Leave His Switch Alone

For the last ten days, as his seventh birthday is more-than-imminent, I have been joking that whatever switch had turned Oscar from a sweet, mostly cooperative little boy into a questioning and occasionally sassy bigger boy needed to be flipped.  I inquired of parents of older boys what exactly happens when boys turn seven.  I looked to magazine articles and internet resources.  And everyone came to the same conclusion: Something happens. 

Some say hormones, some say it’s the media, others concluded that it’s just part of growing up.  And they’re probably all correct.

But as much as I wanted my little boy back this week–the one that didn’t contradict nearly every statement I made, the one that wasn’t pushing the boundaries of my patience, I think I’ve changed my mind.  Because what all these resources neglected to tell me is that there is, when you clear out the muck and mire, a colossal benefit to this switch.

Last night we had dinner at my aunt’s home–a home with gardens and paths so meandering and enticing that it was all Edgar could do to have one or two bites of his dinner so he could get back to exploring and stick-collecting.  The rule at the table was, however, that Edgar needed to stay until someone was finished so that he/she could accompany him to be sure he was safe.  Oscar had finished, looked at his parents’ two nearly full plates, and said, “If you want, I can go with Edgar and keep an eye on things so you can eat.” 

And so he did–this time instead of showing off his new-found independence offering it to be helpful and kind.

And so we’re going to leave his switch alone, and I’m going to stop pining for the little boy who would at one time jump on my lap, throw his arms around my neck, and look at me as if I knew all the answers.  Those days are behind us–but today I got a glimpse of what is ahead.  And in the meantime I’m going to stay right here in the present.  Transformations are seldom smooth and often messy–but if you pay attention, you will see what waits for you on the other side.

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