My oldest son, Ben is 9, going on 14. He’s growing up really fast, too fast actually. The little things that we’ve always done are changing a bit as he grows older. Good, normal changes, but changes nonetheless.
A few weeks ago, we were walking into church together and I went to grab his hand out of habit. He politely held my hand briefly and then let go suddenly. I asked him if he was embarrassed to hold my hand and he answered with a sheepish “kind of.” I told him I understood, but inside, I knew that this was just the beginning of Ben’s different stages of independence.
For me, it’s a mixed bag of gratefulness and sadness. I’m grateful that he’s confident enough to be his own person, not needing as much comfort or affection as when he was younger. I’m sad because this is the end of a chapter. My little-big boy requires a new kind of affection…..big kid affection consisting of fist bumps and “atta boys” vs. hand holding and other lovey dovey stuff. Again, I’m glad that he’s growing up, but I was quickly reminded of how fast his childhood is flying by!
As parents, there is always the temptation to look ahead all the time, anticipating our kiddo’s future or “next steps” while losing grip of the present. We’ve all been there and while it’s normal, it can be distracting from all the good stuff going on right now. Let’s not miss the good stuff friends.
In September, Ben will be 10 years old with 2 years left of elementary school. Wow. It’s hard to stomach that reality, it really is. As a dad, the macho thing to do would be to beat my chest and say “that’s just life…only 8+ years until he’s 18 and out of the house!” That’s not me though. Instead, I find myself being sappy, sentimental and proud of the young man he’s becoming….feeling torn between wanting to freeze time and the desire to see him grow up to succeed in this world.
Being a parent hurts so good, it really does.