Do you remember being seven years old? I do.
Now that my oldest Monkey is seven, I find myself looking at it from the other side.
Monster-Monkey is not your ordinary seven year old. He has his mothers quite advanced vocabulary and his fathers strapping athleticism. He enjoys a good fart joke but can also appreciate the nuance of sarcasm a la Jon Stewart. At times he thinks like a 30-something academic but also views the world through the eyes of a child, revelling in the wonder of all that this life has to offer.
As I walked up the drive yesterday I came upon the Monster drawing a picture with chalk on the macadam.
"How was your appointment?" I asked, referring to the orthodontist who he had seen earlier that day.
"It was awesome! I get to wear this head gear thing that looks like a face mask! The doctor said I only have to wear it at home but I'm gonna wear it all the time. And when I'm done, I get BRACES!!!"
I smiled curiously and looked at the Monkey-Maker for confirmation. He nodded and shook his head, indeed the Monster was looking forward to the orthodontia.
Such is the sweetness of seven.
If only we could bottle that enthusiasm. That energy. Because it is so short lived.
It is only a matter of time until someone, probably some "big kid," tells him that his headgear is stupid. Or calls him "brace face." Or worse.
And such is the bitterness of seven.
As much as I desire to keep him sheltered in the innocence of his youth I know that the time is coming when he will be told in a nasty way that "only losers like to eat lunch with the Principal" and that Santa and the Tooth Fairy...well, you know.
Monster Monkey is, among other things a wrestling dynamo, truly talented. As a result he will have to learn at a young age to deal with ugly issues like jealousy and resentment.
Because that is the other thing I remember about being seven years old.
It was the year that I realized that kids can be really shitty.
Over the course of the 25 years that have followed since I was seven, I have had to learn and re-learn this lesson again and again. But these latest lessons will come at the expense of my own seven year old and that really pisses me off.
So I am going to fight to keep my Monkey in the sweet innocence of seven for a little while longer. I am going to encourage him to think that the "walking program" at the school is "really cool." And I am going to be okay with it if he wants to spend every, single, solitary moment with his dad. And I am going to let him snuggle in my bed when there is a thunderstorm, even though "he's not scared."
Because these moments are fleeting. No matter how I try to grab them, hold them, keep them, they just fly away...and all I'm left with are words in a blog.