The Bittersweetness of 8

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My oldest child, my only son, just recently turned 8. I know we say it and think it frequently, “they grow so fast” and yes they do; each year passing us by is a reminder of the limited time we have to mold them. But 8, it’s different. Something aches a little bit more than it has in the past. 8 gives me bitter reminders that he’s inching away from my grasp, but 8 also sweetly reminds me that he’s still my baby and that he’s still under my influence…for now.

8 gets himself dressed, but 8 still asks me to lay out his clothes the night before

8 brushes his own teeth, but 8 still has me “check the backs”

8 occasionally watches movies that have language and violence (previewed by me of course), but 8 still watches Disney Jr. with his sisters

8 gets up on his own and gets his breakfast, but 8 still comes to snuggle in the morning when he’s feeling particularly needy

8 wants his privacy in the shower, but 8 still has me check his hair for “suds” before getting out

8 doesn’t ask to play with his friends (he’s “hanging out” now), but 8 still comes up with silly games to play with his younger siblings

8 has started to blush at the mention of a few special girls, but 8 still only has eyes for one woman (it’s me don’t you forget it)

8 is able to figure almost anything out on the iPad, but 8 still needs reminders on how to hold his utensils

8 can read chapter books, but 8 still loves to listen in when I read to his sisters

8 thinks he knows everything, but 8 still asks me deep questions about life and keeps me on my toes

8 has begun to give me some tude, and even a few slammed doors, but 8 still tells me I’m pretty and the best mommy “he’s ever had”

8 shows me all the ways he’s finding his own way in the world, but for 8 I’m still his home base.

Oh 8, I’m not going to lie, you pain me a little. But I also thank you for softening that pain. For softening the transition to even more independence and distance. 8 is growing into a young man, but 8 is still my sweet little boy for just a while longer.

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