He’s 12.

by Ilinap on June 22, 2017

If he had a theme song, it would be You Are the Sunshine of My Life. He was born sunnyside up, after all. This sweet child of mine is tender hearted and funny. He’s also pensive and thoughtful; I can almost see gears clicking in his head as he unravels how things work. His Chiclet toothed grin lights up a room as if he’s battery operated. My baby boy is 12 today. Baby no more. He’s taller than I am. Regardless how low that bar was to surpass, it’s a mother’s milestone nonetheless.

My Deal is a special kid. Most everyone who meets him says so. I realize I’m completely biased here, but trust me. He is kind and earnest and humble. He hurts when others hurt, and he palpably feels the joy of others. Deal is quick to pat a friend on the back and trumpet the success of others. He is clever and full of bad jokes, the kind that make you want to cringe but you can’t help but laugh.

12 means Deal needs me less. He’s latching on to new found independence and savoring the responsibility. He’s firmly planting one foot in childhood as he lies on his tummy building LEGO creations and teeters into tweendom when he texts with his friends. Deal is still like a lap dog, and so far he doesn’t cringe when I give him a squeeze, even in public. I know this will change. I’m bracing myself.

I step gently onto each milestone. Each stone is laced with the bittersweet tonic that defines parenthood. Our children move along this path with an eager pep while parents follow with a hint of both excitement and trepidation. Change is hard, and for moms in particular, it’s tough to see our babies grow into men. We celebrate their milestones and growth and swoon when they grow their wings. Yet here we are caught off guard as those wings begin to spread. I suppose it is always toughest to see your youngest take flight.

I don’t know what the statue of limitations is on losing baby weight, but I’m realizing now it’s not weight after all. My boy simply makes me swell with pride.

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