growing up

We’ve lived in this house for almost ten years. I’ve seen neighbors come and go. I’ve watched the newspaper boy grow from a grade schooler into a high schooler, trading his low-rider chopper style banana seat bicycle for a cool mountain bike, his canvas duffel slung low across his chest, pitching papers side-arm across lawns.

The other day as I was sitting with Calvin while he played with the shutters—a favorite pass time of his—a friend rolled by on his scooter, his two young kids in tow on theirs. They waved hello and, from behind the screened window, I remarked on the little girl’s new haircut. Later I met them on the sidewalk near our house as I was coaxing Calvin to walk hand in hand with me down the lane. All three of them gave him hugs. The cute little girl, her bobbed hair springing out in wavy locks beneath a colorful shiny helmet, told me she had just learned to ride a bike. I asked her age, though I knew it, and with a toothy grin, she proudly replied, "seven and three-quarters!" "That's how old I was when I learned to ride a bike," I added, and the handsome older brother chimed in sweetly, "me too!"

They’ll be moving soon, the artist father's career taking him into a new challenge to teach, create and grow. I realize I’ll be missing them, this neighborhood family, these adorable kids who I know, who like Calvin and think of him as their friend, these kids who I so enjoy talking with—something I can’t do with my own son.

Another neighborhood boy and his mother stopped to visit the day before, a boy born the same time Calvin was due. He's got glasses like Calvin does. He likes our dog Rudy, though doesn't like it when Rudy licks him. While I shuffled with Calvin around our car as he banged and bit it—another favorite pass time of his—the mother and I chatted about dogs and school and kitchens and gardens and how much fun we'd had drinking margarita's together the week before. As they were leaving the little boy chirped, "I think Rudy loves you. And he loves Calvin too." I could have cried.

These kids growing up ... just being themselves they do and say so many wonderful things, one of which is to steal my heart.

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