They're quite aware of what they're going through

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life43 Comments


I haven't been writing a whole lot about my second born force of nature, also known as Cole.

He's asked me to ease up on the public display—the Tweets, the Instagrams—the photos and snippets in general that will go out into the world for public consumption. 

I want to honor his requests and even though I'd love to write more about this kid who is really not a kid anymore, I'm going to keep his stories where he wants them: at home, in our albums perhaps, but far less on my blog for now.

I think it would be hard to be a 13-year-old boy. I have zero personal experience with it. But I feel like it requires a whole different set of navigational instruments. Part of my job right now is to learn and see and understand and guide while and where I can.

Make no mistake, he's still the coolest, funniest, most creative dude I know. I'd like to show him my support in every way that I can as he works his way through this time and place in his life.

Know what I'm sayin'?





Cathy ZielskeThey're quite aware of what they're going through

43 Comments on “They're quite aware of what they're going through”

  1. #1

    How sweet and cute this Cathy!! He’s been the coolest dude all of his life from what I see and read from you. I was hoping the boys were easiest during these years, after all the drama my girls bring Sam is such a breath of fresh air. Still working on the whole shower/cleaniness/brushing teeth stuff but overall he melts my heart daily still. Enjoy your awesome teenage boy!!

  2. #2

    It is so wonderful to have such an open and honest relationship between teenager and parent. I agree that he has given us great joy but it is time for him to assert his need for privacy. You and Dan are amazing parents to two wonderful young people.
    Jo xx

  3. #3
    Barbara Eads

    I have to get permission from my grandchildren before I can post photos or stories about them. I even had to bribe my 7 yr. old to let me post a story and photo of a note from one of her friends. She said, “grammy, it’s embarrassing!” It was just so darn cute. She relented with the promise of an extra Christmas present! Surprisingly, the teens in the family like to be featured—even their friends!

  4. #4
    Heather H.

    I have 4 daughters and they all LOVE to be talked about & pictures plastered in blogland and on facebook…..BUT I also have 2 nephews that live in town and every time I get my camera out they either hide or qualify having their pictures taken with the statement “don’t put this on the computer”. Funny creatures, those boys! 😉 Wishing Cole (and you) all the best as you navigate these teen years. He *is* an AMAZING kid!

  5. #5

    As a fellow mom of a thirteen year old boy, I can firmly attest to the difficulty of just being a thirteen year old boy. Ranks right up there with being a twelve year old girl…we have one of those too! Prayers for them all…

  6. #6
    Kirsten J

    Yep. My 13 year old girl suddenly doesn’t want me to even take her picture if anyone is in the vicinity. And she needs to approve any pictures before they get printed and end up in the Project Life album. I’m afraid this years album will be slim pickins….

  7. #7
    Julie Mitchell

    I also have a 13 year old boy and it is the same. I too respect it. My 15 year old boy did the same. They’re more fun in person anyway so it’s better that way!

  8. #8

    I had a family blog for 7 years. I felt the need to pull it down and not feature my 13 year old boy and 15 year old girl this year. I now have a blog that is just ME. Not them. It’s weird but I can’t imagine what it would’ve been like being a teenager and having my mom blog about me. Life is so different for kids now.

  9. #9
    Alice Golden

    I think you are right… I have a 13 year old boy too and try to keep mention of him to a minimum. One of my older son’s has a friend whose mom is a writer and blogs about her children endlessly… turns out the boys in his class were reading the mom’s blog and teasing the boy relentlessly. Agree with the comment above – life is very different for kids (and parents) now.

  10. #10

    Right there with you, my son will be 14 in April. I am an extrovert and my husband and son are more introverted. It’s interesting! We often laugh at ourselves and wonder how we survive an adolescent boy, a menopausal mom and a mid-life dad. You just gotta laugh and document as life is forever changing!

  11. #11
    Marge J

    Oh girl! I am so paddling this boat right along with you!! Both my teens have declared “censorship” privileges over anything that hits the web! So now I have to run it by the editors before I press send! Which their right! I try very hard to only post things that portray them in a good light and to be the awesome people I know them to be! The 9yo wild child, he’s another story. He could seriously be sit-com material!!! 😉

  12. #13

    I love Cole! I have watched him grow up. He is smart, fun, creative, and adorable! I will miss the posts but totally understand why Cole wouldn’t want to be featured on a blog, Maybe he might let you post a few pictures of his next performance.

  13. #14
    Lynne Gillis

    You are simply awesome. Big love to you and Cole… and kudos for teaching him by your example what true respect looks like. Bravo!

  14. #16

    Understood.. at time was wondering how he was doing. Otherwise give him his own space. Check with him for at time to pop pictures of him at times. So we would know he’s okay like you just post his picture. Miss him!

  15. #17
    madeline St onge

    Cathy he is a really cool dude and you are a really cool mom for honoring his wishes 😉

  16. #18
    Paige S.

    You’re right to honor his wishes. It’s been fun watching both of your kids grow up and we all know that amazing kids have AMAZING parents.

  17. #19
    Kim S (nerdgrl)

    I know exactly how you feel. I’m the FB monitoring guru for my nephew. He blocked me for awhile because I made a comment, not about him, but about the language some of his friends were using to post on his page. Since I see everything, I was not amused at their casual use of yucky vulgarity. Although I made my post as pleasant as possible, he was razzed by his friends (our last names are different so his friends didn’t know who I was.) Now, I just shoot an email to my sister who then grills him on the posts.

  18. #20

    Forget all the other family-related stuff you’ve posted over the years. THIS, this one post right here, shows what a terrific mom you are. You are treating Cole’s request (and by extension, Cole himself) with love and deep respect. You’re awesome.

    Of course we’re all nosy out here on the internets (otherwise, what would we be doing reading about another family’s lives?), but I hope all your readers understand your decision to keep Cole’s life more private, at his request. Kudos to you, Cathy!

  19. #21
    Libbi M. (Ashland, Oregon)

    I can totally understand. I have a 13 year old girl who expresses the same request from me. I have to remember to embrace the changes she is experiencing right now.

  20. #22

    I think you’re the luckiest mom alive just to get that photo—my 13 year old WILL NOT let me take a picture—he turns his head, puts his hands over his face, runs, whatever it takes to avoid the camera.

  21. #23
    Kasandra Mathieson

    I have a 13 year old boy Cathy and I too have to be careful what I post! He got a shirt for Christmas from his sister and brother-in-law that read “YOUR MOTHER PAYS ME TO BE EASY ON YOU!” Best Christmas present ever and he happily let me take his picture and put it on Instagram…so don’t give up, sometimes it just needs to be the right picture lol. I always ask his permission and that seems to help….

  22. #24
    Maureen Mathis

    I totally feel you, girl. I’ve got an 18 year old boy, and once they reach middle school, they have earned the right to either share their life with you, or not. Do whatever needs to be done (or not done) in order to keep that door open. He’ll share IF, WHEN and HOW MUCH he wants, but it will only happen if he feels SAFE in doing so. And some kids are just more private than others, it’s just what makes them unique. Celebrating their value to the family doesn’t have to be in a public forum, and it doesn’t diminish the value of having him in the family ONE BIT because it can’t be shared in this way. He sounds like a great kid, just trying to find his way like the rest of us! Thanks for reminding us that honoring our relationships sometimes means changing the way that we do things. It’s worth it.

  23. #25
    Angie K

    My teenage boy is 18, a Senior in HS and definately doesn’t want me posting anything on his Facebook, Twitter, or even on the general interwebs where we can be connected by anyone he knows. It’s not that I don’t love him, or he doesn’t love me. He’s establishing his adult boundaries and I’m learning my boundaries with him. Pretty normal stuff in a world where we want to know everything about everyone at all times.

  24. #26

    Loved your post Cathy! I have two boys at home right now ages, 12 & 16 and they just hate even having their pictures taken! It makes it kind of hard to do a scrapbook- but I too, have to respect their choices. This year for PL I decided to focus on what I see and what I experience – with occasional pics of the boys (when it happens) and so far so good.

  25. #27
    Tammy B

    Totally know what you’re saying. I have two boys – 17 and 15. One day they love me too much and the next I need to stay out of their space. I have two younger brothers and I don’t remember how they were at this age, other than annoying! Happy thoughts to you and Cole!

  26. #29

    My teen said it was wrong to post so much about her, “there’s creepers out there, you know, mom”. And she’s right, we watched Cole’s Lego creations and we still talk about that kid that makes awesome Lego stuff!

  27. #30

    I know exactly what you’re saying, Cathy. My 16 year old doesn’t even want me scrapbook about him. I have to ask him very nicely if he could please give me just one photo of him on his gliding course (for example) so I at least have some sort of record that he was there. He was at a function recently where he met the Governor of NSW and I STILL don’t have the photo! It hurts this scrapbooker’s heart, lol! But we have to accept that they are people in their own right and have feelings and opinions. So I don’t scrapbook about him at the moment (but I do sneak in the occasional small photo on my month in review layouts!)

  28. #31
    Candy Clay

    Cathy–am loving the project life stuff you are doing. Is there a set of digital
    Papers you have that match the seafoam collection. I like thngs to match color
    Wise butmwould like more patterns. Your videos are amazing. Not only will
    I get PL done this year I’m going to learn a lit more about PSE which is one of my 2013 goals

  29. #32

    Hey Candy, you know, I only have a few set of papers. Maybe I will design some that will match the colors, as I have just gotten the set in the mail myself today! : )

  30. #33
    Sam Raymond

    Yes they are special at 13. They do come out the other side. So I have been told. They just need a bucketful of patience and understanding. I am at the 17 and a half stage. Also additional quantities of hair dye.

  31. #35

    Yay Cole!
    Yay Cole’s Mom!
    Thanks for the explanation.
    Boundaries and respect are an important part of love and communication.
    With any luck, you two may well be leading by example.
    – Lee
    P.S. So glad the family albums at home continue to grow because they are an amazing treasure.

  32. #36

    If it wasn’t for the fact I call my youngest “Daughter-two” on the blog, most people would not realise I have two kids! Daughter-One passed a similar edit on sharing about her several years ago. it’s a shame as I loved your stories about Cole, he is such a cool guy 🙂

  33. #37
    tiffany h.

    Bummer for us b/c he’s so cute and does the greatest/funniest/coolest things! But I get that he’s a teen and doesn’t want the world to know his every move.

  34. #38
    Margy Eastman

    You’re a good mom. My little guy is the same way…and he’s seven. I suppose some folks wonder why the bulk of my layouts that float around in cyberspace are about my dogs. They’re not embarassed by anything I write:)

  35. #39
    Nihao, Cupcake! by Margie

    I have THREE boys. One who is 14.5 & another who just turned 12. This is definitely the most difficult time I’ve had as a parent so far. With my oldest the challenges started around 12ish and they are starting with my 12 year old now. Luckily the 14 year old is already starting to grow out of some of the challenges. Someone told me it gets easier after 13 or 14. I think I am starting to believe them. I sure hope that is true. They are still amazing, of course just a lot more mental work and challenging in ways I never really expected. Wonderful, of course, that you are respecting his wishes.

  36. #40

    Perhaps it is the difference between men/women… as my twin brother gets nervous about what I post on my blog, thinking that my kids will hate me for making that public someday. Hubby and I talked about it once… he stated: Someday, if one of our kids runs for public office, someone will search your blog and find the story about when “Child A” hid his bagel under his plate and lied that he ate it so that he could have more berries. “His own mother calls him a liar!” hubby declares.

    I don’t look at it as airing our dirty laundry… I started blogging because I wanted to remember the details (and haven’t been good about writing in a traditional journal, but BLOGGING I can easily do.)

    While we REALLY ENJOY watching your AWESOME SON grow up before our very eyes, we respect his need for privacy. Having 2 little boys, thanks for the heads-up that this will happen to ME someday too…

  37. #41

    Bon dia! I have a few minutes to spare while enjoying my morning coffee and found my way to your blog. I was actually searching for Nike+ widgets for my blog and somehow came across a listing for your blog. Don’t you just love how it all works?

    Thanks for sharing. I look forward to more of you, your moments & your blog. Cheers to you, Cathy!

  38. #42


    Someone asked me very recently why I am always leaving my kids out of my blog. (Like it’s a popularity contest, lol, getting to be on Mom’s blog!) Everything is so available now, how can I possibly publish stuff that might make them feel uncomfortable? I totally, totally get it!

  39. #43

    I hear you. My 13 year old son would agree. And then there is this: they are thinking about privacy and the web. How great is that? They are thinking about the image that gets put out there where everyone can see it. We are doing something right here.

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