For Declan's school this year, we have a carpool with two other families. They are kids he has known since 2nd grade, and they've now gone on to middle school together. I'm discovering that I learn a lot about my child while listening to the chatter and pretending I'm listening to NPR.
The three of them -- two boys and one girl -- remind me of Harry, Ron and Hermione from the Harry Potter series in their dynamic. And they squabble, tease and laugh like they are siblings. I've been really glad that Declan has had the two of them as they have transitioned to this new school.
So some of the things I've learned about my son is that he's a little bit girl crazy. There is a LOT of teasing that goes on about that. Apparently he always his eye on someone. Great.
I've also learned that the three of them have tons of inside jokes that date all the way back to second grade, and they tell the same stories and jokes over and over again. And over and over again. And they appear to have the capacity to laugh even harder every time. Personally, this is about the time I think about driving off the road. If I hear the "boxen" joke again, I'm going to have to put something sharp in my eye.
I think the most eye-opening thing is realizing that my eldest child clearly has a life that is separate and distinct from mine. There are jokes, stories, activities and yes, even crushes, that I am not even remotely involved in. I realize that separation will only grow greater over time. At this point, I'm still counting my lucky stars that I have that time in the car to listen and learn and laugh with them for a little longer.