Three years ago, when he was turning seven, I wrote the following:
"Suddenly, you appear before me, this boy who can make his own lunches and get himself ready for school. You have friends and a social schedule and plans that aren't always mine. You have homework and chores and responsibilities that you take care of with some gentle reminding. You're mature, and polite, and kind. Temper tantrums have begun to give way and therefore have made time for more philosophical conversations and fun play. As if out of nowhere, you know things - smart things - that I didn't teach you. You read and learn and listen and soak in the world around you - the good, the bad, and the ugly. You worry more. You parent a lot. You fight like heck for the little person but forget to stand up for the person you should be protecting the most (you!)."
It hasn't changed at all. Nate is still my independent, mature, and responsible "old man". He follows the rules and makes sure everyone else does, too. He's helpful and kind.
He is smart and has brilliant ideas and actual opinions about important stuff. At nine he thinks more about other people and their feelings than most adults I know. He's raised money for the ASPCA, studies about World War II like it's his job, and even started a business, Inventors, Inc. He's written bylaws for his business, and has a "staff" of 14 of his classmates. He even asked his school principal if he could set up a table for his business at the PTSA's Family Fun Night next month.
Nate reads everything he can get his hands on. When I'm having a bad day or am beyond frustrated with his little brother's behavior, he is the first to offer a hug, a kiss or will make me a cup of tea just to ease the tension. His imagination is still stellar and he'll disappear into scenes in his mind. It's fascinating.
As a 4th-grader he's still singing in chorus, taken up playing the trumpet, gotten braces, and still lives and breathes fire fighting. He's gotten really good at cooking. Thanks to loving friends and family, he has a few cookbooks from which he'll pick a recipe and go to town. He's made some delicious meals and desserts!
He is definitely a one of a kind kid. I don't know how I got so lucky to be his Mom...but I cherish every moment!