Little Guy needed some out-of-the-house time this afternoon, and since I was slated to be shift manager at our CSA I invited him to come along. He enjoys checking people in, breaking down boxes, and helping to keep the boxes of produce looking good.
On the way out of our building Little Guy noticed a mom with a baby heading toward the building, so he stopped to hold the door for her. My heart smiled. As we walked up the street together I commented, "I noticed you thought ahead to that woman's needs. It makes a mama glad to have a thoughtful son." And he smiled, and I smiled. He's growing up.
After an hour of working at the CSA Little Guy said he was bored. I told him there was some chalk in the storage box. Next thing I knew he'd written his name in Greek letters on the pavement. Oh. Okay. Yes, I did know he could do that. But it somehow wasn't what I was expecting.
Then he began writing:
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
Oh. Okay. Yes, I knew he knew that, too (though I was surprised he could spell it all correctly). Andrew is reading him Lord of the Rings as a bedtime story, for the second time. But again, it wasn't what I expected my 8-year old to scrawl on the pavement. I didn't know that this was foremost on his mind on a Tuesday evening. I wouldn't have guessed.
There's something that happens around age seven or eight; stuff starts coming out of kids that you didn't realize got processed, or didn't know was even in there, and you realize with a start that your children are growing into being themselves. They have their own interests, their own internal life. They still need you and love you, but are separate human beings who, in some sense, you don't yet know.
I find that fascinating, and delightful.