Fair warning... this post will probably come across as braggy. If you don't want to read my brags, move along...
If you have kids (or have been around kids), I think you will agree that they are full of surprises. I can't even tell you how many times I have been shocked by something my boys have done or said. Many times the little surprises aren't really good ones.
Remember the story about Spencer ripping wallpaper off his nursery walls? Or the stomach dropping news that Quinn needed open heart surgery? Did I ever tell you about Zane's ability to become invisible under a bed? How about the time that Beckett ate dishwasher detergent packets?
And then there are the general parenting surprises that you just don't "get" until you have kids. It still surprises me how much stuff a baby needs and how quickly that stuff takes over your house. No one ever told me how quickly the theme song from Dora the Explorer will get stuck in your head. And I had no idea how inaccurate a toddler boy is in the bathroom.
There are a million surprises that are funny and heartwarming. I would say that at least one of the boys does or says something every day that makes me smile. It could be Quinn pouring a glass of milk for Zane. Or Spencer dropping to the floor to wrestle. Or Beckett, without clothes, wrapped in a blanket saying "I'm Batman!" and then opening the blanket, flasher-style, and saying "I'm naked Batman!" Kids are funny!!
Even with all of these surprises under my belt, I have been caught off guard lately by our oldest. He's surprised me with his maturity and his dedication. And I've been completely unprepared for the acknowledgement that he's now more young adult and less little boy - and it has nothing to do with his 5'5", 140+ lb frame.
Spencer has committed himself to getting physically ready for football try-outs. If I could capture a little bit of his determination, I no doubt would be able to proudly rock a bikini this summer. He has changed his eating habits and kicked up his workouts. He makes himself a salad for lunch every day despite the mocking he receives from his classmates. He basically guilts me or Bob into meeting him at the gym after school at least 3 days a week and has a personal training session on one of our "off" days.
It's not just going to the gym that is surprising to me. It's how mature he has been with what he does while there. He's not hanging with friends and working his way haphazardly around the equipment. He's doing things the "right" way - alternating muscle groups and cardio. When on the treadmill, he's pushing himself to be better every time he works out. He is interval training and regularly runs over 3 miles. His goal is to make sure that he's not "tired" at the end of conditioning practices.
If I were reading this I would be like "yeah... whatever". And that's why this has been so surprising. I've never seen him so dedicated to something before. It's like he's maturing before our very eyes.
This past Monday was a school holiday. Spencer and Quinn hung out with the new neighbor boys for most of the day. They were off doing "boy stuff" - which in itself makes me happy. They trekked behind the house and over the stream to the field behind our house. This field is going to be developed into a new subdivision soon so the houses on it are now deserted. The boys went exploring in and around these houses. The most surprising thing from this little adventure was this little selfie that showed up in our photo stream. It struck me as so artistic. (I know I'm biased, but isn't he handsome!)
Speaking of selfies... Spencer recently got an Instagram account. This makes me nervous. I've heard all the bad stuff that can happen to young people using social media. So of course one of our rules is that we must always be allowed to follow their accounts to watch what is going on. To date, Spencer has posted mostly pictures of our pets. He follows accounts that also post mostly animal pictures. He has added some sports related accounts too.
Then last Monday I was surprised by Spencer and his Instagram account. He posted a motivational quote with a picture that I think he found online somewhere. It was AWESOME. He even appropriately hashtagged it as #motivationalMonday. Then he did it again this week. I don't think he will ever stop amazing me. And I will never stop feeling blessed to get to raise this young man!
This weekend we have lacrosse evaluations for the big boys. Next week we have parent meetings for lacrosse and middle school football. We are gearing up for spring! And I'm surprisingly excited!