Time to Be Eight

To My Big Boy,

Yesterday morning as we walked to school, hand-in-hand, I asked you about how things went for you as a seven-year-old. I said you did an amazing job of being seven and gave you a short list of highlights. None of what I mentioned meant much to you. All you had to say was, “I just don’t want to sit in the booster seat anymore.”

That pretty much sums up where you feel you are now; eight years old and ready to step away from little boy things. I am still going to give you a run-down of what you accomplished as a seven-year-old even if you don’t care about it. That’s what parents do. We offer you a hat for the cold weather, you reject it, and we shove it on to your head anyway.hockeypuck

Another year gone by means another year of growth. You are stronger, more athletic, and can easily throw a baseball over the backyard fence. I have been jumped on, stepped on, chased and tackled, blasted with soccer balls, and nearly decapitated by those fast flying baseballs. You have outgrown two bicycles and are now borrowing my socks.

Your appetite has grown as well, yet finding foods you like that aren’t deep fried or pizza is a challenge. Add to that, your tastes are changing rapidly. Every one of my meals gets a good once over and often the presence of some small ingredient that doesn’t meet your standard for that week is enough to put you off the entire thing. I’m not sure this is a real issue beyond just a desire to have some control over at least one part of your life since every other part of it seems to be controlled by someone else, mostly Big Sister.

thumbsupforpizzaThis is a difficult time of transition for you. You continue to be a great student and leader in your class yet you are easily bored, distracted by the increasing craziness of boyhood, preferring to socialize after you have ripped through your assignments. Though when your teacher is trying to get the classroom’s attention, you are the first to put up your “quiet coyote” to help everyone get quiet. You love the classroom, you just don’t want to do any classwork.

Speaking of school, your popularity there continues to amaze me. During a school assembly last year you were one of several kids presented with an award and the announcement of your name earned the biggest response of the event. As I looked out at the crowd I suddenly thought “Why are all of these fourth-grade girls cheering?” You can thank Big Sister for that. She may annoy you to no end but she will always be on your side, including you in her circle of friends. As if your popularity with those girls wasn’t high enough, you have taken up the acoustic guitar. I am simultaneously proud of you and dreading what is to come of this.

guitar_smAt home you are fully immersed in the world of boy things: pizza, candy, homemade slime, soccer and hockey and video games. You have no problem downing an entire box of candy you bought at the dollar store with your allowance but prefer frozen blueberries for dessert. You are a master at Star Wars Trouble and beat me nearly every time. I do frustrate you sometimes with my methodical, measured approach to playing games. When we play cooperative Minecraft or Rayman Legends, you get exasperated and yank the controller out of my hands “Just let me do it, Dad…

You are ready to take all of this eight-year-old energy and channel it into things that are entirely yours. You want to play on a baseball team, a football team (nope), and have your own phone (nope). You want to be rid of that booster seat, brush your teeth without my supervision, buy your own laptop, and do all of the things Big Sister gets to do. So far it’s not working out well for you and it’s an injustice you cannot stand.

kittydad2You may be wanting to grow up, to get away from those little boy things and stand on your own. Yet you still reach for my hand when we get out of the car, sit with me when we watch TV, and ask me to go with you into the dark places in the house. We trade books when we finish them and challenge each other with math problems. We share root beers, build wood projects together, tell made-up stories, and cook meals that don’t involve onions. We throw footballs in the street, play with our kittens, watch the water when we drive across the bridge every morning, and fall asleep each night knowing we can do all of those things again tomorrow. You see, being a little boy is not all that bad.

My Son, I hope you will be patient, be willing to experience this time without a concern over what you can’t yet do. These years come and go so quickly and I want you to live in each one fully content to be right where you are. Eight years old is a fantastic age, full of learning and silliness, growing pains and simple fun. Stay there as long as you can. If you could see the joy, the carefree smiles you bring to each of our days together you’d know what I mean.

Today we celebrate you, my sweet and handsome son. You are the boy who brings love and comfort, humor and pride into my life. Every day with you is the best day.

Happy Birthday to you, my Little Monkey Man, my Duncan Philip.

wethair

November 21, 2019 at 11:00 am Leave a comment

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