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The Age of Innocence

May 27, 2013

Last night my son had three friends over to spend the night for his birthday.  Miles turns twelve(!!) in a few days and the others have already reached that milestone.  They are at that tender, goofy, transitional age when they still behave like children but are beginning to show interest in more mature pursuits.

Seeing them interact and listening to them talk made me want to freeze time and just treasure this last vestige of innocence.  They’ve discovered girls but they aren’t yet sure what to do with them.  They’ve started to exert their independence but they still want to check in with their mommies at bedtime.  They laugh outrageously at crude humor in movies and television shows but their own conversations are completely benign.

This morning when I woke them and brought them breakfast, they were all tangled in a giant mess of pillows and blankets on the floor.  They woke like sleepy puppies, still unused to their own gangly legs and arms and eager to devour the comfort food before them.  Their laughter echoed through the house as they talked over one another and shared funny anecdotes.

I wanted to soak it all up: their youth, their joy, their precarious guilelessness.  How fleeting this time is.  How quickly they will become complicated little men.

My wish is that the next year go slowly.  May that terrifying milestone hold off as long as possible.  My little boy may be the exact size I was when I graduated from high school, but he’s still my little boy.  He still wants to cuddle with me and play with my hair at bedtime.  He’s still afraid to stay home alone.  He’s not yet too cool to play balloon volleyball with his little sister for an hour while laughing hysterically.

Please let this child hang around a bit longer, before the teenager takes over.  And more importantly, let me remember that this child is still there inside the teenager, even when he thinks otherwise.  Because Miles?  I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.

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