The parents of older kids would always smile ruefully, "It gets different."
Huh. What the heck does that mean? Not very helpful. Or hopeful.
Now that we are here, I totally understand what they meant. Sure, some things are way easier--teens don't need you minute-by-minute. And they are articulate enough to explain almost anything.
I wasn't prepared for them to not WANT me though. Or be unwilling to use those brilliant words to talk to me. Their thumbs hardly ever stop as they text their words, thoughts, feelings to their friends. Parents get only grunts, or maybe nods.
I am learning to watch for the secret signs of affection that come rarely, and disappear so quickly, you wonder if you imagined it, like the rain in a desert that is gone and dried before your thirst is slaked.
- The silent fist bump at a band performance (I thought he was coming over for snack money)
- The direct eye contact at school pick-up which must suffice for "Thank You"
- When he mentions a fear of spiders, and I can't resist the impulse to put my hand near his lap and wiggle the fingers and he pretends mock-horror. I am sure the corners of his mouth lifted a millimeter before he returned to his regular bored expression.