And just like that, he pedaled down the driveway and into the street, his drawstring pool bag bouncing on his back as he pumped his legs to catch up with his friend.
I tried to act cool, like it was totally fine that he didn't need me. At all. And I immediately regretted telling him that he didn't have to call me when he got to the pool. I may or may not have texted a friend just now to let me know if she was there and could see him.
Who knew it would be so big?
Already, in his first three weeks of double digits, Junius has spent a week at sleep-away camp, filled his own Spotify account with Pitbull and Bruno Mars, and started going to the neighborhood pool by himself. He makes his own breakfast and lunch almost every day. He searches the young adult shelves at the library and calls his own friends to make plans to play. He occasionally employs Axe deodorant to combat the inevitable pre-teen boy smell.
Someone please hold me.
Walking away from him at summer camp earlier this month nearly broke me. But I survived -- and, more importantly, he thrived. He made friends, ate new foods, learned to sail, spent the night on the dock, earned a new nickname, did the whip/nae nae (how is that even a thing?). He claims to have mailed me the self-addressed, pre-stamped post card I put in his bag, but it never arrived. The other cards were still packed when he got home because he was too busy having fun to worry about them.
At age 10, he is already stronger and braver than I was at 27.
In spite of all his grown-up-ness, he still snuggles with me occasionally, tells me he loves me, lets me rub my hand across his fuzzy buzz cut, asks for us to read to him at bedtime. I try to remember to enjoy these moments instead of losing them in life's distractions.
A friend recently pointed out that I have eight more summers with him before he leaves for college. That statement sent my heart plummeting into my shoes and my brain scrambling to make plans for every one of those summers so he'll spend them all with me.
But then I remind myself that's what it's all about. Watching him grow and change and yes, even leave me behind -- that's why we're working so hard at this crazy parenting business. It's a gift to see him moving away from me, one bike ride and camp drop-off at a time.
While I was writing, my phone just rang. It was Junius, calling to let me know he's heading home from the pool.
He really does love me.
In case you want to join me down memory lane, here are links to past birthday posts about the boy: