June 8, 2010

He Grows

Evelyn's fourth birthday is Saturday so by all rights I should be freaking out that my youngest child is slipping further and further away from babyhood. But I'm not. Four is a nice, comfortable age to me. It's over the hump of potty training and baby food and not quite big enough to be a truly a big kid. When she turned three is was huge. The end of an era, no more baby. Five will kill me, the last child off to school. But four is good. I'm excited for four. Of course I'm saying this now, by the weekend I may be sobbing into my oatmeal.

But it's Briton that seems to be growing up before my eyes these days. Suddenly he is very big. Tall and broad shouldered like his daddy. And looking more and more like his daddy too. His chubby cheeks and mischievous grin are being replaced by a more chiseled chin and a smaller, softer smile. It used to be just Briton and I. All day. We were conspirators. Roaming the streets of Dublin, hanging out in parks. Eating cake for lunch because every once in a while, you should just do that. And now he is getting too big for that.

He wants a pageboy hat and a LLBean Rolling backpack because they look cool, because other kids have them. He turns away when I kiss him in public. He can walk up to his friends house by himself. He can swim almost all the way across the pool, without touching.

Today when I dropped him off at school, late because we had photos taken today in honor of Evelyn's big day, I asked if he wanted me to walk down to his class with him, pulling out the sign in book as I asked because, he always does want me to. But today he looked at me with a wry "why would I want that?" kind of look and said "No, I'm good." Then turned and headed down the hall. I smiled until he turned the corner, then almost cried. "He's growing up mom!" the school secretary said. She's probably seen it a thousand times in her role as gatekeeper to the school, but for me it's a first.

I'm proud of him, my not so little boy. He's a good kid. A great kid. He loves his sister (most of the time) and is a good friend. Of course with growing up comes the inevitable door slamming and angry voices of "you don't understand" on occasion. And I suppose there is more of that to come down the road. It's a beautiful thing, watching your child grow toward being a young man. It really is. But sometimes I miss my finky little boy. I guess that's just the way of motherhood.