Raphael woke up this morning all joy and swagger. Today was the second day of their Monday school, and he does love Monday school. Mom stopped by to take Tre to school, and she marveled at Raphi and all his early morning happiness. "He's just like his dad," she commented, and it's true. I think we all forget sometimes that they share no genetics, because these two are cut from the same cloth. And when the morning dawns, they leap out of bed, delighted to discover that the world is theirs for the taking.
When we got to school, Raphael trotted off to join his line, but the lines had been moved around. He came running back, panic written on every line of him, and grabbed my hand. "I can't find my LINE, they're NOT THERE," he whispered to me, and the only thing he wanted more at that moment than to find his line was not to cry. I helped him find his class and watched him run over to them, light-footed with relief.
And that is my Raphael. He is a warrior who, despite himself, is half a tender-hearted turn from still being my baby.
He's growing into his role as big brother, blossoming into patience and gentleness that is only sometimes grudging.
He is so full of ideas and enthusiasm that is hard to capture a candid picture of him that is not at least partially blurred.
This weekend he brought up a huge armload of jammies to get rid of, on the grounds that they are too small or too babyish or scratchy RIGHT HERE. Clay spotted a familiar blue shirt amongst the pile and stopped in his tracks.
"Superman? You're getting rid of SUPERMAN?" he asked, and our eyes met across another milestone.
"Superman is for BABIES," Raphael said, laughing at our dismay. "I AM growing up, you know."
And he is. It's true. He's growing up very fast and very determinedly. He is very big and very grown.
He is my baby.