Today I took Drew to the airport. He is going to see his dad who has recently moved out of state. This is not Drew’s first time flying alone but it was different in that on Southwest he does not need the same assistance that under 12 year old people need. “But he is only 12”, I say out loud because I need to remind myself of that fact, because at this moment it feels like I should say “he is already 12?”.
Twelve is an interesting age. The voice is just starting to change. Boys this age seem to be quite proud of the underarm hair that is sprouting and my boy, on occasion, gives invitations if you care to see it or better yet feel it. He still needs reminding to brush teeth, take a shower and should not leave home without a heavy dose of deodorant (a reapplication is sometimes a necessity). He still loves watching cartoons, particularly Sponge Bob and Scooby Doo. My twelve year old boy still likes to have some of his earlier toys around but if the right person should come over then that toy needs to find its way back into the vault. He likes to hear stories about when he was little, needs help packing for a trip, and he loves his mom.
On the flip side, my twelve year old boy has a cell phone and thinks he should be twittering. He likes the independence to ride his bike down to the Ace Hardware to pick up PVC pipe or duct tape or something else that is important for a latest invention. He asks for things like a soldering iron for Christmas. My twelve year old boy likes to remind me when he will be driving and to talk about what kind of car he is sure he will have. He likes to be told when his reaction or answer is very mature. He is adamant about having complete privacy when time to get ready or change clothes. When he remembers he can be the perfect gentleman and hold the door open for ladies. He carries a wallet with a picture ID card in it and whatever amount of allowance that has managed not to be spent. And my twelve year old boy doesn’t need his mom to go through the security check point with him. And so I left my twelve year old boy to find his way to his gate armed with all the instructions I could think of. Still I forgot to tell him he needed to take his wallet out of his back pocket, but there was the security officer to tell him that. But told me often today (as he does every day), that he loves me. And never tires of hearing that I love him too very very much.
Daily I see a surge of maturity in my twelve year old. Daily I see a barrage of childhood in my twelve year old. I haven’t thought about this for a while but when my children were young I would look at them and say “oh I just love age one” or “I think age two is my favorite age” or “how fun seven year olds are”. It didn’t really matter what the age was I loved it because there is always something new and different at each age. Sure I might get frustrated or hung up on this or that, but I try to remember that these children of mine will be this age for such a short time. Early I realized that once a year passed and they moved on to the next age we could never go back. And how Allison was at two or seven or twelve was totally different than how Drew was at two or seven or twelve. So where ever they were or are or will be in their progression, it is my favorite forever.