One minute he’s clinging to my legs as if a tornado may come and snatch him up at a moments notice and the next minute he’s averting eye contact and telling me to go away.
OK, maybe it wasn’t a minute but sometimes it sure feels like it. I signed Liam up for the same sports camp last year. Four days long. A different sport each day. And if memory serves me correctly it was only thirty minutes each day. Soccer, basketball, t-ball, and gymnastics. A perfect taste of different activities.
The first class last year was soccer. I went into it thinking, “He’s got this. He can kick and run. How hard is this possibly going to be?” The first thing he needed to do was to sit in a circle with the rest of the children. This was only accomplished by him pulling on my leg and me reluctantly sitting down while he proceeded to try to climb all over me like a baby monkey. There was no way he was getting any closer to me yet he continued to climb. And when it came to his turn to say his name. Yeah right. He averted all eye contact with anyone who looked his way and attempted to climb even closer onto me – which could only have been accomplished by climbing inside me! And when it came to the actual class? He let go of me enough for me to be his kicking partner.
Now, I make it sound like he was the only clingy boy in a class full of macho four foot tall boys. I was not alone. There were other children doing the same thing. And I had to remind myself that he was a two year old in a class of two and three year olds. He’d be the ‘big kid’ soon enough. But that didn’t keep me from thinking “I have the child that will never do anything without his momma. He’ll never play on a sports team. He’ll never listen to a teacher without sitting in my lap. He’ll never….”
And then… Nine “short” months later, this same boy walked straight to the circle and sat down. When it came time to say his name I thought, “Just skip over him. He won’t say it.” And then, from over ten feet away (or 30 or 5…I’m not good at estimating), I hear “Liam”. Loud and proud. I practically fainted. Did someone else know my child’s name and say it for him? Nope. He was looking directly at the coach. PROUD MOMMA! So out came the camera. I might as well take some pictures of this big boy before he decides he needs me again. He couldn’t possibly last an hour! Thirty minutes later, Big Boy was still being an ideal student (in three year old terms that is) so I thought I’d just see if he wanted my help. After all, most of the other parents were out there helping their child. Without even looking back at me he says, “Leave me alone” I was so taken aback and didn’t even correct him with a “It’s PLEASE leave me alone.”
And with that, I realized that my boy is growing up. Yes, he still needs me, he still “gives me love”, he still needs to be tucked in like a taco and read exactly two stories at night. And I know there will be hundreds of other times when I will feel like this. But, it was just so shockingly evident at this soccer class. He is growing up.