the rest of the story
Answers to unspoken requests

Dear Tre,

When you wake up in the morning, you’ll be ten. Actually, not quite, since it was 7:53 in the evening when you were born, but there’s no holding you back now.

There’s no holding you back in any regard. You run down the street ahead of me when we go anywhere, not even glancing back at me when I repeat for the thousandth time,

“Tre, WAIT.” You slow down slightly, and your shoulders shrug restlessly under the weight of my demands.

What IS it with your attitude these days? Recently you came to me with some question. I don’t remember what it was, but when I answered, you looked at me for a thoughtful moment, then said slowly,

“I think I’ll look it up.”

The ability to find your own answers is an excellent skill, one I’ve encouraged, and yet a part of me whines, but…you used to think I knew everything.

It reminds me of when you turned two. Compliant child that you were, you didn’t hit those obstinate two year old behaviors until you were about two and a half. Then, when you glared at me and screamed your defiance, my heart broke. But…you’re my baby, my buddy, my boy. We’re a team. Why?

This is one of the lessons you taught me: my children are not my buddies. They will grow up. Don’t take it personally.

There is a small, selfish part of my soul though, that aches for the days when you climbed into my lap or leaned against my side, warmth relaxing into warmth.

I watched you acolyte in church today. You’re so dignified in your white robe. Then the priest solemnly placed the host in your hand at communion, and you tossed it in your mouth like a goldfish cracker at the side of the pool. I winced, and snapped at you in my head, hey, son, a little respect please. But I looked at you, across the room, and this thought came to me, he’s out of my hands.

Of course, you’re not, really. You’re still my responsibility, and I shall still strive to bring you safely to adulthood, the man you’re supposed to be. But you are literally out of my hands, shrugging impatiently out from under my touch, moving apart from me. This era doesn’t have the easy natural feel of your infancy, or the grueling joy of your toddlerhood, or the brand-new delight at seeing the world through your eyes as a preschooler and elementary student. You’re blazing your own trails now, reporting back to me when you feel like it. I stand and watch you; my hands helplessly idle at my sides. You amaze me, and I certainly wouldn’t want to muffle your growth, but yet again I’m cutting my parenting teeth on you. I’m sorry you don’t get the same mother your brothers do, one who faces your new phases with the calm confidence of someone who has been through this before.

Your uncle Josh came to visit this weekend, with his lovely girlfriend, Terri. I watched Amma reach out to touch her son with the same hunger I feel in my own fingertips. I fear that although you’ll only grow more confident and capable, this yearning to hold my baby will never subside.

But you’re not a baby, are you? You’re a great big boy, and now you are ten.

Happy birthday, Tre. I’m so proud of you. If I cry just a bit as you blow out your candles, don’t mind me. Go on, son.

Go on.



OK, now you've made me teary. I'm so glad my girls are still little!


My Munch turned ten this month as well and all of the thoughts that you put so well into words came flooding into my mind as well. This is such a hard age for them... not little kids anymore, but not quite the BIG boys either....I think that is where some of the new attitude comes from...they are stuck in limbo.....
Hugs to you Mama...our babies are growing up!


Happy Birthday to my favorite ten year old! Great post Kira. It's true, what they say, blink and they'll be grown. I used to think I wasn't blinking right, because the days were so long...but the years are so short. Love you!

Amma D

What a true perspective..."the days are so long and the years are so short." I am going to add that to my list of motto's.


Happy birthday to big boy Tre! And an extra hug for Mama, too.


Dear Tre,

Happy Birthday! I can't believe you're in the double digits already. Have a great day and an even better year.

Heather McCutcheon

Well, I'M glad that you have at least two boys older than mine so I can come to you for cyber-advice! Happy Birthday Tre!

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