I was looking through old photographs of you last week. I love going through our family pictures, reliving all our little adventures, all our memories. While looking at pictures of hikes through the woods and trips to the city, I was struck by how young you looked.
Which is silly, because you are young. The funny thing, is that I don't remember you being as young as you looked in all those pictures. Thinking about it, I don't know if I remember ever thinking of you are being young.
Even now, even though you are only 10 years old, I still think of you as much older. Since you are the oldest, you've never really gotten to be the baby. Even before your brothers joined the family, we never really let you just be the baby.
The obvious repercussion of this is that I've treated you like you are much older. I realized that I've been doing this for a very long time. I've expected you to behave like someone older, to shoulder responsibility of someone older. And you've always risen to those expectations. You are always well behaved, always responsible, always the ideal child.
It's hard to admit our parenting failures. I want to think that the reason you are an amazing child is because I'm an amazing parent. But too often, I realize you are amazing all on your own, often in spite of my parenting.
I do recognize that you are growing up, flying through childhood at neck break speed. And I know that adding responsibility and expecting good behavior is important. But I also know that you not be a little boy for much longer. So I'm going to do my best to make the most of the time we have left, of the few precious years of being little there still are. I'll not worry so much about dirty shoes and chocolate covered faces. I'll spend more time reading silly books and building Legos with you.
I'm going to do my best to just let you be the boy you are, because it's already more that I could imagine.