Tuesday, October 20, 2009

BooBoos and Big Boys

Earlier this evening we were at a neighbor's house enjoying a warm fire pit on a cool evening. It's been rainy and cold here for the last week, so the sunny, warm weather was a welcome respite. The kids were out, the adults were out...it was just a perfect, perfect afternoon.

My boys were playing there, along with two other pairs of neighbor boys. And my daughter. They were throwing the baseball and we watched and cringed as balls whizzed past kids on a way too crowded "ball field."

Sure enough, kids started getting hurt.

My oldest son, who's turning 8 in 16 days (who's counting, right?), got bopped in the cheek with a ball. He was very brave and I could tell he was trying not to cry, but I know my tough-as-nails son and if he has an inclination to cry after getting hurt, it must've REALLY hurt.

So I walked over to see if he was OK. I gave him a little hug and was hovering over him a little and...

he pushed me away.

I suddenly realized that the day I dreaded (him being too old to need his mom) was here. He was embarrassed. By me.

As a parent, you know it's coming. You understand. You realize it's time. It hits you that they're really not babies anymore.

But nothing prepares you for how it feels. Like a kick to the gut.

No, not the gut. The heart.

It's OK. I know now that he doesn't need me that way when he's hurt anymore. He's tough and the work we've put into making him feel independent has paid off. He's growing up and becoming his own person. That's it's own reward, isn't it?

Isn't it?

(Sigh) Yes.

So I'll just have to remind myself of that every time it happens.

Even as it breaks my heart.

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