I wrote a paean to Older Son when he turned ten, so it’s only fair that I do one for Younger. So far, you’ll be happy to know, we’re all hanging in there just fine with hitting this milestone.
It astounds me how different my boys are turning out to be. Younger is quietly determined, soft-spoken and kind, but with an iron will. It might take him a while but he will get what he wants. He is responsible and organized. He folds the towel before he hangs it on the rack. (That’s even better than me.)
He is a boy who was less excited about his new baseball glove and video game than the donation that was made in his name to the World Wildlife Fund. But still young enough to be disappointed that he can’t actually go and snuggle the lemur he adopted.
He is a deep thinker and likes to hear everyone’s opinion. He actually wants my advice and asks for it, and if I forget to offer it he reminds me, “Mommy, you’re not saying anything to make me feel better.” This is because he is so mature and independent that sometimes I forget he still needs me.
He is a fierce but fair competitor and an asset to every team he plays on. He’s so clever that he can deliver a joke or sass completely straight-faced, to the point where I don’t even know he’s kidding. He loves to stump me and to make me laugh.
He is truly saddened, pained even, by injustice, poverty, and strife. He wants to change the world for the better and I believe that someday he will.
How do I feel having no more single-digit aged children? Wonderful. That’s certainly not what I expected. I thought I’d break down, shed tears, be curled on the basement floor next to the storage box in a pile of baby clothes. I remember when almost-three-year-old Younger was still not talking very much, and I told my friend Pam I didn’t mind, because I liked keeping him young. She said, “But Amy, don’t you want to hear what he has to tell you?”
I didn’t think I could ever let go of my babies. I didn’t want his blonde curls to lengthen and his hair to thicken, or his chubby, edible baby feet to become big and smelly. I think I feared that I could never love them as passionately as I did at that moment, or that that kind of emotion was unsustainable. Or that they would grow up and be embarrassed by me and we would fight over homework and messes and privileges and chores.
What I have learned is that all those things will happen. And every fight will bring a deeper understanding. A stronger bond. Every challenge faced together makes us closer. As they grow older and understand adult things like sitting still in a restaurant, appreciating a good story, and getting the point of really bad jokes, our experience of the life around us deepens. I am sharing my life with two amazingly spectacular, fully-formed humans, and I feel blessed every day.
I truly don’t mourn their babyhood anymore, and it’s such a relief. I am so fulfilled and happy watching them grow into the young men they’re going to be. I’m proud of who they are, the choices they make, and how they carry themselves in the world. My greatest success is hearing someone tell me that I have great kids.
When my friend Rosie’s son turned fourteen I whined at the thought of my babies being that old. She took me by the shoulders and said, “Amy, it just keeps getting better.” I knew her words were heartfelt but still I doubted I’d be as convinced as she was.
And here I am, with two boys who’ve made it through their first decade on earth. It gets better every day. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.