A big day here in The Grand Duchy of Stollen. We began with The Young Master racing downstairs at about 10am to see if Santa Claus and the reindeer had eaten the treats left for them and to read the annual letter to him from Santa as his mother and I readied breakfast. We wrapped up the day with my tucking him in a short while ago at 8:40pm with a final wish of Merry Christmas one more time, a brief recap of the day, and a kiss on the forehead before I closed the door to his room and stole quietly back downstairs.
The Young Master is now 12 although rather immature in some ways due to ASD and related learning disabilities. At the same time, he now seems so adult in other ways. I am sure Santa Claus will not hold the same excitement for too much longer. Our little boy is growing up with a consuming interest in natural history and the sciences as well as cartoon strips, social and political history, and working toward his black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
So, this Christmas Day has been bittersweet for ol' Dad. It was not that many years ago that he stilled slipped his mittened hand into mine as we walked to the school bus stop at the end of our driveway. More recently, Paul now and then admonishes us not to treat him like a baby (his words). Sigh. Well, I suppose this is all part of being a parent. A wild, thrilling, and occasionally frustrating ride, but tinged at other times with wistful desire that things will never change.
Of course, we adults all know that the only constant in life is change. As my late maternal grandmother once told me when I moved into my first apartment at 21, "You teach your children to walk. And when the time comes, you must also teach them to walk away."
Still, we've got him for a few more years before university and whatever else life has in store for our son as he moves toward and into adulthood.
On that note, the photographs above were too good not to share here. The Young Master was also excited by the prospect of painting a squadron of newly received Minden Russian dragoons together once we finish last year's Christmas gift, the Prussian musketeers painted as garrison infantry. Watch for a few updates on those as we move through Christmas Week and into 2022.
Merry Christmas 2021!