Preserving Boyhood

A few weeks ago, we visited the Mini-Me factory where Jackson had the opportunity to memorialize himself as a 3d printed character.  After some careful consideration, he chose to dress up like Miles Morales / Spiderman from Into the Spider-Verse.  We were excited about this decision because we wanted to make a 3d rendition of him for two reasons.   First, making a personalized action figure during Camp Toying Around is seriously one of the coolest things ever.  Second,  these days, we are looking for any way we can to preserve something that is slowly slipping away… Jackson’s boyhood.  

If you have a son, you understand that certain idiosyncrasies come with parenting a boy. From the restlessness of his spirit that never allows him to sit still to the sweetness of his love felt most when you cuddle him close, raising a boy has a uniquely sweet dichotomy that you can’t help but love.

You cringe as you watch him climb up something too high then, jump off it.  Only to hold your breath as he does it again and again.  He is always dirty. His excitement is organic…never having to be turned on.  Just always there, impressed with the simple things… firetrucks, a dinosaur, his favorite costumes.    

And if yours is anything like ours, your playroom is filled with every costume imaginable.  Ones that will transform him from pirate to superhero or from robot to wizard.   These transformations come with loud reenactments of movies scenes or action-packed impromptu adventures.  And when he is little, you watch him in admiration as his cape trails behind him wondering when, if ever, it will all end.    

For us, that time has come.  Our Jackson is ten and the writing is on the walls.    We know because we have already donated tons of toys that he used to fill his afternoons with.  Because our snuggle time has become less and his screen time with friends has become more.  But mostly because it’s been over a year, since we’ve witnessed the ends of a cape go flying around a corner.    

Jackson starts middle school this August.  And as parents who have been through this with our oldest son, we know that in a very short time, his little boy wonderment will come to a slow but certain halt.   We are beginning to smell the aromas of attitude and well.. body odor that come with this transition. And our hearts are already beginning to miss boyhood.     For us, not only does Jackson growing up mark the end of his boyhood but it marks the end of us bringing up little boys altogether.  Between our two sons, we have been in the thralls of parenting little boys for the better part of the last 17 years.  Jackson growing up marks the end of an era, for us.  

While we realize that the young man he is becoming will be equally as awesome as the little boy he is leaving behind, we are permitting ourselves to take in the gravity of this moment.  We are making purposeful memories, being truly present and mindful of all that is happening.  And while there is nothing we can do to truly capture the essence of boyhood, we are doing all we can to preserve its precious memories.