Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Fast Forward In Just Seconds

Children mature by the second but our perception of that growth comes in spurts and moments. I have heard some people say that it happens without noticing but it isn't true.

Tonight I sat and listened to my 11 year old son discuss strategy, weakness, strengths and other fine points of video games with a teen member of the family. As I listened to his animated discourse and deft use of vocabulary I was hit with one of those moments. The moment when you realize your child is not as young as you thought he was and you wonder when it happened.

I experience these "fast forward" moments periodically and they always take my by surprise. The little boy who struggled to find anything to say to a teenager can suddenly chat with ease and confidence.

I guess the thing that makes these moments so jolting is that you realize something has passed and you can never go back. A part of his childhood is behind him and whatever made him who he was is past. A parent is forced to rejoice over yet another step towards independence but grieve quietly for the little boy who is gone.