SJ, my younger son is no longer 9. He has said goodbye to single digits. And then he was 10.
It Feels Momentous
Not momentous in a way where everything is radically different. He’s not going to high school, learning how to drive, having his first beer, moving out of the house, starting a job, or getting married.
But momentous in that adding that second digit means he is older. He is not a baby, toddler, or even a little boy.
He’s now a tween.
SJ has been showing some of the moodiness of that age group for a while. He is no longer perpetually happy-go-lucky. It’s only a sometimes thing now. He appreciates his space. He is easily annoyed.
But it’s not the moodiness that makes it momentous.
The other day I asked SJ what he might want to do when he grows up. His response: An Air Force pilot or a Historian.
What? When did these serious professions come up? I still remember when his answer to that question was Thomas the Tank Engine.
He is growing up. The thought of him being older – a teen, high school student, college man – does not seem as vague or distant. I see it happening.
Recently, while we were walking up to the waiting area at school, he told me he didn’t want me to hold his hand.
What? I knew it was coming, but I wasn’t ready. And I told him so.
“You can’t stop this just like that. I need some warning. I need some time to adjust. This hurts, you know. Can’t we have more time?”
“This is just for today.”
“Oh. Good. I wasn’t ready. Everything okay.”
“Uh-huh. I’m just getting older you know.”
“I know buddy. I know. I’m adjusting – aren’t I?”
“Yeah, you are. Pretty much.”
But I don’t want to let go of his hand. When he says stop, I’m done. There is no next child who will want that kind of attention, affection. There is no next child who will want to play and be silly. There is no next child who will want to be Thomas the Tank Engine when he grows up.
I finally get what it means to be the youngest. He’s my baby. But he’s no baby.
I’m the youngest of four boys. But I hated being called the baby. In my eyes -I was no baby. I didn’t want my mother, or anyone for that matter, to call me a baby.
“But you’ll always be my baby.” I don’t know how many times I have heard my mother say it. I still don’t like it.
But I get it now.
And Then He Was 10
SJ has been engaged in the election. He’s asked questions, watched speeches, and debated the pros and cons of each candidate.
SJ reads books on famous scientists and asks questions about historical events (Thank you to Lauren Tarshis’ I Survived series of books.)
SJ is interested in and wants to know about me. He asks me all kinds of questions about my life growing up and what different family members were like.
His world is no longer just about him. He sees beyond and has concerns, interests, joys, and frustrations that are outside of his own sphere.
This is the mark of a mature/ing person.
And then he was 10.
I get it. It’s such a mix of emotions…..proud and excited about the future but feeling a loss. Oh, and thanks for the book tip. Always looking for new, interesting stuff for the girls. I’ll be ordering a set.
Glad to help with the books. Let me know how it goes over. What about you any recs?
Oh what a moment!
I read a poem several years ago that amounted to the fact that, you never know when it’s the last time. When you carry your little to bed, you never know that it was the last time that will happen. When you hold his hand walking up to school, you never know that it was the last time it will happen.
As Mr. T got older, there were a few times that I was vividly aware of a “last time”, and it was bittersweet.
So, enjoy these bittersweet moments as your son proves you have done a great job at raising him to stand on his own!
Thanks for sharing this Kate. I was wondering as I was reading your posts during Mr. T’s last year how you would feel. It seems like his senior had some amazing moments that you truly shared in.
Nicely done, those moments are bittersweet sometimes but they are good. It is hard to say goodbye to yesterday but today and tomorrow can be pretty good too.
Agreed – ultimately, they are good. While I appreciate the past, I always strive to look forward.
He looks older too. Congrats on his birthday. Very glad to hear his world is expanding. Not sure where the air force pilot comes from, but that’s pretty cool.
Thanks. The pilot is also from reading that book. He’s gotten interested in learning about history – including war.
It is hard. I totally getcha. When my oldest started middle school-ugh! And in a couple years it will be h.s. Ouch! I’m so grateful I still have one who acts like a little one. I suppose there are pros to older kids too. Like less whining–I hope!
I see pros to it – for sure. But that doesn’t mean you can’t miss the little kid stuff too.
The whining – ehh. Sort of.