My sweet son, Ben, turned 18 a little over a month ago. I’ve been thinking about what a pleasure it has been to be with him and watch him grow all these years.
When Ben was six years old, I remember thinking very clearly about how much he had grown as a boy during the first six years of his life. He went from an infant, to toddler, to young boy in such a short period of time. Then it occurred to me how much more he would grow and change in the next six years of his life. So when he was twelve, he would be much different than when he was six.
At age six, Ben loved playing with Legos, climbing trees, doing any kind of hands-on work, and playing outdoors with friends at parks and lakes. He enjoyed all kinds of board games and card games, and loved listening to stories even though he didn’t yet read independently.
By the time he was twelve, Ben still loved Legos, although instead of bricks, he played with Lego Technics and robotics. He had become an avid independent reader and still enjoyed listening to stories. He played computer games more than board games, participated in wilderness programs, and continued to climb trees. His love for hands-on work took the form of learning glass flameworking, electronics, robotics, and simple woodworking.
Now, at 18, he’s studying in a fire service technology program and pursues a variety of hands-on projects both at home and in the community. These have included glassblowing, metalworking, and building custom longboards and electric bass guitars. In the past, he was a homebody, but in recent years he has traveled by air, rail, and car to several states around the country. He’s worked a variety of jobs, including a high ropes course assistant, art festival vendor assistant, summer day camp assistant, and most recently as a courtesy clerk at PCC Natural Markets. He likes to hike, run, read, cook, bake, watch movies, hang out with friends, and he still loves climbing trees.
It’s been amazing to me how much Ben has grown as a young man during these past several years. I couldn’t have imagined when he was twelve what he would be like at age eighteen. And I must say I am so happy to see who he has become.