This is what 13 looks like

teenage boy

I come home from work to find him lay on his bed, his head buried in his phone. A typical teenage boy.
His head used to be buried in a book. I loved that about him. The fact that he would willingly read adventures and thrillers and comedies and the quirky novels I’d recommended.

He takes up nearly the whole of his single bed. His legs are so long. He no longer has chubby boy feet. They’re adult size 9.
He’s as tall as me now. Where did that come from? You think they shoot up as toddlers, but that’s got nothing on the growing they do when there’s a ‘teen’ tagged onto the end of their age. When we hug I no longer have to reach down. His head rests on my shoulder, not on my chest. But we still hug. All the time. We have this standing joke where I act all indignant that he hasn’t given me my daily hug and kiss when he gets in from school. He rolls his eyes and huffs and puffs, but he readily gives them out. I feel blessed that we still have this.

His desk is littered with the detritus of snacks he’s devoured the minute he walked in the door because he’s always hungry. Ravenous. An insatiable appetite, not helped by the amount of sport he plays.
The room has a whiff of Lynx about it. It’s still got all the Lego Minifigures he used to collect lined up on the top of picture frames. In amongst the childhood collections of interesting stones and Star Wars figures, there’s the signs of teenager boydom; a phone charger, a protractor, a tub of expensive hair wax.
He’s lying on his bed fully dressed but with his navy dressing gown on, which he wears like a smoking jacket! One of his little quirks.

The hormones have hit. His skin is changeable, his moods too. But he has a great sense of humour. He’s warm and interesting and funny. He laughs all the time.

Teenage Years: The Sequel

I’ll be honest with you, 13 feels like a reward for all the parenting hard work we’ve put in over the years. Now we get a glimpse of the young adult he’s becoming, I feel like all the tough times, the hair tearing, the self doubt, the cajoling, the persuading, the hand holding have all led to this. And it’s pretty darn cool, let me tell you.

I think you spend so much time dreading the teenage years you forget they don’t always have to be traumatic.
Sure we’re only at the gateway right now, but it’s feeling good. Positive. Exciting.

This week Dan starts his new ‘job’; a paper round. Which has meant setting up a bank account, organising himself, planning his own timetable. All valuable life lessons for a teenage boy.
This week he’s also on holiday with one of his best friends and his family in Spain.
It feels like another milestone. He’s taken another step on the stairs of adulthood. It feels like it’s time but at the same time I want time to stand still because he’s still my boy and I don’t want him to travel too far without me.
Literally and metaphorically.

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13 Responses to This is what 13 looks like

  1. Ian says:


    I’m hopeful that my boy will hug me – almost – as ferociously as he does now, forever.

    Even if I get a nostril full of Lynx.

  2. My son is 9 and a half and i start to notice the mood swings as well. He is very open with me and not scared to express any feelings abut sometimes he gets angry out of no where and I’m afraid that in a situation like that I may react a bit too hash. He is also very close with his father and looks up to him a lot.
    Starting to love books, started using FB and Viber, learning the boy stuff. I’m very scared form the teenage years I hope we get it right.

    • Tara Cain says:

      The thing is Biljana, there is no right and wrong! You’ve just got to do what’s best for you and your boy. But being open is a fabulous start and in my mind you should always strive to keep that.
      They are going to be a tough few years but there is always a light at the end of the parenting tunnel 🙂
      Tara Cain recently posted…This is what 13 looks likeMy Profile

  3. Jonathan says:

    Our eldest girl sailed through 13 like it wasn’t there – only to crash on 15 like the Titanic. You never can tell. Our 11 year old on the other hand, will be trouble – from the start. I took her phone away at bedtime last night (the phone she is not supposed to have until the summer), and you would have think I had killed the cat or something…

  4. LauraCYMFT says:

    Eeek 13! That seems a long way off for me but reality is, I have one who will be in double figures in 10 months time.

  5. liska says:

    All I ever ever ever hear is “the bad” of the teenage years I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to read this. To know this. And to witness the tenderness and love with which it is written. If Aaron is even half like this I will be utterly thrilled. And proud. Very very proud.
    You and your son rock Mamma.
    Liska xx

  6. Hannah says:

    Oh, goodness. I think as parents we always think that ‘easier’ is right around the corner; that when they’re bigger we’ll stop worrying so much. Now I think that’s not true at all, there are just different things to worry about! *sigh*!

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