Five. I can’t believe it. You are five today, my firstborn. My Blake. Five. These are officially years you will remember when you are my age. I hope there will be millions of amazing memories awaiting you this year.
You have come so very far in just this past 12 months–leaps and bounds. You are becoming more and more yourself, and you are settling in to a comfort with who you are. Bright, creative, eager, strong-willed, enthusiastic, curious. You love science. And art. And books. You are into exploring and bug collecting. I peek at you on the playground at preschool sometimes, and, without fail, I see you crouched near the building digging for bugs with your good pal, Nathan. You have a good pal, a friend you chose for yourself, who likes the things you like. You run into a park or play area with friendly greetings for all, eager to play with other kids. You are becoming content with yourself, like that.
You are a perfectionist, and that may make things harder for you. You get that from your Momma. (I like it when you call me “Momma.”) I hope that you will find a way to be content with who you are and find perfection in things that are not “perfect.” Perfection in life, as it is, sometimes.
I love how excited you get about your ideas and inventions. New ways of putting things together. I love your phonics and how you are writing your own sentences based on sound. What an incredibly neat thing to do. I am amazed at the way children develop, to be honest! Almost despite any outside influence.
You are still sensitive and still moody and still easily frustrated, but you are finding a balance. You are you. I can see glimpses of who you will be 20, 40 years from now. Vibrant, creative, inquisitive, maybe stubborn, persistent, and probably moody. Remarkable.
All of my children are remarkable. All children are.
So, Happy Birthday to you, my favorite 5-year-old! Thank you for being my special Blake. I love you.
I simply cannot imagine my life without you. You wear a smile that burrows into me and makes me want to hug you, even when you wake up everyone in the house at 5:30 AM because you can’t find one of the 20,ooo superheroes with whom you insist on sleeping. This year, you have grown quite spunky and are learning to stand up for yourself: you are now an equal play-partner with your big brother, someone he courts for playtime, a friend. You adore your big brother and miss him when he is gone. At the same time, you are beginning to crave social interaction, and I am finally getting some of that over-the-top Mommy love and cuddling that comes at this age. But, you are particular about your friends and not afraid to let me know who you want around you. Good for you.
Right now, your thing is superheroes. I think you like Batman or Wolverine most of all, but that changes from day to day. Sometimes you play pirates, but mostly superheroes. You love legos, but mostly legomen–you remove the hands from the arms and the heads from the necks and then switch the bodies around. When I (meaning no one ever helps) clean them up, there are always a thousand little hands buried in the carpet. And, that is how I know these are the pieces you brought to life.
You have perfected the temper tantrum. You love sugar and often skip lunch and dinner, holding out for some great “snack.” In fact, you don’t like the words “lunch” and “dinner,” as these words elicit thoughts of vegetables and ethnic food and pasta and other “yucky” stuff. I think quinoa may be your most feared food–who knows why? It is so delicious and so good for you! It will make you big and strong, like Superman. So, remember that!
I love it when you give me nuzzles. Like all my boys, you have your own defining smell, and I can’t imagine my life without it. Thank you. For your laughter and your spunk, your sensitivity, your love, your joy, your being. I met you 3 years ago, and life hasn’t been the same. Happy Birthday, my Elliot. I love you.
Well, the year is drawing to a close, and it has been a full, busy, active, wonderful one–again. We had a fantastic Christmas Eve dinner at our house with family of several varieties and our usual warm and wonderful Christmas day at my grandparents’ house. I am 32 years old, and this is the one remaining tradition that has been in place since before I was born–and I am immensely grateful for it. I love my family and am glad we all still want to see each other on the holidays–I can’t imagine going years between seeing aunts and cousins, but that is just me.
Santa Claus and the opening of presents? Well, we had mostly happy and excited boys. There was some bickering over who would get to play with what (even though Santa labeled gifts) and some less-than-grateful tearing through packages without noticing the contents–but, that’s all normal and will come to pass. Blake and Elliot heard reindeer on the roof, so I think the magic was there.
And . . . a White Christmas to go along with it. Granted, it didn’t snow till midnight or so, but it was beautiful, beautiful inches-deep magic. Exquisite.
Also, I took Blake ice skating at the outdoor rink today. I was thinking Central Park. Magical. Music. Grace…….Neh.
Just a few pics–I never have the camera in moments I want to remember, but here’s what I’ve got: snow!
Lots of firsts and fun and festivities this month, so I’ll get right to it.
The preschool Christmas shows. Which we have kind of been dreading, as our kids kind of stand out as the introverted, noncompliant little ones. But, not this year. They were so BRAVE and so WONDERFUL!
Elliot’s 2-year-old class had a separate, smaller program the day before Blake’s. Elliot has, for the most part, been terrified of the music teacher and the whole idea of singing with/in front of other people. But, he LOVES his teacher, Ms. Cheryl, and she promised to stand right behind him. He came right out onto the stage with her, the first one out, and beamed and waved and sang and did all the hand motions with the best of them. I was so very proud of him. I felt like I was sitting on the clouds, I was so happy that he was able to do that for himself. I have bad pictures, though, as we don’t have a zoom lens, so here’s a bad one just for documentin’. That’s Elliot, back in the red/black/grey stripes.
And then, he had a little party in his classroom, which August and I attended. August really enjoyed it: he walked around the table scrounging food from the big boys’ plates.
The next day, Blake was to be part of the preschool Christmas program. And (drumroll please) HE DID IT!!!! My Blake, who came into the chapel last year melting into me in the pew, beamed all the way down the aisle and all the way up onto that stage, where he smiled and waved and sang and hand-motioned like a pro. I was so so proud of him. I was actually kind of emotional about it, I must admit. Once again, it felt fantastic to watch one of my sons master something he wasn’t all that sure about in the beginning. Look at that smile:
What a proud mommy I have been this week! So happy for my boys.
And then, after Blake’s show, the preschool hosted Santa Claus. Blake quite matter-of-factly told us he didn’t want to talk to Santa (when his teacher told him that he would get a candy cane, Blake told her: nah, we have candy at home). But, Elliot timidly told me he wanted to talk with Mr. Claus. Here is the result of our wait in line for that meeting:
In addition to all the preschool goings-on, we have been doing some fun stuff at home. We put up the tree early this year, lights only on the top half, breakables on the top third. You do what you gotta do. We also spent several pieces of mornings trying to get a good picture for the Christmas. Alas, nothing quite worked out, so we ended up just throwing something together at the last minute. And, we have done two different batches of Christmas cookies (note to self: do not substitute wheat flour for white in sugar cookie recipes. Ewwww.) And, a cool Eric Carle advent calendar, which the boys have been unable to resist opening before the appropriate days. We lit a candle once, and Blake nearly caught the house on fire. It was up high, but he decided to throw something on top of it. I guess we learned our lesson, huh? Scared the crap out of him–I think he learned his lesson, too. Here is the second batch of fiber-full, nasty, but beautifully iced cookies:
Finally, what blog is complete without a December video of a preschool Christmas show? None, if you ask me. Pardon the shaking and zooming. Elliot was crawling all over me, and I already told you I was emotional. Without further ado:
Pshew. This day has come around again. And, as much as I think that it is just a day, a day that shouldn’t really mean anything–it is more than just a day. Who knows how things will be as the years pass, but, for me on these past two years since the death of my mother, this day has been big. I start thinking of it in November. How many times before this have I heard that the holidays can be really sad, and I just chalked it up to Scrooginess? But, it is true. When you lose someone close to you, someone you associate with the holidays, someone who means Christmas to you–well, then the holidays become a bit less merry. And then, you begin work on faking it till you make it. I want my kids to feel joy and excitement for the holidays, and I think they really do.
Anyhow, I think I am sailing through it, but just a little old thing starts me spiraling into memory-land and, I am ashamed to say it, I still visit feel-sorry-for-myself-and-my-family land on occasion. It’s true. I don’t think of this as unfair. Just as very very very sad for us. So, it has been a month of ups-and-downs, of panic attacks, of freaking people out with my crazy emotionality. But, it is what it is. I am still not over it. So there. I am just not. I am very very very sad that my mom is gone. I miss her every single day, and I still have moments when I can’t believe it is real.
But, I hope that someyear soon, this day won’t be so big for me. I like her birthday, to be honest. I’d like to feel at least a little happy stuff on a day for her, and her deathday just brings none–none at all. This is the day, two years ago, that my grandparents, my uncle, my aunt, and myself sat around her in a group, watching my mother take her last breaths. And we were very very very sad. But also, so relieved. Relieved that she didn’t have to suffer and that we didn’t have to watch her in pain. It is burned in my memory and will be forever. Very very very sad. Having time to reflect on this and stepping outside of my own pain, you know what the saddest part of it all was? Watching my grandparents say “goodbye” to their first-born. Very very very sad.
I have no good words. Nothing eloquent. Just that.
But, I have remarkable memories of my mom. And, here is one of her favorite songs (you gotta click on the youtube link). How many times did I see her dancing to it? Takes me back to the “good old days,” when people didn’t die and little dramas were big dramas. For you, mom . . .
Two posts in one day. But, I gotta do this. Another installment in my happy/sad chronicle. So, here’s the happy.
It is the 15-year anniversary of my relationship with Toby–actually, it goes back even further, but that is a long story. Before my mom died on this day, it was actually the anniversary we celebrated most. You see, we were together unmarried longer than we have been together married, and this anniversary has always meant something to us. So, Happy Anniversary to my dear husband of 6.5 years, my partner for 15. High school sweethearts.
Our relationship has changed–alot. Having children is honestly very hard on a marriage. They tell you that on the talk shows–and it is 100% true, at least from my experience. But, I can’t imagine loving anyone the way I love Toby, and I can’t imagine anyone loving me back the same. It is just the way it is meant to be. And, we’ve been through a LOT together. We are a bit more tired, a bit more jaded, and a bit less adventurous. But, that is just for now. I still have moments when I look at Toby and he takes my breath away. I have those moments when I look at him and realize that he is actually slowly growing older, just as I am. I think when you are inside yourself, you forget that time is marching on. But, we are growing and aging together, and I feel immensely grateful for the opportunity and the journey. Thank you, Toby, for sharing my life with me. For being the center of my memories and for being the one and only person I know I can rely on and trust to love me, for better or for worse. I love you.
I am tired. I started this month thinking: no big deal, I can think of a million things to write about. I still can, but I am just worn out and uninspired at my usual “free” times. Also, I thought there would be a lot of ranting and soapboxes, sob stories and politics. But, then, I thought better of it. It just didn’t seem right. And, for once in my life, I have done this in a fairly positive and not overly critical manner, and I am darn proud of myself. It feels good to not be angry and annoyed about everything. Sure, I have soapboxes, but who needs to hear them? I’ll get loud when it gets really important. Or, when I figure out a productive way of doing so.
So . . . I am just finishing up my first NaBloPoMo with a little more gratitude. Feeling grateful for my family and friends. That we don’t want for necessities. That we are all currently healthy. That there is love in our house. I don’t think you can say it too much, so there: I said it again. There are plenty of roses in this little life, and I am thankful and partaking.
Thanks for hanging with me this month. It felt like a little connection, knowing that people were reading everyday. I’ll miss you. (It’s gonna be awhile).
For my boys: Sleep tight, sweet children. I’ll look in on you before I go to bed, and I’ll watch you dreaming for a few seconds. May you feel safe and loved and eager for the next day’s adventures.
Don’t be a quitter. I have quit so many things in my life, just because I didn’t feel good enough. I always wanted to learn to dance, but I couldn’t keep up–so I quit many dance classes (actually, I had a beginning ballet teacher in college–this was just a P.E. class y’all–tell me I should pass/fail the class)–so, it was probably meant to be.
But, my point is:boys, keep trying. Even if you think you aren’t good enough. You may come around a corner and find that you are. Just make it to the corner.
Well, I leave these posts until I have already fallen asleep on the couch and there isn’t a creative idea left in my brain. But, I have made it this far, and I ain’t giving up. But, it isn’t all for nought–look at this great lesson I am now delivering to my children, in the midst of a bunch of filler. See there–home stretch!
My boys are getting older, day by day. Little things like:
Elliot: He drew a smiley face today (kind of). And, he is finally going into some 3T shirts. And, he is beginning to play more of a big brother role with August, rather than just being annoyed and slightly aggressive. He is hitting the hugsnkisses stage that I love, and I hope he stays there awhile.
Blake: I have to shop outside the toddler section for him now–I am just now discovering that clothes for “big boys” cost more money than those for little boys. Also, I was looking for work shoes in the store, and he pointed at some heels and said, “look at those, Mommy, those are very stylish.” But, he wasn’t interested long. He soon pulled what seemed like a teenage “awwwwwwww mom–let’s go” when he couldn’t take anymore shoe shopping with mom.
August: He is climbing onto things–he has been kind of late on this–and is now figuring out how to get down, rather than get up–stand there and cry until I come get him down–get right back up–stand there and cry .. . He is playing with the big boys some–he loves to wrestle (god help my nerves!). And, he can reach things he couldn’t reach just a few days ago. He high-fives and dances with the best of them. And, he is just over the stroller.