This has been a growing year for us. And I don't just mean the extra inches that necessitated an entirely new wardrobe for you this last summer.
I have to keep telling myself that you are only 10. Only 10. Already 10.
I want to remember how you (almost) never need reminding to do your homework. The moment you walk through the door, you pull books and folders out of your backpack, sit at the kitchen table and go to work. You are excelling at school. Your teachers love you. You've become so dedicated and responsible that it actually worries me just a little. After writing a book summary, your teacher wrote, "Nice work!" on the paper. You were so delighted with this that you said you were going to work even harder on the next one. And then you could barely conceal your disappointment when there was no note from the teacher on your paper, just full marks.
I want to remember that you've really started showing pride in your accomplishments, and are finally sharing them with me. Previously, getting you to share anything was a challenge, resulting in single word answers at best. Now, you let me read your book reports, you tell me your scores on your tests. The pride you take in doing well, all on your own, without my nagging, is beautiful. And my darling, it is only setting you up for further success.
I want to remember that this has been the year of reading for you. You fly through books almost as fast as I can supply them (although you are still vetoing several books I provided - mostly because I told you I loved them when I was a kid.) I love seeing you curled up on the couch or on your top bunk with a book. I love it because I'm seeing literature come alive for you. And I love it because (I'm sure you don't want to hear this) it reminds me of myself at your age. You might get that a lot.
I want to remember your little group of friends at school that you play four square with. I've stood back against the school, before you've noticed me there to pick you up. I've watched a kid playing, a kid that I didn't know, one who is silly and outgoing and confident in front of his peers. At least during a very competitive game of four square.
I want to remember how kind you are. The number of times your little brother begs to sleep on the top bunk with you. I can see your reluctance, that you would rather just have your bed to yourself. But you still say yes. At least most of the time.
I want to remember that we still read together every night.
I want to remember that this was the year you learned to swim, caught a frog on your own, perfected rock skipping, and rode your bike without hands.
We've had our good moments and bad moments this year. Being 10 and being the oldest isn't all sunshine. But I like to think that we are ending this year on a high note.
At least, that's how I'm going to remember it.