What to Do When the Baby Turns Thirteen

A house full of “young men” doesn’t happen overnight.
Slippery things, boys are, one minute covered in chocolate frosting,
And the next minute starting a career and a family.

But there’s always the baby, right?
Sweet voice and smooth cheek in a baritone and bearded world.
Until —

I look in the mirror and know
That thirteen years look a lot different
On me than on this man-cub-birthday-boy.

Is it time for me to make a change?
How will I greet this new phase of mothering,
In which, one by one, everybody needs me less?

What will I do differently?

Deliberating over the dishwater,
Simmering over the stove,
Musing in the mini-van,
I have concluded that this momentous occasion calls for

Absolutely nothing.

Mothering is still Job One, even if there are
fewer demands on the day,
fewer socks to sort,
fewer schedules to manage, beds to make, plates on the table.

The truth is that “babies of the family” have lived their days
In a house full of noisy clatter and conversation and compromise.
One by one, the companions will depart,
Following tracks that involve fewer and fewer stops at this station.

However, home is still home,
And this home has always included meals around a table,
Read-alouds and movie nights,
Pampering on sick days,
And the knowledge that someone is available to say,

“My life for yours.”

“My time for your needs.”

“My effort for your comfort.”

“My anticipation for your requirements.”

While this will not enhance my resume or feed my retirement account,
This is the essence of mothering-past-the-mid-point.
The labor of letting go without dropping the ball.
The sacrifice of my gifts so that
The gift of sacrifice can go on until the day that
All the birds have flown and the nest is empty at last.



Linking up today at The Loft where the conversation is always inspiring, and the prompt today is “Family”!  Be sure to drop in and spend some time reading – and add your own thoughts!



11 thoughts on “What to Do When the Baby Turns Thirteen”

  1. Cherish these days! In the last 2 years, our son (now 24) has moved out, started an impressive career, is contemplating engagement, and yesterday made an offer to purchase a house! He is a blessing, and we are blessed to still spend time with him, but the clock never moves backwards! Thanks for the beautiful post & God bless.


  2. Michele,

    I can still remember when my youngest was first married and gone. I would drive by his high school and it would feel so shocking to think that was all behind us!!! Now I have grandchildren who have left the nest! I’m not sure where the time goes! We need to treasure every moment, don’t we!


    Liked by 1 person

  3. I feel for you. I cried the day my son’s voice changed. He was becoming a man. My son a man? When did that happen? Well, now he’s a well adjusted lovely “man” with a son of his own. I’m blessed. The son gave me a son….grandson. Its the family multiplier!. lol

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post, Michelle. But that empty nest thing? I learned the nest fills up with grand-chickies pretty fast. I think mothering goes on until the day we go Home.


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