He doesn't like me to take pictures of him. Or tell stories about him. Or brag about how smart and talented he is.

Those deep brown eyes no longer stare at me out of a round face that boasts chubby cheeks and a chiclet-toothed smile. He's all angles now, legs and arms and sharp bones that allow no give when I hug him.

He's learned crucial truths about his place in this world. "I'm not going to stare at you and talk about everything you want to talk about and laugh at all your jokes and say everything you do is amazing," I said in exasperation. "You have to do those things," he replied. "You're my mom and that's what moms are for."

He wants all of my attention, and none of it. The negotiations have already begun: To stay home alone, enter stores by himself, go to the movies with his friends, hold onto his own money. Though he still holds my hand in parking lots, his hand is as large as mine and his bony fingers hold no trace of his babyhood.

He makes his own lunch, sets his own alarm, and gets himself to the bus stop on time. He reminds me when his medication is low, keeps his own grocery list, and filled out his own application for football camp. When our town was devastated by a tornado, he taught other children the best way to stuff a toiletry kit and helped deliver plates of hot food to victims.

When I look at him, I get glimpses of what he'll look like as a man. Sometimes I try to see him objectively, view him as his eventual romantic partners will. I stop seeing that he still chews with his mouth open and instead notice his easy, slow smile. The way he notices everything happening in the room. How he listens intently when you speak.

He will make someone very happy some day. He will be considerate and gentle, romantic and funny, stubborn but adaptable.

Life with him is not easy. There's the intense anxiety over losing his teeth that's kept him up three nights in a row, the body-thrashing tantrums he falls into when his wants power ahead of his abilities (or his parents' decisions), and the forgetfulness that leaves me pounding my head against the wall.

He's extremely jealous of all three of his siblings and can't be alone in a room with his sister without driving her to tears. He's gotten into the habit of biting himself and has drawn his own blood several times in the past month.

He's still a 10 year old boy with clinical distraction and lots of anxiety. And yet, he's growing. Every day he's older and slightly more mature. He wears deodorant. When he stands in front of me, I can't see over his head.

He's my first born, and will be the first to fly the nest. The time between those milestones used to seem like eons. Today they are breaths exhaled too quickly, a twilight nap, a swath of wisteria thrown over roadside bushes -- exquisite and fleeting and gone before I could figure out how to appreciate them.

He's mine, now, but I see the steady spiral that will send him away from me. He will always be the child that made me a mother, but now I see he's the child who will teach me new definitions for that term as I loosen the boundaries I've spent 10 years maintaining.

I don't know when or how it will happen, but a day will come when he'll be an adult. I'll say of him, He was such an exceptional child. And I'll mean it with my whole heart.

***This post is part of Wordfull Wednesday.***


  • Stacia

    Oh, the image of his growing-up hand in your grown-up one made my heart hurt just a little. How bittersweet and wonderful, all at the same time.

  • debi9kids

    I completely feel your words as my oldest has also had some difficult times, but I have watched him become an amazing adult (he's graduating high school next year....)
    Lovely post about your son :)

  • Christine

    Every word reminds me to embrace the changes I'm starting to see in my oldest, as he begins to step into his own personality. It's an incredible thing to watch.

    He's so luck to have you, a mom who understands and celebrates all of him.

  • Amy @ Never-True Tales

    What an amazing boy. Love the pride and honesty I can sense in your post.

  • Stacy Uncorked

    Awwwww! What a sweet post! Why oh why must they grow so fast?? :) He is an exceptional child - because mama, you done good! ;)

    WW: Curriculum Fair Fun with YoYo's

  • Bibliomama

    This is beautiful, but I'm confused by the three siblings part - you have two other kids I've missed somehow? Or are you including the chickens?

  • Katie Jones

    Whoa- Javi looks so grown in these pictures! Of course, I came to your blog via Bella, but I've loved the adventures with Javi just as much as the Bella tales. I think you're right - he'll be a wonderful adult ... because he has such a wonderful momma!

    (And dad, of course - can't forget MM.)

  • ayala

    What an amazing boy and a sweet post :)exceptional, is right!

  • Rudri

    I love how you capture different angles of him in this pics. Definitely bittersweet memories. But all filled with love.

  • Kelly Miller

    @Bibliomama - Javi has two biological half-brothers (one older, one younger) and then Bella. He sees his brothers a few times per month.

  • amber_mtmc

    Oh how I love this. So beautiful.

  • BigLittleWolf

    So poignant for us as parents when they're in that in between stage. He's growing, and learning, and part of a remarkable family.

  • Cheryl

    Such a beautiful post. You're raising an amazing boy who will undoubtedly be an amazing man one day.

  • {Stephanie}The Drama Mama

    He really is growing up. Mine too. I'd like to slow time down a little bit. I'm also calmed by the fact that he is much like Jellybean, and there is hope, A LOT of hope that they will be such great adults some day.

    For now? I'm trying to enjoy the growing between the crying.

  • C (Kid Things)

    This. This was so beautifully written. And I'm there, not quite yet, but almost. My oldest is going to be 8 this year, and he's getting so big. Sometimes too big. He's changed so much this year alone, but that little boy is still there. It just takes a bit more to get him to come out.

  • Sofia's Ideas

    This post brought a lot of emotions out of me today. Kelly, its poetry what you wrote here, beautiful & heartfelt poetry...

  • HynesMom

    This brings me to tears!

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