For a ten-year-old, Hooman sure has the swagger of a twelve-year-old. And, in kids years, that can only be described as "epic".
I swear, if one more girl tells him he is cute and looks like Justin Bieber, I'm going to collectively slap the entire population of female tweens. Girls? He needs that like he needs a bowl of sugar for breakfast.
But, for all that puffed-up swagger, he's still a sentimental Momma's boy.
That was the sound of my heart breaking as I wrote that sentence. Because my sweet boy gets on a bus in two minutes and is heading out for his fourth-grade trip to Sea World today. And, I'm not sure who is going to miss the other more.
I think both of us worked hard to hold back tears and replace them with smiles as we hugged and kissed and said our goodbyes on three separate occasions this morning.
The last goodbye was the one I'll always remember, though. It was all toothy grin and smiles and looking up at me, from his position just under my armpit. He's still that size, tucked under his Momma's wing, safe for the moment that he is there.
But I know, in the next few months, my armpit will no longer hover over his shoulders as he starts that forward march to puberty, growth spurts and feeding frenzies, and arrives at a place where his stinky smells will be described as "Good golly! What is THAT?"
And, when he said "I'll miss you", I knew. Deep down to the core of me, I knew that he wasn't saying that just to stroke my ego or make me feel good or because it is what you say when you are leaving. He meant it. And, when I responded in kind, I meant it, too.
I guess I'm waxing eloquent on what it is going to be like when the boys move on to bigger things, like college or the first day on their first job or their honeymoon. After all, this week we attended a meeting for parents of incoming seventh graders. I wanted to stand up and scream "I'm sorry. Who sped up time? My oldest is supposed to be about six right now! Which one of you thinks he is old enough for Junior High?"
I'm grateful that the next couple of days and this weekend are ripe with activity for me. Nickels, The Babe and I will board a plane tomorrow morning, bound for Michigan, to spend time with Mom's side of the family and attend my Goddaughter's baptism and one-year birthday party. The flurry of activity leading up to us boarding that 6:15am flight is going to be a huge distraction all day.
But, I think in the end, distractions withstanding, I am still standing on the edge of the cusp of change. My heart feels it. Even though I know it is my chosen job to work myself out of a job as my boys grow and mature, it is still hard. For every "Hurrah! The boy can buckle his own seat belt now!" there is a "Why was I the last to know?"
This is the process. Working yourself to the bone and hoping you do a good enough job that your kids want to hang out with you when they are older and there are much better, entertaining, exciting things in the world to occupy their time. But, instead, they'd rather hang with good old Mom and Dad.
Here's to the future. To change. To growth. To opportunity.
And to not missing a single goodbye in the process.