Last night I entered into complicated negotiations with Little Brother. I'll be seeing him at school today (and every Friday) and there is that delicate matter of parental affection to be dealt with.
For the past year, he hasn't wanted me to wait for the bus with him in the mornings. I do miss that; he's the only kid at the bus stop at that time, and we used to have some nice little chats.
And while I used to get a hug (maybe two) from him on those school days when I volunteered in the library, last night it was made pretty clear that I'm not to expect that this year. At 10, Little Brother thinks he's too big to hug his mom in public. He grudgingly suggested that I could muss his hair a little bit.
Usually the librarian schedules me to volunteer on the day when Little Brother's class will be in the library. I appreciate this and so does he (and I think she does too, as this is a big and, well, loud group. They're good kids--but they are noisy.) When he was in second grade, she needed me on a different day, but when his class was on the way into the art room next to the library, his teacher would let him run into the library and give me a hug.
Those were the good old days.
I mourned this on Twitter last night: "Sign your "baby" is getting old: you have to negotiate an acceptable sign of affection in advance of seeing him at school tomorrow."
The prevailing opinion on Twitter was that I should tackle and hug (and/or kiss) the kid anyway; after all, "real men kiss their moms" and I am the one who pays his bills. The truth is, Twitter, I don't tend to be boisterous like that.
At least he still hugged me when he said goodnight, after all those negotiations.
At least he still wants me to help at his school--with his class.
And at least he has library in the mornings, before the hair that he is so graciously allowing me to touch gets too sweaty from the playground football game at recess.