I’m not sure what happened. I went to sleep in 2006 and woke up in 2012 (or actually, I haven’t slept much at all since 2006, so perhaps that makes the question moot and explains my surprise at the passing of time?).

My firstborn turned six this month. What the…? Six?

The morning of his birthday, Mark asked, “How does it feel to be six, H-man?”

And H, oh that child, he said, “Awesome! I get to learn to drive!”

Sixteen is when you learn to drive, friend, not six.

“Oh, well that’s okay. Six is still pretty cool.”

Mark and I had a good laugh. I wonder if H had ever considered why none of the other six-and-overs at school were driving themselves around? Underneath my laughter, my stomach clenched and tears worked at the corners of my eyes. At this rate, I thought, I will doze off again and he will be learning to drive.

But I won’t have to wring my hands and worry about him driving too fast, testing the limits of the law, because he is a responsible type.

He knows what time it is – exactly what time it is – at all times. He does not round to the nearest :15, :30, :45, or :60 yet. He knows what his school assignments are and when they’re due. Thank goodness one of us in on the ball.

He doesn’t stand for flimsy excuses or halfhearted explanations. This doesn’t always bode well for parents who just want everyone to go to bed already, but this should be a very good thing for his future. Nobody’s going to pull one over on H.

He loves police officers and the law with a fervor I, frankly, find maddening at times. Although I won’t be too awfully sad when he outgrows this obsession or the little police game he’s invented with his neighborhood cronies, I do hope his love for justice and peace prevails always.

He falls apart now and then, of course, because he’s only six. But this kid, who spoke in complete sentences, with passionate hand gestures and facial expressions to match, when he was still barely walking, thinks and operates in words. We can talk through things; he gets it. Usually.

He gets scared and nervous sometimes. And when he conquers something new, overcoming his fear or nerves? He manages to appear proud and a wee bit embarrassed, quietly grinning, while he tolerates our whoops and hollers of congratulation.

So I’m not sure how it happened. I’m not sure when the 5 pound, 11 ounce baby turned into a one-inch-shy-of-four-feet tall boy. I’m not sure how we went from Baby’s First Christmas to writing his own letters to Santa.

I swear I just closed my eyes to rest for a few minutes.

That was one hell of a nap, I guess.

From 6 weeks...

...to six years. I love this picture. I think it captures his thoughtful nature.

I wonder…

:: Do your emotions get all mixed up and struggle to outdo each other as you watch your kids grow? Joy, sadness, pride, fear and so much more?