I studied him yesterday.
The intense, deep brown eyes peering out from thick dark lashes, the full mouth with the just discernible fuzz of hair on his upper lip and his thick, dark hair growing forwards - the exact same direction as mine and his uncle's. His shoulders have broadened and squared and his waist has narrowed from many hours spent training and playing soccer.
With his shoulders almost at mine and his nether regions so bushy only a compass could help navigate a way out I find it hard to believe he's only eleven with almost another two months before he turns twelve.
My son is growing up.
Not yet a man.
But no longer a boy.
I've enrolled him into high school and am waiting, almost impatiently for him to begin his life but with a slight trepidation as well.
I know he finds school boring now - the work is too easy, the girls fight too much and most of the boys are stupid.
Sometimes I think he's really a little man in disguise, not just because of his academic ability but also his capacity to read people and situations. Messiness and teenage boy aroma aside he is full of curiosity, empathy and, largely, listens to me.
Still, he's not a saint.
A little over four months ago he punched his laptop with such force it cracked in two places.
The enormous smack I gave him to the back of his head as he walked away from me was so automatic anyone who witnessed it would have sworn I did it everyday to him, not realising I hadn't laid a finger on him for six years when, after the look of terror on his face one day as I lost control, I swore I wouldn't smack him ever again.
There I was though, horrified and more than a little ashamed that the present his uncle had given him for his confirmation was now destroyed.
A three month ban from the pc and the laptop I repaired at home with a new screen did wonders for him though.
He rediscovered the outdoors, writing in his books and I witnessed a new humility born that could be seen in his actions and his words, the boots he had gotten too big for now just the right size.
As it's now August and sunlight is just beginning to inch out a little longer each day, I do wonder how the other children will see him next year and what awaits him but..
I'll have to cross that bridge when he and I reach it...