We were at church for a…what?...an event, a program, a thing. Anyhow, Clay and I were to be off in one room, the kids squirreled away in another. Tre and I had a moment of confusion when we were deciding what group he should go with. The kids were divided into three ages – nursery for little ones under five, a “kids” group for those in kindergarten through grade five, and then the teens.
Now, Tre is eleven, not a teen yet, but he’s doing sixth grade at home…and to complicate things, fifth grade in the homeschool enrichment program. Grades…meh, says I. Who cares?
Anyhow, this left us in a quandary. Go with the teens? Stay with the kids? What?
In the end I told him to stay with the kids, and if he didn’t like it he could switch the next day.
Halfway through the evening a girl wandered up to me. Now, this child is nice enough…I guess…even though she has a penchant for thuglike behavior. For instance, she likes to ask where Tre is, then go stand near him and smile a lot. And have boobs. WHY her parents can’t control the child is beyond me. I have considered standing behind her and making small growl/bark noises in her ear, but I suspect people may misinterpret my meaning. Somehow.
So, this girl was in the teen group (having recently turned 13, making her far too old to be asking the whereabouts of an 11 year old, trust me I know, although I did kiss an 11 year old when I was 13. It was only because he lied to me and told me he was 13 – I’m looking at YOU, David Sainty!), and as I said, she wandered up to me.
“Well, he’s in the kids’ group tonight.”
“Oh. Could he come be in the teen group with us?”
“Sure,” I said, pretending not to grit my teeth, “go ahead and ask him. Tell him I said it was ok.”
She bopped off (threateningly), and I went on with my evening.
When the night ended, I went to gather up the boys and found them all in the kids’ room. We collected all the stuff they travel with and headed out to the van. As we walked, Tre trotted up beside me.
“I think I’ll go with the teens’ group tomorrow.”
“Yeah. It was kind of boring, a little. A little young for me.”
He loped along next to me, in silence, and I watched him. He’s like a hologram picture, shimmering back and forth between images of Tre-the-boy and Tre-the-teen. Where his hair brushes his neck it looks so soft and downy that I imagine if I buried my nose there he would still smell milky-sweet like my baby. Yet inches away, his shoulders curve out, wide and strong. Manchild.
“Why didn’t you join them tonight? Didn’t [that girl] come ask you if you wanted to?”
“Oh, yeah, but I didn’t feel like it.”
“Oh,” he looked up at me, all seriousness, “I wanted to finish what I was coloring.”
And he ran off, leaving my heart rather at ease.