The Boy

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He is puffed up with pride, his lip stuck out in concentration.  He has gotten himself dressed in a matching outfit, and put his dirty clothes in the hamper.  He has painstakingly folded his blankets and placed them on top of his pillow.  The little boy standing in front of me is suddenly so grown up he is almost unrecognizable, and though my heart swells with pride, a tiny part of my soul is screaming out for him to Stop!  Stop growing up and be my baby forever!

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He whispers to his father in the car, “Tell Mommy” and my husband passes on the information that he was really, really good today for his grandmother, who watches him during the day.  He was a good helper, picked up his toys, showed a younger cousin how to eat at the table and use utensils, ate his whole lunch.  He is proud of himself, yet a little shy about bragging.  Brag away, baby, brag away, for these small accomplishments are awesome.

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He is obsessed with Minecraft and will play for hours if we let him.  He tells me all about it, words tumbling out of his mouth.  There are creepers, zombies, spiders, pigs and cows.  He can build his own house in his own world, and his friend Emma plays with him there.  He places signs in his worlds, signs that say “Cole’s World” and “Welcome.”  Even in Minecraft he is polite.  He delights in the sounds the game makes, and when we take a walk we both have to be zombies, walking with our hands outstretched, “dying” and then coming back to life with a jump in the air.  He asks, “Can I tell you about Survival?  Can I tell you about Creative?” 

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On a perfect fall day he helps us rake the leaves.  He is a great helper, using a rake to push the leaves into a pile and resisting the urge to jump in them.  He stands in front of the leaf blower, shrieking with joy as the air and leaves hit him, dancing in the wind storm.  He cries when I ask him to move out of the way, but quickly recovers when I offer to let him use the blower himself.  Brow furrowed in concentration, he holds the heavy blower with both hands, carefully sweeping over the yard.  The sun catches in his hair and he almost glows.

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