"The little boy started to fade, just like we left him in the sun too long. … He had been a ragamuffin, hurled into space by the seat of his pants. Suddenly, he shopped for shirts, and worried about his hair. He got too heavy to throw. ... He turned twelve, then thirteen, and then the little boy just disappeared.
Just when you start to get used to it, to not minding it so much, it all vanishes, and the little boy you launched in the air stands at your shoulders like a man, and when you turn to say something you find yourself looking right into his eyes.
He is not helpless, not needy.
He is everything I rushed him to be."
Does that make your heart hurt or what? Yeesh!
The Prince of Frogtown is a memoir inspired by Rick Bragg’s relationship with his ten-year-old stepson as well as of his father (who left the family when Rick was still very young.)
My firstborn has started seventh grade. He has less than one more year before we begin to call him a teen. Right now he's still a young boy. He's still innocent and naive and I like it that way. I think the decision to start him in kindergarten as a "young five" is showing now. Academically he's always been where he belongs. Socially and emotionally I see the differences between him and his peers more now than ever. But I see them in a way that makes me grateful, not sorry we sent him on.
I was sorting photos on Picassa, which tries to label people. I got distracted by the hundreds of pictures of the boys and browsed through them, pulling out pictures labeled as them which were not them. As I looked through the pictures of Bug I saw how his face has changed over the years. Nevertheless, they all look just like him. Pook, not so much. None of the older pictures looked like him. Instead, they all looked like little kids. I realized that I can't remember Pook ever being a little kid. He is so grown up. He has always been so grown up.
He does things no child of mine has ever done.
"He is everything I rushed him to be." I need to slow things down. I want to appreciate him now as the young boy he is. I want to enjoy his silliness as much as I'm awed by his insights. I want to notice that he is little. He will always break new ground around here, but I need to hang on to his childhood before it slips away.