Little Dude is almost 7

I could stare at my son’s profile all day. His eyelashes are long, and they sweep up, then down, as he blinks. He is sitting on my lap, teetering to one side and then another. He and his bony bottom don’t fit so well on me anymore, but he doesn’t notice this. He just balances there, birdlike – perched and attentive.

He’s going to be 7 in a couple of weeks and, for whatever reason, I have an emotional time with the odd years. These birthdays trigger emotions that the even-year birthdays don’t. Does a 7-year-old seem that much older than a 6 year-old? A 5 that much older than a 4?

I think so.

I hold on to those things he still does that are so babyish. I don’t correct him even when I know I should. He is starting to read much better as a first grader, but there are still things he gets wrong because he has only heard them said, never written. I mean, for a time, he thought we were saying “Bronco Bottom” and not “Barack Obama.” But those little details of life are starting to fill in for him. The lights are starting to come on and pretty soon, he starts to act, well, about 7.

At the end of a school day, he finds me on the schoolyard, waiting for him and for his sisters, and he starts toward me with this exaggerated run, elbows jutting out, head swinging side to side. I have to brace myself before impact so he doesn’t knock me on the asphalt. And then he leaps into my arms and squeezes me around the neck with his wiry little muscles.

He used to do this every single day. Now it’s only when he’s feeling particularly silly after a long day of first grade. I imagine, before long, he’ll stop doing it altogether.

He’s my baby after all. I do miss his baby-ness.

But happy birthday just the same, Little Dude.

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Susie Michelle Cortright is the founder of Momscape.
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