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I’m in a love-hate relationship with the independence that comes with high school.

My baby just started his Freshman year. I love that in 2 days he’s seemingly mastered the art of making his own lunches, is already a wiz at getting around Chicago on public transportation, and already seems to have a new crew of friends that he is content to “hang out” with.

I love that he even seems to be enjoying his classes (as much as one can) and has established a “homework buddy” for one of the more challenging ones. I love that he gives me at least 24 hours notice when he needs something rather than telling me 3 hours before or even after the fact. I love his growing independence.

I love that he self-advocates. I love that he can now win almost any debate with me with the most reasonable argument that is not only difficult to argue against but usually comes with a humorous twist (okay, maybe I hate that just a little :/).

While the love part takes up the most space in my brain from day to day, the hate part simmers just below the surface. I hate that he doesn’t need me to walk him to school anymore. I hate that I don’t know where he is half the time when he’s not at school. I hate that “quality time” with him is the 7 minutes he sits with us at the dinner table while wolfing down his food and grunting out a few words about his day before rushing off again.

I hate that a full sentence from him consists of 3 words that don’t have syllables. I hate that I only know what he decides to share with me. I hate that what he does decide to share with me usually consists of 3 words that don’t have syllables.

ian-high-schoolI hate that the smiley boy who was thrilled at the idea of posing and giving me a smile full of the biggest expression that life could offer, now, at the mere suggestion that I take a photo of him, has a full on hissy fit with at least 6 words without syllables (and done in a way that is full of the biggest expression that life could offer).

All along I wanted my baby to grow up. I wanted him to be confident and independent. I wanted him to advocate for himself.

Now I just want to freeze frame these last few years with him before he flies the coop — as the young man I am so proud to call my son.