This weekend the eleven-year-old and I went on a fishing trip with his grandpa (my ex-wife's stepfather) and grandpa's sons and other grandsons. The eleven-year-old was able to spend the weekend horsing around and joking with his older cousins (three boys aged 15,14, and 13). He didn't seem strained or awkward, and I didn't get the sense that the older boys were just putting up with him and would have preferred not to have him around.
It was really nice to see. Five years ago, I wouldn't have expected him to reach that point. I remember taking him on a Cub Scout camping trip when he was six. He was basically glued to my side. During free times the other boys were running around, but he sat next to me in the dining hall tracing pictures from some favorite books that he had brought along.
He's come a very long way in the last six years. It's wonderful to behold.