Thursday, August 9, 2018

Celebrating Spencer

"The most important thing you will ever do in your life is learn to embrace your unique, honest self. A boundless, infinitely populated universe and there is nothing else here quite like you. This is your power. All those things that make you strange and different are what make you irreplaceable."
-Beau Taplin

It's a strange thing watching your kids grow up. It's not like you notice the changes as they are occurring. You don't notice the babyness fading until a boy emerges one day unexpectedly and you're suddenly caught off guard by how big he seems. You don't realize they stopped saying certain words incorrectly until much later when something reminds you of how he once announced he would love you "two-ever" instead of forever. When one night you are cuddled on his bed and he's reading a book to you that you vividly remember reading to him over and over, the passage of time sucker punches you in the gut. One day you are leading him into preschool, dreading the few hours he's away, and then another day you're watching him board the bus for third grade. It's definitely a strange thing to watch your kids grow up.

I'm far too sentimental for motherhood, I think. Some parents celebrate milestones with much more excitement than me. I'm more of the sad reminiscing type--pull out the scrapbooks and pour over the teeny tiny version of my children, trying to pinpoint when exactly they changed. So when the realization hit me that my oldest has one year left in the single digits, I instantly teared up. How can that be? Wasn't he just a toddler pushing tractors around on the deck yesterday? I swear I see that version of him so distinctly it must be true. But, nope, he's a gangly preteen prone to moody attitudes. The proof is in the 'tude.

Spencer turned 9 yesterday. It's done. He's one year closer to being full grown. And although this makes me insanely happy, it also makes me a bit sad as well. He still crawls into my lap sometimes to snuggle, not often since he's never been the affectionate type, but I like to pretend he still fits all curled up like another version of himself once did. Instead his limbs hang off and his bony butt bites into my thigh and his head sits up too high, where it once fit so snugly under my chin.

His 9 year old smile shows hints of his toddler one, but now the front teeth are bigger and sit awkwardly in his mouth. His once curly hair is now bone straight, sticking up in odd spots on his head. The other day I discovered him in the bathroom with a scissors in his hand, trying to hide the evidence in the sink. He had cut chunks off his bangs. Behaviors like this remind me he is indeed still little. And I'm definitely okay with that fact. Here's to many more years of him home with me, smothering him with my sentimentality.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

An evening on the Mississippi River

"And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the wind longs to play with your hair."
-Kahlil Gibran

A long standing tradition of ours that dates back to pre-marriage is to spend an evening on the river. It has taken on different shapes as the years have passed and our family has grown. We no longer plant our butts in the sand with an alcoholic beverage and watch as the sun makes it's journey down the skyline. Instead we chase after little bodies crusted with sand as they dash in and out of the water. We rarely make it to see the sunset these days; we race to beat it home for bedtime. Our river evenings might look a bit different, but they carry the same feelings of carefree indulgence. Some summers we only make it out once, maybe twice, but it's always a highly anticipated occasion.

Last week we finally got out for our first river trip of the year. Flooding caused the river to rise too high for our comfort, plus busy schedules kept our calendar pretty packed. Our late season visit was completely worth it, even when the brewing storm sent us home early.

The kids climbed the gigantic sand mountain and flew down it, over and over. They splashed in the water, allowing the strong current to float them down to their waiting father, who stood guard and directed them back up shore. We stuffed our faces with pizza and breadsticks, our river dish of choice. Then we packed up and returned home, waiting until another occasion arises for us to return.