He goes off to school now, and last night, as I lay awake thinking about him, I realized that he spends more of his day away from me than with me. He has a whole series of experiences every day that have nothing to do with me, experiences that I will never share, the way I shared his first years.
Case in point: He’s been a Batman boy for almost a year, after a years-long stint as Superman, and yet his kindergarten friend had only to talk for a week about Iron Man for Alex to shift loyalty completely to a superhero about whom we know very little. (Although we’re learning.)
It doesn’t make me weepy or anything…in fact, Alex is a whole other world from the little ones. All of a sudden, right before school started, he climbed another notch on the developmental ladder, coloring neatly, making recognizable drawings and recognizable Lego creations. This one, for instance, developed into a basketball player with his leg bent and resting on the ball shortly after I took the picture. Being his parent, I have the luxury (if I want to) of sitting back and just watching it all happen…a far cry from my second-born with her endless delays and my third-born, who seems unmotivated to exit babyhood. Alex goes full-speed ahead.
It’s often hard to remember, then, that he’s still a little boy, who falls apart when he gets tired, who has to wear pullups to bed, who needs to be taught how to clean his room. It must be hard to be the oldest in a family with so much babyhood hanging around.
But then I see those big eyes, glowing brown in the sun, and I turn all gooey inside, and I grab my Iron Man and pull him on my lap and tickle him and chew on his cheeks and rub noses with him, and we reset to Mommy and little boy all over again. And life is good.