My son just finished the first semester of his junior year of high school.

Junior year.  Eleventh grade.  It doesn’t even seem possible.

Especially given that I have a box stuck under my dresser…with a baby book with a little brown boy on the cover and clippings and whatnot that still need to be placed in said baby book.

I’m guessing that if the baby weight isn’t gone by year 16, there is probably no hope for it to be finished.

I’m cool with that. All of the parenting that I’ve done between the day I received that beautiful baby book and today, gives me license to blow off baby weight and baby books with not nary an ounce of guilt.

Parenting though, at this phase of the game, is on a whole different level.

I see you ladies looking lovely in your outfits with your Blue Ivy or Louis Bullock clones looking up adoringly at you in the store or at the restaurant.

I smile when I remember that there used to be a time when my child looked at me in public with love, instead of the smartphone in his hand.

Hearing sweet high pitched toddlers call for their parents brings back fond memories of when I used to be called “Mom” instead of “Bruh”; which I give this generation mad credit for because “Bruh” is definitely used without gender bias. My husband and I have graduated from Dad and Mom to the gender neutral “Bruh”.

Context helps us discern who needs to reply.

I’m also amazed by the parents of the middle schoolers who do school compliance better than everyone, except for maybe broke college and graduate students who are paying for their own degrees.

I see y’all at the store with the school supply lists and the carts filled with markers, glue, Kleenex and the like.

Definitely conjures up a little feeling of nostalgia.

The only school supplies my son is trying to get are True Religion headphones and that 2 inch nub of a pencil stuck under his bed from last school year.

But, I’m not tripping.

I mean, all of motherhood is incredible. All stages of motherhood are magical and crazy. However, it just feels like folks get mothers of younger kids more than they get mothers of teens.

Thinking back to before I had my son, did I look at the mothers of older children as being different from mothers of younger children?

I guess if I’m honest, I probably did.

I incorrectly thought they could stay later at work because they didn’t have to rush to daycare – not knowing that they needed to rush to take a non-driving kid to work or practice.

I may have envied their spit-up free blouses (I did rock one for a few minutes unknowingly, until a Godsend of a coworker loaned me a scarf to cover the stain); totally ignoring the bags under their eyes from the lack of sleep…from waiting to hear a teen come in from a party where you know some ignorant fool would try to sneak some liquor in.

All in all, in the words of the great Shirley Caesar, “I wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now”.

If I didn’t have the experience of explaining the importance of owning his own body to a 4 year old (try explaining the little one not wanting to kiss relatives that he just met), I wouldn’t have had the language to speak to a 13 year old about what consent meant after the Steubenville rape case… and who could or couldn’t give it.

If I had never spoken to my six year old about the same sex families who attended my church, it probably would have been a big deal to talk about the issues transgender people face. His school district is dealing with the issue of bathroom access for transgender students.

So, I do love to see moms pick up their kids and give them kisses and hugs, but those days are long gone for me.

I don’t have the ability to lift up a 6’3 inch 200 lb starting varsity basketball player… but, I’m still Mom, even though Mom has morphed into Bruh.

The name may have changed and the duties altered, but the job at this phase is still the most magnificent and blessed ministry I could have ever hoped for.

Dreaming about what parenthood looks like for grown people, I’m thinking folks will pay for my dinner and come pick me up.

Won’t that be great?

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