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My kids are growing up.

Q is like a typical well-adjusted teenage boy - miniature adult one moment, food vacuum the next, and annoying older brother in between and besides. Every adult he interacts with thinks he's just the bees knees, including his girlfriend's parents, who come to his games at the high school and even plan a road trip to one of his tournaments this summer. He helps out at his little brothers' games when he doesn't have his own. He's terrible with money - burns a hole in his pocket as soon as he gets it - but is always willing to work hard to get more of it. He's what the olds like me call "a good kid" with a circle of friends we would describe the same way - good students, volunteers, after school activities and jobs. A recent outing with some teammates was for bowling and ice cream, everyone home by 10:30 on a Friday night. He has another minor growth spurt left so will be slightly taller than me and his father, but not by much.

Her Bootiness is just something else! Beautiful, witty, and oh lord the drama and the mood swings. Her braces have made her smile wider, her glasses are always absolutely filthy despite all of the adults in her life begging her to clean them for eff's sake, and she continually surprises me with the depth of her interests, and the details that snag her attention. Also, she loves deer chili - so much so that if we make a pot, we make extra so that she can have a bowl of it after school every day as her snack that week. Her and her friends walk to the park together all the time, she frequently facetimes her cousing (Little Sis's girl) and she's very close to done growing according to her doctor, so will end up a little shorter than me, and is healthy (but a little lazy). She has her own sense of style, still likes to hang out with us and play Legos with her little brothers, and acts like she's actively dying if we make her mow the yard.

Leroy Jethro is tall and skinny for his age. He loves his older siblings, and they alternately love and are annoyed by him. He's decent at any sport he tries, and he started baseball this spring and absolutely LOVES it. He reads well, but usually under duress because MOVING AROUND IS MORE FUN. He notices absolutely freaking EVERYTHING so you better mind your Ps and Qs around him. He loves a good big mixed lettuce salad, any kind of grilled meat, taco salads, and yogurt. He still loves to snuggle, still does the little-kid-break-down-when-tired, and is a really good friend - he recently had a friend he's known since preschool spend the night, and this poor little guy has been having anxiety issues (so bad he's missing some group birthday parties because of it) and when it was time to go to sleep he asked to check all the locks - something his mother had warned me about in advance. LJ held his hand and they walked around checking the locks, on their own.

The reason I'm posting about this today is because the kids' schedules are set for next year, and both big kids' schedules held surprises for me. I worried I wasn't involved enough (letting them choose their own without my input), but I refer back to something I read when I am trying to balance hovering versus giving them "enough" freedom.

It started with this, which I read when it was published:

And of course I did an Internet Dive, ultimately running across this:

This in particular: There are so few things we can do for her now, so very few things, but we can do this: we can give her her life, as whole and unbroken as we can manage, and an unspoken promise to fiercely guard it from even ourselves. We can give her this. Our last gift.

It's their lives to live.

rambly today
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