My nine year old has begun that bittersweet journey from little kid to (gasp!) preteen boy. It's a natural progression; another curve in the road that will eventually lead him to manhood. As a mom, my job is to help him navigate that road to adulthood. My ultimate goal is to raise a godly, compassionate young man.
It is a journey that I struggle with as I watch my baby grow and mature. It is a journey I see him struggle with as well; each day I see the inner battle between the little boy and the emerging young man. There are days he wants so much to be mature and grown up, but the little boy seems to be hanging on. Other days, all traces of the little boy vanish as he thoughtfully practices his guitar and focuses on his part of the soccer game.
It seems the young man is starting to win out. The clothes are picked out and worn "just so"--appearance is beginning to really matter. The money that used to burn a hole in his pocket is now being carefully saved for that electric guitar. The hugs that were once so freely given in public have been dwindling and saved for more private times.
God is good, though. As much as a miss my "baby", I am so overjoyed to watch the maturing process. I have a son who is becoming so thoughtful of others--including his brother more often than not. I get to watch him stand up for what he believes in; even standing up to his friends when he knows something is inappropriate. I get to pray with him every night...by his request.
And every now and then, I still get glimpses of my little boy. Just now as he was cleaning his room he had to put some of his stuffed animals in an old hamper to be set aside for a while. I watched, unnoticed, as he thoughtfully chose which ones to put up and carefully placed them in the hamper. The tiger, he told me later, was still one of his favorites but he put him in the hamper so that he could lead the others. His special animals still have a home on his bed; I'm sure I'll find them there for some time to come.
Thank you, God, for the amazing gift of being able to walk alongside my boys during their journeys. It is joyful, tearful and utterly uncomparable to anything I could have imagined.