ten.

The problem with reinforcing independence and self-esteem? You'll tell them the world is their oyster and they'll believe it...

The problem with reinforcing independence and self-esteem? You’ll tell them the world is their oyster and not only will they believe it, they’ll prove it to you.

Ten is the golden age, as I’m finding out. Ten is the year my darling boy – the one with the sweetest heart and the deepest sense of empathy – begins the official transition to responsible adult. For his entire life, my butterfly gazer and daydreamer wandered through life in a world unique to himself. The distracted nature of his little old soul gave my husband and me fits. “Why wouldn’t you realize…” our sentences would often start when he would fail at things like being organized, or planning or anticipating. The simple acts of picking up after oneself, or thinking ahead to work more efficiently, seemed impossible. And worse yet (or at least to us, his overcontrolling parents), he – the darling boy – didn’t seem to be too concerned about it. Or anything else, for that matter, unless it involved someone getting hurt or feeling badly. No, the darling boy, with his sweet heart and deep mind, careened through life, moment-to-moment, without concern or preparation for what awaited him.

That is, until, the golden year. I could not have predicted how much I have seen him change in a matter of months. Clothes go in the basket, not on the floor. Electronics are recharged when batteries are low. Dishes are put into the kitchen and even sometimes, even the dishwasher. And just yesterday, he actually decided to put a warm case of soda in the fridge – of his own accord. Yes, unbelievably, this darling boy is getting older, and more responsible and dependable than I would have ever thought possible.

So, imagine the irony in the tinge of sadness I feel in this development. All this time, all this annoying time, the darling boy needed us. I mean, really, really needed us. And now? Like all of the other parents of every generation have come to realize, we’re coming to the point where he needs us less, which will lead to the point where he hardly needs us at all. I love that darling boy so very much and I am so very proud and in love with the idea of him being a wonderful and reliable and kind person (much like his father), but I must admit, in the strangest possible way, I may begin to delight a bit more, when I find that stray sock outside of the basket.

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