You're Already Older

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I just saw you yesterday. Yet today, I see a child whose face looks like it has filled out a little more. You’re a little taller, and your feet are definitely bigger.

I counted on you to stay little just a while longer until my heart could catch up after the chaos of a new school year, but you’re already older.

You weren’t scared to get on the school bus or walk into the school on the first day. It’s old hat now.

The clothes in your closet that I kept this summer, insisting they would fit for the rest of the school year, are already snug.

Your feet are way too big for the character socks you used to love wearing all the time.

I sometimes watch your face as you play video games, and I can see the slightest glimpse of what you will look like when you’re older and the foreshadowing of teen angst.

Your library books have changed. Big, bright picture pages are being replaced by chapters.

You tried pulling a fast one by telling me that kids are not allowed to read library books on the school bus, so you’ll have to bring electronics instead.

Your appetite is starting to rival that of a crazed, starving tiger in the deep, deep wild.

Super Mario has given way to Minecraft.

You know exactly how many days it is until your 8th birthday. You are already far better at math than I am.

My counter is already full of your papers from school. Only now, all of the work is completed, and we aren’t having any more meetings at school.

You are starting to get annoyed playing with your little brother. At the same time, you take great care of him.

You are repeating the things I say to you to him. Thank you for keeping me aware of what I say and scaring the living daylights out of me at the same time.

You push away from hugs a little bit sooner. You have stuff you want to do.

Though you are disappointed when it’s bedtime, you don’t fight it. No more cups of water or getting out of bed a hundred times. The little boy who used be out cold every night by 9 p.m. can now go until midnight or more (on weekends) without a single yawn.

You were once very scared and panicky at the swimming pool, and now you play with diving sticks.

You now have self-control and a reasoning mind, and you don’t need me as much anymore.

The words in your vocabulary are a lot bigger and so are your thoughts. You are able to plead some pretty strong cases.

The Tooth Fairy isn’t much of a big deal anymore.

You raised your eyebrows at me once when we talked about video game characters, and I got my first, “Everybody knows that, Mom.”

I still try to help you do certain things, but you insist on doing them yourself. And you are right to do so.

But you came down the hall in your bear pajamas the other night, and I smiled. I know you’re still in there, my sweet, innocent little guy who tried to con his mom into buying electronics for the school bus.

The house is still covered in your art projects. The cardboard-boxes-turned-castles and homemade-bouncy-ball obstacle courses don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.

For now, I’m still “Mommy,” and Dad is still “Daddy,” and you still get excited to tell us things. And one night after brushing your teeth, you came and got us so we wouldn’t forget to tuck you in.

I am very proud of who you are and who you’re growing up to be. I want you to grow up, but it is bittersweet.

I know that your need of me will change as we go on. You are inching farther and farther away from me, and sometimes I wish you needed me a little bit more. But you don’t. You’re already older.

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