So, Thatcher turned 8 yesterday. And, lucky you, since I haven’t done one of those l.o.n.g parenting-is-crazy type blog posts for a while…I’m due.
This birthday has hit me. I’m not sure why. It isn’t a biggie as far as birthdays go. It isn’t an “oh my goodness, my baby is already old enough for Kindergarten!”, or an “I can’t believe my baby is now double digits!”, or a “how is it possible that my baby is officially an adult!”. It is none of those. It is just 8. But, as with much of parenting, I was blindsided. I was completely surprised at how sad…well, not really sad….maybe nostalgic….I was.
I should say, for the record, that I’m totally ok with my boys growing up and I’m kind of loving this age. All the more reason that I was surprised by being upset. I loved the baby stage and thought my boys were tremendously excellent during the toddler and preschool ages, but I have to admit that I have enjoyed watching them grow into full-fledged boys now that they’re both elementary school age even more. I was incredibly happy that I honestly felt “done” (not in a holy crap, shoot me, I’m done kind of way, for the record….but a two kids works for me, I don’t have the slightest itch for a third kind of way). I did a victory dance and end zone celebration when they got out of diapers (both right at 2 1/2 thank goodness), when they were finally able to buckle and unbuckle their own car seats (AMEN), and when they switched from tubbies to showers. I have also been absolutely smitten by the fact that I can travel light. By “travel” I’m not speaking about actual vacations…..just your everyday trip the store, beach, or even restaurants! No more packing 800 snacks and 1,000 activities to keep the boys quiet and well behaved. It is now seriously as easy as “Brush your teeth and get in the car.” AND…as if that isn’t cool enough…they’re even helpful sometimes. Mind blown. They now unpack their lunch boxes and backpacks after school, fill their own water bottles EVERY time before leaving the house, feed the dog, take care of the rabbit, fill the bird feeders (kind of), and water the plants. Shot, score! I am also totally enjoying the fact that we enjoy the same music (for the most part), like some of the same shows (watching The Voice and Amazing Race together has been pretty cool), and the same sports. While the Bruins have held their interest for years already, this is the first year that they’ve really enjoyed watching the Red Sox on TV. Thatcher can tell you the starting line-up, the pitching rotation, and some of the more interesting stats. Yeah, me!!
So, it has been good. It has been easy. It has been fun. We’re in a pretty awesome place. We’ve started to enjoy each other on a slightly different level. I’m not explaining it well…but, it is no longer us entertaining them…it is us experiencing things together….and with A LOT of great conversations. They’ve developed senses of humor that aren’t just super cute like when they were little, but are actually funny….like, for real. So, why so teary? I still don’t know.
It started to hit me when I went birthday shopping. I was looking for something in the sporting goods section of a large toy store. As I walked from the front left corner of the store to the back right corner of the store, it occurred to me that Thatcher had outgrown every single isle in the entire store other than the sporting goods. I thought that simple fact would be cause for a happy dance, but instead I felt a tiny pang….a little bit of a loss. Oddly enough, I don’t even like shopping in those large toy stores anyway….so why care that he’d outgrown it? And then, all day yesterday, as if aware that he was suddenly older on a different level….Thatcher acted like he was 15 all day long. We were kind of riding the fence between little kid and bigger kid for the last year or so and I feel like, all of a sudden, he not only hurdled the fence, but then ran so far away from it that I can’t even see the darn fence in his wake. Like, when (although not my proudest moment) he asked if we had arranged for the Patriot cheerleaders to bring out his birthday cake at dinner. What?
So, my first little guy is now a big guy. He had his choice of how to spend his day yesterday and, in typical Thatcher fashion, his choices summed up his love of life as he knows it. He knew right away….with zero hesitation…that he wanted to catch minnows, go to the beach, definitely NOT skip hockey, eat some sushi, and maybe grab an ice cream on the way home. Who could say “no” to that? So, he opened his presents (over a plate of fried dough and bacon), we packed for the beach, he caught hundreds of minnows with Finn and a couple of his best buds, raced home for quick showers, played 90 minutes of hockey, hit the Studio for some sushi and a Chocolate Torte with fresh Raspberry Coulis…and a candle, and then headed home for bed. The only thing we didn’t fit in was the ice cream on the way home. No room in the birthday boy’s belly. Maybe tomorrow.
After we said our last “Happy Birthdays” and “Goodnights” I heard him rustling around in his bed. When I asked what he was doing he said, “I can’t find Hospital Bear.” Hospital Bear is a little stuffed animal that we put next to Thatcher as soon as he was born….and whom he has slept with every night since. We found the little guy under the blankets and as I walked out of the room I heard him say, “Happy Birthday, Hospital Bear.” Maybe he isn’t all grown-up after all. Maybe that fence is just a little bit back in sight.
Thatcher and “Hospital Bear”
Who’s 8? This Guy!