Friday, July 5, 2013

Appreciating my tween

 A Fourth of July picnic breakfast with friends Sam and Josh.

The boys loved participating in the Fourth of July games at the pool.  Cooper, in the camo suit, tried the limbo. 

I spot them all the time.  They are in the grocery stores, the library, and the pool.  They are nestled in soft blankets, often snoozing.  I peek into strollers and car seats, desperate for a glimpse of ten tiny pink toes, chubby thighs, and curled lips.  When I glance at a fresh little one, I'm immediately transported back to the time when my boys reclined in car seats and lounged in bassinets.  A time when I could cup my hand around the back of their heads and gaze into their eyes.  How I adored the times when my smile could unleash a coo and a giggle!

My baby is four.  Those days are over.  It saddens me.

Yesterday, the boys and I devoured an amazing Fourth of July cookie cake.  It was as if the cake held a magnetic pull on my fork; I simply could not stop myself from enjoying bite after delicious bite.  After I digested an inordinate amount of cake, I collapsed on the couch in a post-cake stupor ( a slight bit reminiscent of that sickening post-Thanksgiving feel!).  In a drunken-cake state, I teased Caleb, "Why did you make me eat all that cake?"

Without missing a beat, he tossed back a witty reply and we continued from there in our playful banter.

Later, I thought about our conversation.  I smiled as I ruminated on how fun and familiar our relationship has become (most of the time).  At ten years old, Caleb has finally landed at the age where we can engage in anything from a witty repartee to an intense discussion.  He can express his thoughts on current events and pop culture.  We can discuss books and movies (ones that don't involve a single animated character!).

Ten year olds can do that, babies cannot.

At ten years old, Caleb can run into a store (alone) and buy a gallon of milk.  He can call the local pizzeria and order dinner.  He can clean a toilet and make a bed.  He can whip up muffins and bake the most amazing chocolate chip cookies.

Ten year olds can do that, babies cannot.

At ten years old, Caleb can tell the difference from right and wrong.  He can make his decision on religious beliefs and spiritual growth.  He can select friends and build relationships.

Ten year olds can do that, babies cannot.

As I mentally compiled a list of all that Caleb is and can do, I began to appreciate the aspects of having an "older" child. 

I'll never stop swooning over babies, but I'll quit saying, "those were the day" when I gaze at little bundles.  Instead, I'll remember the best days are still to come.

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