My favorite age

Our baby boy turned 7 over the weekend. Part of me wants time to stop or at least slow down. It’s going way too fast.
But another part of me is excited because I know 7. I remember how much I enjoyed his big brother at 7.
That was an amazing year, a year when our conversations gained a little more depth, a year of discovery and newness and learning and growth. Reading and math got easier. Faith became more important. Now we get to experience all that again—but with a child with a very different personality, a different outlook on life.
Seven, I think. We are in for a treat. That might just be my favorite age.

Then I stop and think. I have said that 6 was my favorite age, too. And 5 and 4 and 3 and 2. And 20 months, too—the age our baby was when we met him for the first time. And now that his big brother has finished being 8 and moved on 9, I have to admit that those ages are terrific ages, too.
The truth is that I haven’t enjoyed every single moment—that wouldn’t be possible with all the messes and skirmishes along the way. But I have loved every single age.
I loved when communication was a struggle, and I love it now that we can have long conversations with questions I struggle to answer.
I loved when they needed help eating, and I love that now they help with the cooking.
I loved when they were in diapers and I didn’t have to know where every public restroom was in every store within 30 miles of our house, and I love that now I can sometimes even send them to the restroom alone.
I loved carrying them everywhere, and I love now that they only need to be carried when they’re sick or hurt or tired or just ask really sweetly and I can’t say no.
I loved teaching them to pray, and I love how now they teach me.
We can’t stop time. It seems to be passing more quickly every year. So I have to have faith that I will enjoy getting to know our son at 7 as much as I have every year we’ve known him.
Watching him laugh at his party with his friends and hand them each a favor as they left, I marveled at how much he has grown. I love looking back on the memories we’ve enjoyed with him over the years. But I am also looking forward to seeing the young man he’s going to become.
So bring it on, age 7. Just let me enjoy 7 for a little while before I blink and he’s 8.
Happy birthday, baby boy.

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.