This year, Camden had a birthday party at home, and his short list of friends to have over for a cookout and cake somehow kept growing. By Saturday, we had 11 10/11-year-olds in our small living room. At one point there were more people, but this is what it was at most of the afternoon. Man, boys are wild. And LOUD. The girls kept trying to escape to either inside or the patio, whichever place the boys were NOT, saying they were looking for quiet. A couple boys stayed for a sleep-over, and I think we learned to keep that limited to one at a time for a while. Ha.
So....let's see. This year, Camden has continued to play soccer. His team won the soccer championship and had an undefeated season, the only team in any of the leagues for the town to be undefeated. they were pretty proud of that. Camden has been taking guitar lessons and is getting pretty good, though he isn't really a fan of practicing. He loves living in our new house and having lots of friends that live nearby - and living off a cul-de-sac where he can play soccer and football with all the boys nearby. (There are a lot of boys, but hardly any girls! Not that I'm complaining...) He's all about sports, and I've discovered that he would be happy to wear a white undershirt and basketball shorts every single day. He's still very big on reading, which is awesome. He's always been an advanced reader, so he likes carting big, huge novels around - series are always a hit, and he'll read things over and over. Legos - do they ever go out of style? He loves getting big sets of them, but then he makes them once and doesn't want to take them apart! (We've had to create a limit so that his room doesn't get taken over...)
Camden's really gotten better with his food pickiness lately. Not that he's overly picky, but there's plenty that he didn't like a year or two ago and now will eat happily. He always has to try something, even if he claims he hates it, and after so many tries, he usually ends up liking it. With each food this occurs, he'll proclaim "you were right again!" Ha. He will tell you that his mom is very smart - and that I'm usually right about things. Not when he's mad at me about something, but otherwise, this is the case. ;) Examples about foods he recently did not like and will now eat without complaining are....beans, rice, salad, a dish I make that mostly includes beef and lentils, broccoli, and some others I'm not remembering at the moment. He admits he can't really argue when I make him eat some of the foods he doesn't like since he knows what the outcome will eventually be (though he does try to argue anyway sometimes).
He's getting a bit of an attitude lately...the attitude where he thinks he can talk back or just not follow through and there shouldn't be a problem with that. The attitude where he knows something isn't allowed but we're not looking, so what's wrong with what he did? We've had to become zero-tolerance about this kind of thing, and I think that makes a difference. Give him an inch... Right? He needs that immediate consequence, we've learned. Thankfully it's not every day, and most of the time he is quite pleasant. But I'm sure my mother is thinking, Oh you just wait. Do you remember what you were like as a teenager? What goes around comes around, honey... Right, mom? (That does worry me. I'll be honest!)
Camden is soooo very excited about middle school. I don't think he's nervous at all! He knows there will be more work and less tolerating inappropriate behavior, but he also is excited about many of the other things he will get to do. He's signed up to be in band to play the clarinet. First choice was the sax, but his hands are too small for now, so he'll start with the clarinet. He's looking forward to trying out for the soccer team in 7th grade, and until then, he'll play baseball and soccer outside of school on other teams. He's also quite excited about having lockers at school; I think just about all of the 5th graders are! It seems to be a huge deal. The school is a brand new one that was just finished in the last couple months. It's right next to the elementary school (and high school) and is right next to our neighborhood, which is nice b/c he just walks. He just got a new bike for his birthday (thanks to all the grandparents that sent money to go toward it), so he's looking forward to riding his bike to school now. He's been in a year-round school for the past year, and the new middle school is also year-round. I think he likes that schedule (I know the rest of us do), especially having long breaks throughout the year instead of just one big one in the summer. He's always bored before it's time for school to start back with the long break, and a few weeks at a time seems to be just right.
We went to Camden's 5th grade graduation ceremony today. I always thought those were a little silly... They're not graduating really until they're graduating from high school! But now that we're here, it's not quite as silly as I always thought. I did tear up some, especially when they played Canon in D during the processional, and then the kids all sang "Heal the World." Seriously, I think they were TRYING to make the moms cry! My baby boy is growing up. Some days I just can't deny it. I'm a bit nervous about some aspects of middle school, too. I know what kind of stuff happens there - good and bad. Yikes. He's also getting at an age where it's time for me to let go more, let him make his own decisions (and mistakes), etc. Yikes again...mostly because it can be hard to do that when you know it will sometimes result in them making poor choices or getting hurt. One thing that helps, as I'm learning to back off and let go some, is that other trustworthy adults are entering into Camden's life as he is now in the middle school group at church. Another thing he is super excited about. And I'm thankful to know there will be other good influences in his life (even if they give them poptarts and other junk food sometimes) and another reason for him to be exited about going to church and learning about and growing in God.
I asked Camden what his favorite part of the last year was...his answer was simply the soccer tournament. That was pretty exciting for him! I think in comparison, the rest of the year just didn't match up! I think he's also just really looking forward to some of the things ABOUT to happen when he starts middle school in a few weeks!
Like I said, this has been an emotional birthday for me, mostly because it happens right as he's about to enter middle school and there are all these reminders that he is getting older and I'm having to let go more and more. But it's been a good birthday, nonetheless. We didn't get to go to Kentucky and have the big party we usually have (which is mostly just an excuse to get a bunch of our family and close friends together, since we see them so little), but it was also kind of nice to have a relaxed time (other than that wild birthday party night!!) and just be here together, just our little family.
And I'll leave with a little birthday picture. Since this has been a big year, where he's obviously growing up, I'm including his BIRTH day picture. Because no matter how old he is, he is always, always my baby.
My baby boy, Camden Lee. Born Monday June 28th, 1999 at 12:13pm, coming in at a whopping 11lbs, 21 1/2 inches - by far, the *biggest* blessing I've ever received. ;) The picture was taken in the hospital; Christening gown was made by my mother (and had to be altered b/c he was too big to button it on the arms or neck!). He was literally twice the size as the other babies in the hospital when he was born!
Happy 11th birthday!!
Go here for pics from the month, including birthday party pics, school presentation and school play pics, as well as pics from the 5th grade graduation.