I recently realized that this is Charlie’s last year of being little, and it was a bittersweet realization. On the one hand, I’m so proud of the human that he has become; he has matured so much the past couple years. On the other hand, the days of him relying on me for everything are increasingly behind him, and I will miss them. Charlie is turning 12 next month, the last year before he officially becomes a teenager. The physical changes the past year are apparent as he’s shot up in height, his shoe size is almost the same as mine, and he has a little mustache! His baby face has long been gone, but I find myself a bit in shock by how big he looks almost every time I look at him lately. It didn’t happen overnight, but I feel like I realized it overnight.


Many years ago in New York we were at a playground where we met someone that told us we only had until 12 at the latest to bond with our kids; after that it would be too late. Mr. Bee and I never forgot that conversation. My friends definitely became the center of my universe when I was in junior high after all. We tried not to take the precious little years of childhood for granted, filling it with many family memories and traditions. But the pandemic put life on hold, and I blinked and Charlie was no longer a little kid.

You know how kids come back after summer vacation and have seemingly grown overnight? I think that’s what happened during the pandemic with my kids. Kids grow when they get a lot of sleep, eat well, and have less stress. I prepared every meal for the kids so they always ate well, without having to wake up for school or any extracurricular activities the kids got a lot more sleep, and staying home every day meant no stress. That resulted in the big growth spurt that was hard for me to see because I was with the kids 24/7.

Beyond physical growth, Charlie has matured so much. He has grown to be such a kind, generous, helpful and intellectually curious human being. He helps with animal rescue, does the dishes, and helps with anything that we ask him to without complaint. He is always looking out for his younger sister and shares everything with her. He is still a voracious reader. He stays on top of his online homeschooling. He is very self-motivated, teaching himself how to code by taking online classes, googling and watching youtube videos. He’s not all grown up, but he’s definitely not a little kid anymore. I never thought about the day that I’d want time to slow down because my kids were growing up too fast. But that day is here.