Wasn’t it only yesterday that I posted about Soccer Boy’s ninth birthday? And now, he’s had enough nerve to turn ten, officially leaving the single digits just as he’s seemingly insistent on leaving elementary school at the end of the year. Where have all my babies gone?
And, in so many ways, my baby really is gone. Last year, I worried about his self-confidence. But , over the course of this year, he’s made such strides, coming into his own in both school and athletics. While the love of history that thrills his mother continues to grow, Soccer Boy also demonstrated much more independence in his school work this year (okay, so that’s pretty thrilling too!). He overcame challenges with an overzealous coach during basketball season, and proved his mettle in goal during soccer season.
This season, Soccer Boy’s team is playing up–going against boys who are in 5th or 6th grade. The stark physical differences out there on the field drive home the fact that we’re on the brink of so many changes. The huge appetite and recent growth spurt make that hard to miss as well. But it’s the other parts of his increasing maturity that I’m enjoying most. He’s honing his comedic timing and not only getting our sarcasm–I have no defense; it’s a skill we’re good at around here–but dishing it out on his own as well.
I love watching him storm the neighborhood with his friends, launching epic battles with complex plots. I love that he wants to explore the nearby woods and build forts with his friends. That is, if he’s not busy riding his bike. He rarely has time these days for just hanging around and would much rather go for a run around the block or take the dogs for a walk. He is constant motion.
And as much as I love all of that, I can’t help but feel that this birthday brings us to a bittersweet moment. The ending of something, the beginning of something else. I first typed the ending of childhood, but that’s not quite right. Childhood is seeping away, though, just like the roundness of his younger body seems to have morphed into jutting angles of cheekbones, elbows, and ribs.
Suddenly, it’s not hard to catch a glimpse of the man he’ll become in the boy he is today. But those glimpses tell me that I’m likely to love that man every bit as much as I loved the baby he was and the boy he is.
Happy Birthday, Soccer Boy. I’m so fortunate to have the opportunity to be your mother.