My Little Man
My son is 8 and a half years old. It's incredible to me that he is a little man these days! Yes, he still comes in to snuggle some mornings. He'll usually hold my hand when I pick him up from camp or school. He can read over my shoulder and spelling things out hasn't worked in a while. I still get his bagel ready for breakfast and he still wants me up stairs while he's falling asleep. But lately I've been realizing he's growing up.
We went fishing last night with his Uncle PJ at Crystal Lake. The loons swam by and Z was the only one to catch a few little fish. PJ actually had one, but it got away. It was, as he put it, a "lunker" but he didn't land it so it doesn't count! Today Z and I went back to the lake and watching the families with little ones I realized how much has changed over the years.
When he was just learning how to walk I took him to the beach and recorded his first few steps off the towel and onto the sand. What a confusing sensation that must've been for him! He wasn't steady on his feet by any means so I was always with him and most of the time was spent holding his hands as he wandered up and down the beach. The next year, when he was one and a half, he just wanted to be IN the water and trips were planned around naps. It was a huge expedition to the beach! We needed props, food, blankets, shade, patience, etc. Those people were at the beach today and it was a pleasure to know I was past that stage in my parenting career!
Then as he got older, he wanted to be spun in the water but not put his face in. If you got his eyes wet he'd be screaming for a towel. Around 5 to 6 years old I was still watching him like a hawk, knowing my child would see just how deep he could go before I called him back in. At 5 he seemed to respect that; at 6 he pretended not to hear me, which resulted in many days being cut short. Those weren't fun endings... screaming child in the car with me trying to get all of our stuff thrown in as well. I just smile now when I see other moms going through the same thing now.
Oh, did I mention that as I say that, I mean that I smile as I'm READING a book or magazine? YES! Last year he took swim lessons, went fully under water and swam to the rock pile (which is a rite of passage and in about 10 feet of water) with me by his side. This year he can do it himself although a grown up needs to be with him. Sorry, that's the old lifeguard in me. I did ask him if he wanted to do it alone today and was so relieved when he said no. Thank God!
So today he was in the water alone, started playing with some of his friends from school, and then came up to me (I was lying on my towel, not looking. Because I can now.) and he told me he was going fishing with his friend "the other Zach." Um. Ok? I had no idea what was going on but I knew a blog post was in the making. History was in the making! I had to change up some lures a few times, add or remove bobbers and I gave the Please Don't Hook Each Other speech. Then they were off, still in sight and shouting distance. Fishing. Two boys fishing. While mom- that's me- sat on the beach.
Sigh. It makes me take a deep sigh right now just thinking about it! Someday he'll know how to take a fish off the hook, but for now when the other Zach is there he'll help him if I'm not beside him. I was hoping to go back tonight and fish a little more, but as I sit here typing my little 8 year old just came into the kitchen, naked, asking what's for dinner. I guess he's not my little man just yet. Some day very soon he's going to realize it's not cool to just take off a wet bathing suit and be naked in front of your mom. He's going to know that it's not cool to hold my hand, or to give me the goodbye kiss at the bus stop.
What gives me hope is that I can see how much I love this little human he is becoming. He's funny, frustrating, strong willed, talkative (understatement of the year) and thoughtful. He's polite and compassionate. And he's bossy. He's a total mix of his father and me with a little extra somethin' somethin' thrown in to make him totally unique.
He is Z.