If your eyes are sticking to the screen, it's because there is a lot of sap in this post. I've been watching lately as my boy suddenly seems to be bursting out of one stage of childhood into another, much more mature stage of childhood. I enjoy watching these moments with my kids, but they are bittersweet, are they not?
When Lukas was a baby, he hit most of his milestones early (except for walking, which he waited until he was a week shy of 14 months to attempt). This has not been the case throughout his childhood. It meant that we spent a couple years without really seeing many milestones pass by us. He began school on a schedule that many people consider to be early, though even the school districts would have allowed him to start since his birthday is three weeks before their official cut-off date. I can't tell you how many times I heard comments about starting a boy who was so young in kindergarten. He read early too, a characteristic that has not translated into a life-long love of reading thus far, but we are glad that his little mind was active and capable at such a young age. It did cause his mama-teacher troubles when it was time to find books that were challenging while keeping the interest of a 1st grader who didn't have any interest in chapter books.
In recent months, the milestones Lukas has passed have little to do with academics and motor skills. I have watched as he went off to camp without speaking on the phone to him even once for 5 days. My mama heart wanted him to succeed at doing this desperately, but, at the same time, oh how my heart broke a little when Lukas' counselor told me, "He did fine this week." Part of every mama's heart wants to be needed, and part of every mama's heart wants them to learn to do things independently as well. I am proud of him for this milestone. It is one that I wasn't sure he was ready to cross. He has had a couple of bad experiences staying away from home, but he had a blast this time and can't wait to return next summer.
Also in the past few months, I've watched his big brother skills climb to a new level. Lukas loves to teach his sister to do things. He's been teaching Ava to play piano for months now, and sometimes I can't believe what I hear coming from the piano. She's doing pretty well under his tutelage (have no fear musical friends, mama is taking over with the start of school)! Last month, when Ava was learning to ride her bike without training wheels, Lukas was with us the entire time, watching, encouraging and finally assisting by holding the bike and running alongside her. It was sweet to see him doing such a thing. It's one of those memories I can close my mind and see in those moments when the two of them are bickering non-stop (like they were a little while ago before I sent them to their rooms).
This week, Lukas mowed our lawn. We don't have a small lawn, so he did it over two days. Prior to this week, he had helped Eric mow, but the shoe was definitely on the other foot this time. Eric is facing a disc problem in his back, so he actually needed Lukas to do the job for him. Lukas did most of it, and Eric did the trim and tight spots. It looks great. We're proud of him. I can't believe he's big enough to do this job.
Tomorrow, he'll be driving, right? Sigh. That seems to be how it goes. One day they walk, the next they ride their bike, then they're mowing the lawn and driving your car to take a girl on a first date. MAKE IT STOP!
I don't want it to stop, though it is bittersweet. These milestones are what we want for our sweet cherubs. If he wasn't doing these very grown-up things, then I would be concerned. Lukas is just a few weeks shy of turning 9. Unbelievable. I'll continue to cherish these moments as he becomes the man God intends for him to be. He's going to be something pretty terrific.
I love my boy.