The other night, as I was tending to the business of getting lunch and school clothes ready for the next day, I
eavesdropped overheard Little Man’s conversation with not one, but three little girls. At first I smiled and chuckled to myself at the cuteness of the awkward, youthful first phones calls with “girls.” But the chuckles were quickly replaced with tears, as I realized that everything is about to change. And rapidly.
You see, Little Man will be 11 in just a few days. And with that comes many bittersweet changes to our lives as we’ve known them. Soon, the company of buddies and the opinions of 11-year-old girls will matter far more than that of mom’s. I will soon become “uncool” and an infringement on his suddenly-much-needed privacy.
I realize that I am completely un-unique in this respect. Billions of parents have experienced this same sense of sadness for their own little ones’ transitions from cuddly child to big person. And I appreciate how very lucky I am to be able to marvel at the person he is growing to be. He’s had some truly challenging times, yet carries within him a compassion, a sense of wonder and a joie de vivre that I’ve encountered in very few people. And that makes my heart smile.
And yet, part of me mourns the five-year-old that I can now only visit in my memories. The child who wanted nothing more than to snuggle with me on the sofa and watch a movie. Soon, I will only be able to smell his hair and tickle his belly in my daydreams…because it will be “totally whack” to do that when he’s 15 and with his friends. I know our cuddling days are numbered, and I dread the day I hear “mom, is it ok if I go to the movies with Brittany?” *sigh.
However, as he grows and becomes, more and more, who he is meant to be, I am profoundly thankful and grateful that this beautiful soul chose to share his journey with me. That I have been the lucky recipient of his laughter and smiles, his wonderful hugs and his many “I love you’s.” So in a few days, while he’s eating cake and receiving birthday wishes and presents, I will be celebrating the gift of him. And that is truly worth more to me than anything else could ever have been.
Happy birthday, Little Man. I love you. © Racheal Lee Bradford