This is new.
He's always been pretty retiscent and not the first one to jump in line for hugs, or for time with Mom (although he liked spending time with Dad). However, all that has changed.
The first time I noticed that Charlie's demeanor was changing, was when he had to do a Public Speaking assignment as part of one of his Language Arts lessons. He has never before been able to memorize poems and such and to deliver them in front of people.
However, he's twice now memorized a poem and delivered it, not just to me during class time, but later for his Dad and brother too. He's been very proud of his excellent public speaking skills.
He is seaking out hugs, asking for snuggle time and speaking up during family discussions. He is smiling and laughing, and his contrary self has been nowhere in sight for a while now.
Tonight, while I was tucking him in, I said I thought maybe aliens had abducted him and replaced him with a new and improved model. Of course he thought that was hysterical, but was quick to assure me that he was still just Charlie.
When I asked him why, then he was seeming so much happier and snugglier, he said (and this is gold)
"Because I'm believing in myself more."
And that, boys and girls, is what makes all of it - everything - absolutely and undeniably, worth it.