My children are growing up. Seems obvious really, it is what they do. But lately it has been at an alarmingly quick rate. The Blue Eyed Boy is in his last year of primary school. In him now I see glimpses of the man he will become. Facial expressions, thinking patterns, the way he walks and talks.
While I like to think I am not all that sentimental, I really want to bottle this moment, this age. He is independent, has self reliance, thinks of others. Â He still seeks out my company and that of Hubby. He has maturity, perception and a good dose of empathy.
Only a year back I remember thinking perhaps he would never grow out of the silly phase. Friends with older children assured me he would. He did.
Hubby and I are entering a new part of parenting. We have no babies, toddlers, not even any children in early childhood. We have independence, theirs and ours. I get a buzz from watching him do things on his own, where he takes the lead and we follow. Like taking his grandparents from Etihad Stadium, through Southern Cross Station and on to a tram back to their hotel while we collected the car and drove. Or the confident way he navigates the MCG, the airport, or how he ran ahead of Hubby and The Green Eyed Girl at the Mother’s Day Classic alone, then waited for them to cross the finish line. The way he then said how next year could he please run with me. The self assured way he orders in cafes and restaurants. How he gets out of the car at school with a hasty goodbye and doesn’t look back – no need he’s secure in his surroundings and knows I love him without having to call after him from the car.
It’s a very different stage from baby and toddlerhood – when people would smile down at the Blue Eyed Boy, comment on lovely golden curls, huge blue eyes, creamy skin, or admire his idiosyncratic ways. We are no longer the seen parents – the ones with lovely little people, pushing prams, wrangling tears and tantrums (of which there were plenty.) We are the parents of older children -the ones that are not so seen -the ones whose children pass by without comment or smiles from strangers affirming how lovely they are. On one hand it’s nice, because with this less visible stage of parenting comes less unsolicited advice, thankfully. But on the other hand, I am immensely proud of the way my children are turning out and it can be hard to show that when people pass by and see nothing but a parent and their tween children. (I hate the term tween, but was lost for an alternate word.) Because it’s not all bad, it’s not all door slamming and eye rolling from the kids or me. There is conversation about ethics, history, politics, movies, books. There is space and time apart, good for him, good for us.
I know the teen years lay ahead with all their moodiness and pulling away. I know too though that he will return again when all is said and done. He is my son, so I can brag a little, love a lot.