Being 10 is tough, isn't it? Maybe it isn't for everyone, but it sure has been tough for both of us.
You vacillate between still being a little boy and almost being big. I think they call this being a "tween," although that term seems more appropriate for Justin Beiber crazy girls, wearing sparkly shoes and pink lip gloss than it does for my Greek mythology crazy boy, wearing hoodies and unkempt hair.
I know that there are a lot of changes going on right now, and I think that may have a lot to do with this being a difficult age.
There are things that I think you will never forgive me for.
Like making you take orchestra this year.
You played the violin last year, and seems to really enjoy it. You practiced over the summer without a single complaint. When band instrument sign ups came around at the beginning of the school year, you told me that you would just rather continue to play the violin. And then things went down hill. You never gave the me the orchestra registration paperwork. You didn't let me know that lessons had already started. When I finally noticed other children at school with their instrument cases, you came unglued. You said you didn't want to play anymore. You said you were too busy with school. You said that you weren't interested. We had long talks about how important it was learning an instrument, about developing other talents, about being involved in something other than just school work.
Finally, after many tears and frustrated conversations, we came to an agreement - you would continue to play, but would not be required to perform in any concerts.
We've also had run-ins over chores, being kind to your little brother, and how you talk to your parents.
I often worry that you'll spend the rest of your life mad at me.
So it was wonderful to take some time to spend, just to the two of us, on a date night.
We went to your favorite restaurant, a cozy little crepe cafe downtown. We watched them make crepes behind the counter, and you made the cook smile by asking for spinach on your bacon and cheese crepe. We shared the pesto that came with my veggie crepe.
I told you stories from when I was little and when you were little, and we both had some great laughs. We watched the flood of college students pass by the restaurant window.
After dinner, we enjoyed some locally made ice cream. You prefer your ice cream in a bowl and not in a cone.
boy with the tiger.
We needed this evening out, just to be Bug and Mom again. To focus on how, despite all the difficulties, despite all the little tempests, that we still have this amazing connection, of mother and first born. You needed the time to just be you, not to be the one setting the example, not to be the helping hand, not to be the big brother, but just be you. I needed this time with just you, to recognize how much I ask of you and how much you already do, to realize that we still have an amazing bond.
Thank you for the evening out, Bug. Thank you for reminding me of how this whole parenting thing began. With you and with me.