My oldest child is now nine years old. On this day that many years ago my life changed in so many ways. Today we celebrated with a small ceremony at home, a new video game, and a special hug when no one was looking. His best friend is spending the night; they plan to sleep in the tent but it's been raining so we'll see.
Parenting, the act of discerning when the time is to let a child test his/her wings, is naturally fraught with anxiety. Lately I've been simultaneously trying to let my children know that I trust them to be responsible for more things, and then feeling concern for every fledgling bird around here. There is a family of young ravens nearby, and sometimes I can't discern their raucous calls from human cries of "Mom! Hey Mom!" Which I hear often enough.
Then there are the moments such as this morning, when I awoke briefly, stretched, and my youngest son, feeling my movement in his sleep next to me, rolled over to put his arms around me. I stayed in that position, that innocent embrace, as long as I could (well, until my cat started intervening...)
Sometimes they can't mature fast enough, but most of the time you just want to hold them a little longer.