My Son Is 15 and I Wonder, How Did We Get Here So Quickly?

15 1/2 years. How did we get here so fast?

Yesterday I watched my teenager play high school football for the first time.
Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was holding the newborn version of him in my arms and introducing him to the world? Back then he was just a delicate little creature and I was an insecure new mom, terrified of failing at parenting.

Yesterday I watched my teenager step onto the field as one of the players selected by his coaches to serve as team captain. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was snuggling with the toddler version of him in the glider in his room singing “I love you so much” as he drifted off to sleep?

How did my youngest grow up so fast? (Twenty20 @yvonneganphoto)

Growing-up happens so quickly

Back then he was a cautious child who preferred to watch for a long time before he dared to try taking his first step and I was a nervous mom, afraid that the world would be too scary for my timid and sweet little boy.

Yesterday I watched my teenager push himself physically and mentally in a game that has become his favorite way to spend his time. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I had to peel the preschool version of him off of me and leave him crying with his new teacher?

Back then he was nervous about trying new things or being away from his family and I was the mom sitting in the car in the parking lot crying, worried that I was breaking his heart by leaving him with someone other than me.

Yesterday I watched my teenager get fist bumps and helmet taps from his teammates and coaches while I sat all the way up in the stands. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was volunteering in his kindergarten class and coordinating his playdates?

Back then he was eager to meet new friends in school and was finding his bravery as he began trying sports and I was the mom sitting in the waiting room of his karate class, my heart bursting with pride as I watched him begin to push past his fears.

Yesterday while my oldest son was on the field, my youngest son sat with me in the stands, watching the entire game, his tall middle school self engrossed in every detail of what his brother was doing. Wasn’t it just yesterday that my baby was spending his big brother’s games playing with the other younger siblings, getting snacks from the snack shack, and putting “cool” rocks that he found around the field in my bag?

So much has changed over the years

Back then my boys were happy to spend entire weekends on some sort of sports field and I was the mom beginning to make new friends with the other moms, carefully beginning to pull away and let my boys navigate their own friendships without my help.

Yesterday we all went home as a family and had serious conversations about religion, politics, and history. Wasn’t it just yesterday that our family conversations centered around Mickey Mouse and Optimus Prime?

Back then my boys weren’t very aware of the world outside our house’s 4 walls, and I was the mom who was struggling with how much to tell them about the real world.

Yesterday my teenager communicated with the boss at his new job about his orientation schedule for the weekend. Wasn’t it just yesterday that our weekends were spent completely all together as a family?

Back then my boys just tagged along wherever we went and I was the mom who was trying to find balance for the family — somewhere between being bored and being over-scheduled.

Yesterday a very different version of my family filled my day. It was a version filled with the angst of teenage boys, sarcastic brotherly quips at each other, practical jokes, and video games I thought I would never allow in my house.
Wasn’t it just yesterday that our house was filled with the squeals of little voices, Lego competitions, Imaginext figures, sweet games like CandyLand, and long snuggles before bedtime?

Back then I thought the time was moving slowly for my family and I was the mom completely unaware of how much I would miss the old days. Days like today seemed to be light-years away.

But, here I sit – squarely in the middle of the teen and tween parenting stage of my life, a stage I used to fear. Now I am the mom spending her days enjoying this amazing season of the parenting journey.

Today I am the mom who is acutely aware that someday soon, very soon, my boys will be young men, and some tomorrow not so far in the future I’ll be the mom wondering where all our time went.

More to Read:

Teaching a Teen to Drive? 15 Things Parents Need to Know (Mom of 3)

About Jenni Brennan

Jenni Brennan is a psychotherapist, college professor, creator of Changing Perspectives, and co-host of The Changing Perspectives Podcast. Jenni is passionate about exploring the topics of parenting, relationships, grief, and mental health through her writing and podcast episodes. She lives with her husband, 2 teenage sons, 3 dogs, and 2 cats in Boston, Massachusetts. You can follow Jenni on Instagram.

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