would have knocked him off his horse. Denial is a much better friend.
This is certainly going to be new uncharted territory for both Ryan and me, but, in order to move forward, we cannot cling to the past, no matter how delightfully snuggly and hormonal free those days gone by were. So while I continue to fret, worry and perseverate, I will prepare Ryan as best I can for the impending invasion, by scouring Target for the gentlest of razors and by loving him, and supporting him just like I did before the Redcoats, I mean, hormones showed up. There were 13 Colonies who fought the Redcoats, so I certainly don't plan to handle this battle alone. I will happily leave the "man stuff" for Ryan's dad to handle because, after all, my son is very literal and, well, I'm not a man with the same parts so how could I possibly know anything about said parts?! I didn't say anyone would be left unscathed in this invasion.
In the meantime, I will enjoy every single not a date, date night Ryan and I share...just the two of us....knowing full well, one day these moments will be just a beautiful memory, a page in our history. And although our history may not make it to the pages of a middle school social studies textbook, I believe for one little boy and his mother, our journey is as remarkable as Paul Revere's ride.