Eleven feels a lot older than ten, doesn’t it? It’s basically the start of pre-teen. It comes with a certain wisdom above your younger siblings, and it’s also an eye-opening as you look beyond towards the grades above you.
Years ago, somehow, you initiated this concept called ‘s’. You wanted to tell one of us a secret in private, and we encouraged you to tell us when you wanted to do ‘s’. Now, ‘s’ has become a code word in the family – whenever one of you wants to tell us something in private, we either drop everything or schedule time for that evening.
Sometimes it’s mundane stuff. Sometimes it’s to talk over a challenge. Many times you bring up a gadget you want to earn money towards. Most of the time it’s to talk philosophy.
I love that we have that, especially as you slide into eleven, especially at such a bizarre time in the world.
I love that even at this age, you still come over to give me a hug every night before you go to bed. Or even ask me to sit with you as you tear through yet another YA novel.
Memes and friends and global outlooks warned me that as my son would get older, you’d become less affectionate or more wary of showing emotion. Maybe it’s yet to come. You wouldn’t know it by looking around our house… your way with your sisters, each with their own kind of relationship with you.
But if anything, I feel closer to you than ever, as you navigate your way into pre-teendom, middle school, social challenges, dare I say girls… unraveling puberty piece by piece… and, more than anything else, your budding sense of humor, your developing interests, your toe-dipping into figuring out your place in the world.
I don’t take it for granted, not at eleven. I didn’t at ten either. And I hope that through twelve I have the same opportunity to not take it for granted. For now, I’m not worried, even as you inch closer to my height. The hugs will still work, even then.