Isaac turned 12 this week and there just seems to be something about 12. Maybe it's just me. It's the last birthday before he becomes an official teenager. I've seen lots of changes in the past year. His interest in more childish pursuits has waned as sports and hunting have become bigger parts of his life. This week he also passed his hunter safety course and got his hunting license. He is looking forward to having a chance to go out with Dad this fall after watching Dad and Diana go hunting without him for the past few years.
Sometimes it is hard to be the youngest in the family and watch everyone else reach milestones before you. Having a couple of older sisters with strong personalities doesn't always help either. He really savors when he finally reaches something he's been waiting for. Just because his sisters have already attained the various skills or rights doesn't make his achievement less noteworthy and I remind them to celebrate with him rather than make light of a stage they may have passed already.
This boy of mine. He makes me laugh every single day. He's had a sense of humor since he could speak. His imagination has always been very vivid, whether it has come out in drawings, stories, or spending hours in the backyard single-handedly fending off invading armies. He has a keen and inquisitive mind that leads him to investigate everything from dinosaurs, to insects, to baseball and football stats, to ancient Mayans.
He is 100% boy but he has a tender side that makes me swell with pride. When I see him being gentle with a baby cousin or spending time playing with his best friend's little sisters who absolutely adore him I can't help but imagine him as a loving daddy some day. When the two of us were in the tree house and I fell and demolished my left arm he was my hero. The little boy who used to cry at the sight of a pinprick of blood grew up suddenly. He kept his wits about him, kept me safe and got help for me. In the months after surgery he was the one who was most inclined to offer me help without me asking for it. He was the one who most wanted to make sure I was comfortable.
He's 12 now and his cheek doesn't scratch me yet but his personality can be abrasive at times like it never has been before. The happy-go-lucky kid now gets kind of growly periodically. The cuddly boy bristles at public displays of affection. I'm not particularly thrilled by that but I know it's how it is for now. I trust by the time his whiskers come in thickly he will have evened out again.
This week, I'm counting my boy. He's been a blessing.