Which brings us to the intergalactic phenomenon that is Lucas Films. Many moons ago in a galaxy far, far away we told Jackson he couldn’t watch Star Wars until he turned 7. So for the seventh birthday there were light sabers, Jedi apparel, intergalactic cupcakes and even Darth Vader appearances. We’ve have entered full-on boyhood.
Seven has also become more serious about traveling on two wheels. Ready for a new bike, the larger Red Rocket bicycle looks less kid-bike and more grown-up. A striking scene to see the boy wheeling around. With each birthday we create a significant milestone for Jackson to mark. For example, at 5 he could chew gum, at 6 he could stay up to 8:30 and now at 7 he can ride his bike to Mam and Granddad’s house – alone.
It was a very big deal. Of course, I watch him wheel to the stop sign and Mam is already on alert of his arrival and texts me the moment he has arrived at her house approximately five seconds later. This is also very handy when one house might need a cup of sugar, a stick of butter or a banana. He loves the tiny taste of independence and takes it very seriously. There is much looking back over the shoulder to ensure I am watching and always a solemn wave or two as if it might be a few weeks before he returns.
Seven continues to be a good big brother. As an only child observing our boys, I am fascinated daily by their relationship. Of course there is bickering, but the majority of the time is filled with them playing games only Jackson and Eli know the secret rules to. Currently they act out a game where Jackson pretends to be an old man with an imaginary cane and calls Eli “Sonny.” He teeters around saying things like “Where are ya, Sonny?” I have no idea how this originated but it’s a regular in the game line-up. Eli’s part is to just say “Yes?” every time Jackson calls for Sonny and then they both giggle into puddles on the floor. Repeat.
Another favorite game is whatever they imagine with the belt to Eli’s robe might be. Mam made Eli a Clifford the Big Red Dog robe with a hood and Eli loves it. But the matching belt is his favorite. Sometimes it is a lasso and other times it is a way to trip Jackson. Mostly Jackson will wrap it around his ankles and stand up. Then Eli or Jackson will say something like “I am walking out in the rain” and then on cue Jackson will drop to the floor and they burst into laughter. They will also fall to the floor and flip-flop the belt around until someone will touch the end of the belt to “save” them. It’s a joy to hear their giggles and conversations.
However, seven has also arrived with much more fragile toys. It’s really quite interesting to see how much learning goes on during actual Lego-ing. The following of directions, the organization of tiny parts, etc. are all impressive to witness. A new obsession with Pokemon or football cards has also blossomed. Granddad made Jackson a binder and he has card holders in which he regularly organizes and rearranges again and again into his binder. But those Lego creations and Pokemon or football collector cards can’t take the love of a three-year-old. So we are working on Jackson’s room becoming a bit more off limits and teaching Eli to respect Jackson’s things. We practice knocking on Jackson’s door before entering. And regularly explain medieval knights are off-limits. So at times I see them becoming closer as Eli becomes more of a playmate and then I see them need stronger boundaries as Jackson requires privacy and respect. Sometimes it happens all in the same day.
Seven is busier than ever. Jackson hip-hopped his way through spring performing at his first dance recital. It was amazing. He was a member of an all-boy hip hop group. There he was on stage doing twists, turns, handstands, coffee-grinders, slides, cartwheels and more. I was in the front row filming and crying. The child was born without any stage fright. Not one drop. He is totally at ease on stage. He was thrilled to attend a summer church music camp at Nonnie and Paw-Paw’s. We drove up to see the final performance and there he was with an angelic singing solo and dance moves. No fear and no mistakes.
The last six months have been filled with t-ball, swim team, soccer and now church choir. It’s a lot but he is learning so much about being a team player, setting individual goals, listening to coaches and practicing.
And finally, seven has been about losing. Jackson finally lost two teeth. The bottoms were loose and I thought we could give it some time while he worked on them. But then one day I glanced in his mouth to see he had shark teeth – two rows of teeth as his permanents were no longer waiting for the babys to leave. I made a dental appointment and told Jackson he had one week to get those teeth out. After serious wiggling he was able to get one out. Eric was scrubbing up for a quick pull, when Jackson reached in and came out with the tooth. His first visit from the tooth fairy left a very special silver dollar. But the second tooth was not budging so the dentist had to pull it. Either way, Jackson was thrilled.
Every phase is tinged with a sadness of time passing but then I realize that the next phase quickly becomes my favorite.