Mothering a Teenage Son – A Moment

It didn’t happen overnight, him being taller than me. It just felt like it did.

For so long, he was a little, little boy, catching up with me, inch by slow inch, agonising about how long it was taking him to grow, about how all his friends were towering over him. One year, he was under my chin, the next up to my mouth, then my nose, my eyebrows, my hairline; small amounts, year on year.

Then one day, I glanced over at him and realised that my eyes had to adjust upwards, to take in a defined jaw and handsome, long face. I realised that the tiny, incremental, years-long changes had crystallised into a beautiful young man, my teenage son.


When he was a very little boy, before he learned to speak properly, he would nevertheless make his views perfectly clear, as only toddlers can. ‘Big Up!’ he would command, imperiously holding his pudgy arms aloft in my direction, demanding to be picked up and carried.  ‘Big Up!’ I would repeat, swinging him up to my lofty height, showing him the world from my vantage point as he nestled his smooth cheeks into my neck and clung on to me.

The Big Up phase seemed at the time to last forever, an oft-repeated refrain punctuating my long, stay-at-home-mother days. A demand I found increasingly difficult to obey, as he grew heavier, as my belly swelled and my arms filled with his siblings.

Now, it seems like it went in a flash and I wish I could hear his baby voice lisping the command one more time.


Last week, he came home from school and showed me the work in progress of the muscles in his  biceps whilst I was cooking the children’s tea in the kitchen. ‘Punch me there, Mum’ he exhorted in his deep, deep voice, ‘punch me, so I can see if it hurts’.   I explained, patiently, mother-like, as I carried on cooking, that I was not in the habit of punching my children and I had no intention of starting now.

He was briefly distracted by food, but waged an impressive campaign throughout the evening, continually urging me to punch his upper arm. ‘I don’t want to hurt you’, I repeated and he just raised his eyebrows at me quizzically, dismissing that notion as so self-evidently ludicrous that it did not even require a comment.

So, eventually, I did. I danced around on my feet to try to make him laugh, telling him I was going to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, as he stood there, bicep clenched in anticipation of the blow.   I didn’t put my back into it, of course. I wasn’t about to try to hurt him deliberately and I like to think I would have punched an assailant with considerably more force. Nevertheless, my pride also made me want to impress him with some modicum of strength.

Is that it?’ he said, with a disarming grin, when I had landed my blow – ‘never mind Mum’ and he ruffled my hair with a devastating smile, adding ‘Is there anything else to eat? I’m still hungry’.



Filed under individual development, parenting, young shoulders

18 responses to “Mothering a Teenage Son – A Moment

  1. maddy@writingbubble

    Oh I love this – such a lovely depiction of an interaction. The ‘big up’ stage is where I am with my youngest now but in his eldest brother (who is going on nine) I can already see flashes of his teenaged self. The years really do fly!

  2. Aww this is so cute. I remember boys at school asking me to do this. They want to be so manly and strong. Bless him. It must feel strange xx #binkylinky

  3. entertainingelliot

    My boy is 3 and I just can’t imagine him as a teenager! Good to see that boys are always hungry, even as teens 😉 #binkylinky

    • louisek2014

      I’m sure it will come around sooner than you expect! and the continual hunger is continually astonishing…

  4. sarahmo3w

    Such a beautiful post and, oh my goodness, I can certainly relate. My 14yo son overtook me last summer and hasn’t stopped growing (or eating) since. His face has changed so much in those last few months from a boy to a handsome young man. And, yes, he’s always wanting someone to challenge him to any sort of fight.

    • louisek2014

      Thank you Sarah – yes, the emergence of the man face is so shocking, beautiful, touching, gutting, arresting etc etc x

  5. Nige

    Totally brilliant post absolutely love the last line Thanks for linking to the #binkylinky

  6. Emily

    A fantastic post funny yet so beautiful thanks for linking to the #binkylinky

  7. Oh my goodness me – that could me me writing. My eldest lad has just overtaken me and I too long for the days when I could scoop him up and boy was he podgy back then. Now, like your son, he is lean and muscled and rapidly becoming a man. However, much as he cringes, he knows he will ALWAYS be my baby! Pocolo

  8. As I read this my mind drifted back to yesterday when my eldest son kissed me (as is his wont) on the top of my head just as I used to do when he was small. On Saturday he gets married. My emotions are so mixed, pride, love, sadness, happiness. His younger brother is his best man, and again my emotions are in turmoil, as he sent me a text message saying he wouldn’t be home tonight, but he really wants some home made lasagna and can I take some with me to his brothers house tomorrow.
    Make the most of those little ones ladies, it goes far too quickly!

    • louisek2014

      Your sons sound lovely and the very best of luck for the wedding! And I hope they got the lasagne…
      Many thanks for reading.

  9. my teen is in boarding school in the UK, I live in Dubai. He came out last August after not seeing him for 3 months and I thought he’d grown, but hubby didn’t think so, 6 weeks later we were both in the UK and the teen was towering above hubby, he came back out at christmas and had shot up to 6ft 4in, thank fully he hasn’t grown since then as it was costing me a fortune in clothing over such a short timescale, at 17 now, I’m hoping he’s stopped growing

    • louisek2014

      That is a huge growth! They definitely get very expensive!
      Thank you for reading and for your comment

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