The other day, a middle school teacher friend of mine announced that 7th grade is the low point of adolescence, combining a kid who's come to believe that his parents are the very height of stupidity with the angst and roller coaster emotions of puberty in full display.
As the mother of a 6th grader, I was not delighted by this announcement. Inexorably, JT is moving into the world of teenage status. There are moments of glory in which I catch a glimpse of the man he will become and I rejoice in his sense of humor, his kind heart, and his strength. But there are also moments of darkness, when his surly, dismissive tone frustrates and annoys me nearly as much as I have clearly annoyed him.
And then there are the days when the world of 12 collides with the past and the future all at once. I experienced that on Tuesday, when we stopped at Michael's to get supplies for a school project (he's constructing a medieval village that he intends to populate with his Playmobil soldiers), hit Old Navy to get some shorts for school (the shorts season opens on May 1st and nothing in a kid's size fits the boy anymore). Errands complete, we came home and with nary a mama's nag, he sat right down to complete some studying for a test later this week. Work done, he went outside to play in the yard. Thirty minutes later, with $2 gripped in his hand, he shot through the house and off the front porch to catch the ice cream truck as it meandered through town.
He scored a Choco-Taco and came back inside with his bounty. He had a mile-wide grin, one featuring the chubby cheeks of his past, the braces of his present, and the brown-eyed glint of his future. In that moment, he was my baby; my boy; and my young man.