Watching the shift from little boy to big one

Seven. It's been bliss—the most fun, the most hysterical, the golden hour.

This month, Cooper turns 8, and it might as well be 18. I can feel it: this shift from little boy to big one. (I can also see it, because we registered our first eye roll, and he might as well have stabbed me in the heart.)

I know it's not all bad, of course. I love watching his brain blossom and wonder and think and question and dream. Plus, he ties his own shoes, eats things like crab legs and manages his own fantasy football team, which is first in our league. All cool.

But I'm hanging on to 7 with all I've got.

While Coop recently stopped kissing me on the lips, his little hand still occasionally reaches out for mine while we walk, a luxury I expect will soon disappear. We had a moment on vacation this summer when, as we walked on the beach after dinner, sky black and stars bright, he turned around—eyes blue, cheeks pink, freckles everywhere—grabbed my hand, said “Let's go, Momma,” and then giggled as we ran through the sand. This might be the last time, I thought. It wasn't—blessedly. But I recorded that moment so vividly in my brain that I can close my eyes, see his face and feel the ocean air.

Now, I also get play-by-play of each day's recess kickball game. He relishes reading together from my old Shel Silverstein book of poems. He doodles pictures and writes love notes on the fogged-up shower door glass, and then calls me in to admire his handiwork.

He asks for math quizzes while we drive. He sings Disney songs. He plays tic-tac-toe on restaurant menus and rock-paper-scissors while standing in lines.

He makes up terrible, unfunny jokes that I relish hearing. When I ask what the best part of his day was, he typically looks up, smiles and says, “Right now.” And he wants me to snuggle every night after we say our prayers.

He still sees animals in the clouds. He's going to be a “sports player” when he grows up. And every so often, as I wave goodbye at the bus stop, he peeks out his window and then points his finger to his eye, his heart and back at me.

One evening, as I pulled up his covers and kissed his forehead, Coop asked what might have been 7's best question. “Momma, if I go to Ohio State to play basketball, can you move there with me and tuck me in every night?”

Absolutely, kid. I'll just need you to sign right here on the dotted line.

Thank you, 7. You've been nothing short of spectacular.

Kristy Eckert is a Powell mom and founder of Kristy Eckert Communications. You can reach her at kristy@kristyeckert.com.