Last Sunday’s hazy, hot, and humid weather was the perfect excuse for us to enjoy a lazy day at the beach. As we sat in our chairs under our umbrella, we watched the families chasing their little tykes and reminding them not to throw sand, walk on the blanket with their sand-caked feet, and desperately trying to wipe the sand off their food after it had been dropped. It brought me right back to when my son was that age – the beach always seemed like a good idea, but it was definitely not the relaxing day that I anticipated – it was work. Of course, there were lots of fun times and happy memories, but I don’t think I actually sat on the beach in those days for more than 5 minutes at a time.

Now it’s different. I can spend the entire day sitting in my chair and the only thing I need to do is dole out money for food. So I got to thinking about all the things that have changed, and all the subtle signs that my son is growing up.

1. I now have the smallest feet in the house. The last pair of sneakers we bought were a mens 9.5…they are getting tight.

2. We can look at each other eye-to-eye without bending down…soon, I will be looking up.

3. I no longer have to prepare every meal for him – he can do a little light cooking on his own.

4. We can have an interesting conversations and, in them, I can see who he will become as a young adult.

5. He arranges his own social life – and has friends that I don’t know (admittedly, this is a little freaky, but I do trust his judgement when it comes to friends).

6.  He rides his bike to meet friends at the baseball field or basketball courts to play.

7. I haven’t stepped foot in a Toys R’ Us in ages. It’s all about sports equipment, video games, and sneakers.

8. We don’t need a care-giver (we don’t call them babysitters anymore!) every time we want to go out to dinner alone. He’s old enough to babysit other kids!

9. He is taking an active role in grooming and won’t leave the house without “doing his hair.”

10. Not having to worry that I said a curse word in front of him – he’s heard them all and knows better to repeat them (in front of me, at least).

While I cherish those early years, I do have to admit that I don’t miss them for a second. I’m fully enjoying watching my son grow up – from the comfort of my beach chair.