If you've had kids for a while, you'll probably know the feeling of looking at your child and catching a glimpse of who they will be years from now.
Sometimes it is just the next stage up that you see - the toddler inside the baby, rising up for a moment. In older kids, you can sometimes see the teen, and rarely I get flashes of the adult inside the child.
It's like getting a random contraction in the last few weeks of pregnancy to remind us that labor will come, the next stage is coming, and that it can't be stopped. And also that the next stage will be good. So far, all my flash-forwards have been good. THey give me a sense of nostalgia for the present I am already in, make it clear and sweet and present.
Mr B has started up his last 'pony' riding lessons. He's almost 8, so he'll be in group lessons at the next session. So, for now, his last chance to have solo lessons without paying extra. He has met the challenge his former instructor laid out - she wanted him cantering before he moved on to group lessons. He is.
He has also leapt a level in his riding. It is likely because of having done the riding camp - both a group lesson situation and a daily riding situation. Whether it was the group aspect or the daily riding, I don't know, but he has gotten a lot better. His heels were down, and he kept his body posture strong and straight the entire lesson - no slacking. Plus, they put him on Cutie, who is cute but snotty. She wants to do what she wants to do. And he turned her around and got her pointed the right way again, muscled her head around, even. Given how small he is, it was pretty impressive. Granted, Cutie isn't as big as some of the other horses he's ridden, either. He's used to the big quarter horse, who also likes his own way with things. So I suppose it isn't so strange that he's this able on a smaller, less stubborn (if more obnoxious) horse.
What I saw, though, when he was posting across the ring, eyes forward, responding to the instructor's called cues, was the teenager, the young man riding confidently, working with the horse. There was something in the way he was suddenly at ease 100%, instead of 95%, that flashed that image into my mind and heart. Here he is, little boy, eager and excited. There he is, grown and confident.
Man. It's cool, seeing that flash.
It doesn't hurt that we're headed into the regulation phase for everyone. The half-year of disregulation is fading out, the new phase of order and knowledge and skill is rising. The 11 becomes 12, the 7 becomes 8 (one of my very favorite ages), the 4's become 5's. It's still on the cusp - shifting back and forth between younger and older, leaving me expecting one and getting the other more than half the time. I get grumpy when that happens - transitions aren't my strong suit, I suppose. But I can see the new stage coming, and it is so darn amazing. Look at them, growing up! I am aware of their mortality a little more during these stages, I think because I want to see them fully as themselves in this next level. I want the next chapter to unfold, want to watch it happen. As they get older, I get more time to do so, with the changes allowing them more power and scope, and taking less physical effort from me.
A little less, anyway!
Ah, I hear feet coming down the stairs - time to go...