The vast array of options open to them as they plan the next steps of their life, and as they checked different ideas and talked about their plans or lack of, I was struck with how grown up this seemed and yet these were still my small boys.
The same boy who only that weekend had his menu choices at the Chinese restaurant based upon what he'd seen in Kung Fu Panda, was now carefully weighing his abilities and trying to match those to his dreams.
The one who could be reduced to a heaving mass of frustration over a fumbled goal in an online football game, was looking at options, trying to feel his way into a future path.
These mature boys asking responsible questions were the same ones I'd argued with in the morning over shoe laces, yes really shoelaces! Their annoying lazy habit of taking to shoes off without undoing and a seeming lack of attention paid to the many lessons I have of tying the perfect bow had led to one (identity protected 😜) boy hopping round the house when we were already late to leave.
Frustration, fingers, unhelpful fraternal intervention and forks (my idea and seemed logical at the time) together succeeded in finally making the knot completely and utterly watertight and undoable, so the shoe just had to wedged on. I tried not to wince as the back heel was squished as I remembered the joy, (also spelled trauma) that was involved in buying a pair of durable, school appropriate shoes and reminded myself that they were in the sale ( but In Clarkes everything is relative) and bit my lip on the long (10 min) journey to school. ( to be read as shouted and huffed and puffed and blew it all out of proportion)
The end of day saw the shoe wrenched off, the laces cut and replaced with some from another old pair that should have been thrown out about three sizes ago but I'm not brave enough to venture too regularly into the bottom of his wardrobe. A solution found and normality restored, apologies and hugs given, cups of tea made and I did not comment when the other "innocent brother" dumped his own undone shoes.
And just a few hours later the same boys who could not tie or would not undo a shoe lace, were making decisions for their future with hope and a smidgen of direction.
Later when they went to bed I read comments some friends had made about my boys, commending them and encouraging me and whilst you should never parent well to get the praise from others, there are times when that encouragement is just what you need to keep you moving forward, sure of your path.
Yes they are growing up and I will try each day to give them all they need to do that well, to become well rounded men, but sometimes they will just be my little boys and we will argue and apologise and eat food based on Disney movies.