I know I say this every letter, but we continue to venture into uncharted territory with each passing day. As you rapidly approached adolescence, I find that so many of the skills and approaches that served me so well through your infancy and early childhood are no longer relevant, no longer helpful. You are so much more independent, so much more reserved. Tickling and cuddling and time outs are not longer applicable.
Sitting at the dinner table kitty corner from you, I often wonder where this long limbed person came from. There are glimpses of my baby there, but I'm having to look harder each day to see them.
Don't let my nostalgia for your babyhood mislead you in anyway that I'm not still wildly in love with the child you still are. You show such thoughtfulness, such dedication, such independence. I'm so proud of you.
This last year has seen a lot of changes. A year ago, you would still let me hug and kiss you at home, as long as it wasn't in front of people. Now, you shrug of my hugs. A year ago, you enjoyed sharing a room with your brother. Now, you are constantly asking when the basement will be done so you can have your own space. A year ago, we did much of your homework together. Now, you do everything on your own.
There are still many things that are the same. We still read together each night. This might be because I'm so insistent on it, but at least you are still willing to sit by me and listen to Harry Potter or Lemony Snickett. Your dad thinks it's only a matter of time before you refuse this, but I'm going to continue on with my dream that we will be reading books together until you move out. You still love to play games as a family.
You are much more observant that I give you credit for. You ask about stories on the news, you have me watch a video on child slave labor in the chocolate industry, you discussed Nelson Mandela with us at dinner. You want to join in your parents' conversations.
I'm trying very hard to treat you as the growing, maturing person you are. It's not that I want you to remain a baby, or even a small boy (well, a small part of me wants that). It's just that you're growing so very very fast. I look around for my little boy and instead there is you, past shoulder height, hair styled just so. And sometimes I'm not sure what to do.
So I'll start with the things that haven't changed. I'll just keep loving you.
I'll read to you, make you eat your vegetables and clean your room, embarrass you just enough and respect the boundaries you are setting. And every day, I'll keep telling you how proud I am to be your mother.