This morning, my son Peter ran into my room, very excited to show me the telescope and binoculars he had made from paper, tape, and staples.
“Can I bring them with me when Tom and I visit Grandpa today? I want to show them to him.”
“Of course. I think he will love to see them.”
“Mom, they aren’t real, you know.” He smiled broadly and started to laugh.
“I know.” Now we were both laughing.
“Mom, can I get a big hug?”
He jumped in my arms and threw his skinny limbs around my neck. He kisses me on my cheek, and I kissed him right back. His skin is still so soft.
What a contrast from his 17-year-old brother, whose face now sports a shaggy beard. Tom rarely kisses me on my cheek anymore — he favors the top of my head. It’s the easiest spot for him to get to, as he is at least 5 inches taller than I.
Peter is the only member of my family who is still shorter than me, and I love it. I love 10 years old. I’m doing my best to savor every bit of this age before we move on to 11, which will bring with it middle school, a few pimples, and probably braces.
I only have a few more weeks left in the land of 10. And because Peter is my youngest, it will be my very last visit. He is changing, almost by the hour. I can see glimpses of what’s to come. One minute he is hugging me and asking me questions about what he was like as a baby, and the next he is complaining that he is not old enough to drive or shave.
I love 10 because, although he can do so much for himself, he is still a child. He now only needs to be reminded (usually a million times) to brush his teeth and take a shower. I no longer have to stand watch over him or wait near the bathroom just in case he gets into trouble with the shampoo.
Peter still thinks I’m cool and smart. He comes to me with questions and problems, fully confident in my ability to help him. When we go to the library or out for a slice of pizza, he will even occasionally let me take his hand.
He no longer needs me to wait with him at the bus stop each day, but he is always glad to see me when I do. Since I have two teenagers, this is really good for my ego. He hasn’t given me the eyeroll yet that the older two have mastered.
But it’s coming. I know it is.
It’s such a cliche to say it all goes by so fast, but boy, does it all go by so fast.
The other night at dinner, the kids and I were eating and talking about the latest movies we wanted to see and the day’s events. They all seemed so grown-up. Too grown-up. I couldn’t take it a minute longer. If I couldn’t stop them from getting older, at least I could act younger.
I threw a spitball at Tom, who laughed at me and threw it back. Peter looked up and said, “Mom, this is not the way we behave at the table. How many times do we have to talk about this?” then took a sip of iced tea and gargled it, making us all crack up. Afterward, as we cleared the table, those long, skinny arms wrapped around me again, a surprise. “I love you, Mom.”
Yep. I’m going to miss 10.