Twelve, 12, douze, dodici....TWELVE! No matter how many times I say it, it still sounds like big kid numbers and I can’t quite believe it. I could divide it another way – 2 precious years in Canada, 5 idyllic years in Switzerland, and 5 growing-up-fast years in Australia, but I’m not sure that makes this number any easier to swallow.
Next year J will be a teenager, and he may devolve into a grunting, testosterone-fueled, hairy man-boy but for the moment, for this very last minute, and by the tips of his fingernails, he is hanging on to boy. Boy who still loves to spend most of his time with us, who loves his stuffed animals, and is sufficiently afraid of Velociraptors that two Disney “Perry the Platapus” stand guard at his bedroom door, and a stuffed police dog, my brother gave him, stands guard on his bed. This after a day alone at the skatepark and strolling to the shops with his mates…..fingernails I tell you.
|It's a "12" and an "!"- not too obvious from this angle|
No party was the rule this year, but we had a handful of his closest mates join us for a “It’s not a party”. The loose plan, though, was all “big kid”: an afternoon at the awesome Esplanade Youth Park skatepark in Fremantle with as many chips and soft drinks as they could consume from my endless supply, then home for a viewing of “Fast and Furious 6”. That few of them had seen “Fast and Furious 1 through 5” was a non-issue as each is apparently sufficiently derivative of the last. Easy on the wallet, and easy on the parental patience.
I love this kid, I don’t really expect him to turn into a grunting teenage monster. He has made a good solid group of friends, he’s performing well in school, beginning to excel in tennis, and looking forward to starting middle school with a core group of really good boys in six months. I know there are curves ahead, temptations to be weathered, and bad decisions to live with, but I’m looking forward to every jolt in the road, and reminding him how very special he is and how very much we love him, this leggy, lanky, shaggy-headed man-boy, hair and all.