Tag Archives: growing up

More Firsts for W

8 Sep

First liquor store run. Isn’t there a joke about a pregnant lady and her young kid walking in to a liquor store? Maybe it isn’t a funny one…

I was worried they wouldn’t let kids in, but heck, they have carts for the young’uns. I love our local stores!

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Clearly up to no good. Helping me pick out the good stuff (Wicked Weed Brew, Oregon Pinot Noirs, and Kentucky Bourbon) for Daddy’s birthday party.

First science experiment! Homeschool has started.

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He loved it and followed directions well.

First bonfire!

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First roasted marshmallow. Daddy and I got lucky and he didn’t want his s’more. He just wanted the graham cracker. It was s’more for us!

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I love all these firsts. Can’t wait for more, and more with #2 in the pictures too! Though I just realized, Walter did get to experience a bonfire before. I know they cooked hot dogs, but did they roast marshmallows? He and his daddy went camping a while ago in Mimi and Pop’s back yard (before we lived there), which resulted in them coming home at midnight to get W to bed. We haven’t tried again so far, but there will be back yard camping at our house sometime soon. And then eventually out in the deeper wild of course. A long time ago I nannied for a family that camped with their 6 month old and two year old. Now they live out West and camp all the time in amazingly beautiful country. Clearly I need to get a move on if we’re going to become expert nature enthusiasts. I just wish there weren’t so many mosquitoes out there too. We’ll have to go somewhere bats also like to live, I suppose.

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A year ago. My, how time flies.

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Jolly July

22 Jul

Because of the stair refinishing at our house, we’ve been at my in-laws for a week. It is kind of like a vacation because they have a very nice house with a pool. We’ve never stayed this long with them before, as we live in the same city, so it was a treat to be with family for an extended period of time. And the house was full! Walt’s great-granny and cousin were also with us for most of the time.

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Amazing woman.

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They love their Mimi!

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Lego peace treaty negotiations.

All of a sudden, everyone left. Granny and the cousin went back home, and Walt’s grandparents went up to their annual airshow in Oshkosh (Mimi is a pilot). But we haven’t been too sad. Last night Dave got home early so we all went swimming in the spa, which brought back my early memories of learning to swim in my parents’ spa in California when I was three. The night before, as the sun was setting and a summer storm was brewing in the distance, we played catch with the dog amid fireflies. And luckily they get their yard sprayed so there were no mosquitoes to contend with. Both were beautiful moments in time. And the boys have been playing the piano every night, which I love. I am becoming more aware that Walter’s first memories could happen any day now, and I want them to be good!

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He told us he wanted to sing the song by himself. I love his independence.

The Party

7 Mar

Last Sunday we went to an old friend’s wedding kick-off event. It was a small group of really cool people our age, hosted by a really cool group of adults our parents’ age that all live in Ansley Park. We hired a babysitter for the night, a very sweet girl who lives literally across the street from us. This was the second time Walter has had a paid babysitter (besides preschool), and I have to say, it makes me feel like a grown up. Even though I haven’t babysat since Walter was born, it is an weird feeling to pay someone to do what you used to do for money.

Being around lots of other happy couples (mostly other couples had been invited) made me terribly glad that David has loved me so long. 6 1/2 years so far. It is incredibly powerful to know that someone has chosen to love you through thick and thin, no matter what, and then live up to that challenge. He’s from the hill people of Scotland. He sticks around and puts up a fight.

My only other relationship that has lasted longer than with my husband — besides with my parents and siblings and a few school friends — is with my cell phone number. I’m pretty sure I could make a legal case if someone tried to take that number from me. You’ve been able to reach me at that number since I was 16 — when I got my first cell phone. Man was that thing a giant, and all it did was call and text. I miss that.

For a while we had a second phone line growing up. It ran into the guest bedroom and was somewhat my dad’s number, but we all used it. One night as we were eating dinner, we let the machine pick up, and we heard “Hello, hello, are you there?” in what we thought was my late grandmother’s voice. Caller ID: unknown number.

I was chatting with a new friend at the party, and he was talking about how he had known his girlfriend since they were ten, but they just recently started dating. But the best part for him was that since they had known each other for so long, they didn’t have to get past the “representative”. He said something like, “That’s the worst part of dating. For the first couple months you meet someone’s representative, and then you finally get to know them.” And while I instantaneously thought that was true, I also realized that I think that’s what I’ve been doing for myself lately. Getting rid of my own representative. It’s as if a filter is shedding, and I am becoming free.

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Polaroids rock. So does this group of awesomeness. These guys have been friends since they were Walter’s age. And they have great arm candy now too.

And speaking of people that are awesome, have I mentioned lately how much I love Walter? Every day is an brand new experience of love like I never thought it could be. He’s absolutely my favorite person in all the world.

Preschool Portrait

29 Oct

Every day with a toddler that is exploding with new abilities and language is amazing. Today was no exception (and it’s still before noon!).

This morning Walter spoke his first long sentence (that I could understand):

“No mama, this is mine.”

Uh oh. I think I’m going to be in trouble for the next year — or more.

And we got his first school portrait back. There were two poses, neither of which were super flattering, but at least he was sitting still. The one I bought was the goofy one. The other one he looks so serious and unhappy I couldn’t bring myself to spend the extra $22 on it.

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I love this boy!!!

What we must love

5 Sep

“We must love the things we’ve been given,”¬† my grandmother said to me on her 91st birthday.

It really struck me when my grandma told me that last week. We were talking about my son and our new dog and how awesome they both are.

I immediately got to thinking, while I may have some control over the genes I have and pick in my mate, plus the way I raise my child, isn’t it really just luck that Walt’s so incredible? Hasn’t he been given to me by the grace of God?

Sure, we picked Duggy out at the shelter, but wasn’t he there waiting for us on the day we decided to go looking for a dog?

And then I started thinking about David, an incredible man, husband, and father. He picked me as much as I picked him, and wasn’t that a gift given to us by the universe? Why would I think I really had anything to do with it — except to be grateful and show my appreciation so these gifts stick around and continue to be good?

There is both greatness and folly in the American dream. We are told that we can get whatever we want as long as we work hard enough (or don’t get caught stealing). Wanting is a sign of good health, but when is it enough? When do we have enough to be satisfied, to deem that our life is a good, happy one? We can so easily get stuck going round and round the consumerism/technology/ambition carousel, where do we find the peace?

I liked the simplicity of what my grandmother said. I liked that she said “what we’re given,” not “what we have.” Because honestly, is anything ours in this world, including our own lives, when at any minute it all could change?

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Lots of sweet boys in this house.

The Growing Boy

20 Dec

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Yogurt face.

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Look, mama, my stroller spins!

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I love the fireplace. Especially when there’s a fire.

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I’m sweet to the kitty!

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Yes, I know how to turn on the computer (and browse the internet). Mama’s just glad I haven’t accidentally bought anything yet like international tickets to somewhere she doesn’t want to go.

Memories of a little girl

20 Sep

me at 3

My memories go as far back as age 3, but I started remembering my thoughts at age 6. My first distinct thought memory is walking into our country club with my dad, talking about how the Olympics would come to Atlanta when I was 12, and just knowing that it would never happen because that was double my life lived so far. And here we are, 18 years after that, and I’m not sure the person inside my head has changed very much. Since then my perception of things has changed¬† (I’m taller), as has my knowledge (I’ve read more), but I am generally the same girl with the same thoughts. I’m just supposed to act now like I’m 29, not 6. It gets easier to do as time goes by.

Just like it’s hard to tell an almost-mother what it’s going to really be like when her baby gets here, you can’t go around telling people and expecting them to listen: “Hey, years will pass and you will live your life regardless but you might come to a day when you realize you made a mistake 15 years ago and there is nothing you can do about it now, because this is it. This is life. You only get this one chance (supposedly).” I think this is how mid-life crises happen. Or those pesky quarter-life crises. Or depression any time.

I’m finally finishing up a book on the Civil War I’m supposed to be reading with a friend but it’s taking me so long to get through it that I’m afraid he’s given up on me (I read whole other books in between sentences of the battle strategy chapters). The penultimate chapter on Lincoln is fascinating. At the age of 31 he contemplated suicide (he had always been prone to melancholia) but he didn’t do it because he thought hadn’t done anything yet that would make anyone in the world remember that he had lived. And oh what a life he had after that moment! A life that only came about because of all the moments he spent reading and making mistakes and growing up and living.

So far my greatest accomplishment is Walter, a person who will surely remember me after I am gone. We were practicing walking outside, as the weather in Atlanta is beautiful in these early autumn days, and I was thinking about how I will remember these times to share with him when he gets older and asks about what he was like as a baby, but he has another two years probably before he starts remembering anything himself. We can do the most fun and beautiful things, and it matters because it will help shape him into who he becomes, regardless of his memory.

Walt could end up with a memory more like his father’s than my faulty one. At times I can remember only the bad in my past; other times only the good. It is never a clean mix. So most of the time I try to live in the present, write down the past worth remembering, and let the rest of the energy return to the world to be used elsewhere. And when I start getting panicky that I’m not doing enough in my life, I try to remember that I still have time to become president, free a nation’s worth of enslaved people, and change the world. Or at least something similar. Maybe I’ll sew the world into a better, happier place.

Learning your own movement

30 Apr

The little boy is just about ready to crawl with some speed. I don’t really know how he’s figuring it out, but he is. He went from frog hopping his back legs with no arm movement last week to individual knee and hand movements this week. He still topples over, usually head first, fairly quickly. He likes practicing though, especially walking. He looks like a Charlie Chaplin mimic from behind with his little waggle, just with some color. And no cane or top hat.

What is it that I’m teaching him, and what is genetically ingrained in Walt? All babies first do the hand and knee rocking. They sit, they crawl, they stand up, they walk. Without much help, he’s following the instructions that billions of people laid out before him. The path of least resistance to adulthood.

I saw a man walking down the street a few days ago in what looked like ancient military garb, covered in medals. I briefly wondered if they were really his. I guess once you learn to walk, it’s important to follow your own, unique path.

 

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What I thought about this Monday.

16 Apr

I will teach my son to be kind, to be generous, and above all, to be good.

He is a sweet soul, ready to be educated in so many ways. He is happy, and he loves. I will continue giving to his natural tendencies. And as my neighbor said the other day to her young daughter, “You can be many things, but disrespectful is not one of them.”

I want Walter to grow up adding to the good in the world. He will not grow up and do something that makes strangers think, “What went wrong with this boy’s parents?” because honestly, if a person does something horrible, I look to the parents. Where were they? Were they negligent, or were they teaching their children these values? Besides the instances of true physical imbalances (whether by genetics or life choices e.g. drugs), the community in which you grow up has to teach you everything you know about morality and choices. Who else is there to lead you besides the people around you?

I will not let my son be a bully. He will not belittle women, people of other races, or anyone else. He will revere his family. My wish for him is to be like his father, fighting for the rights of himself and other people, committed to what our country stands for. Not letting the bad people get away with their actions.

In the midst of all this thinking, Mondays are my chore days. I clean the bathrooms and change the sheets, do laundry and vacuum. Of course there are always mid-week chores, but Mondays I really run around like a crazy person trying to get everything done. It is a good feeling, at the end of a busy day, to relax in a clean house.

I made dinner from a recipe my mother made up. It makes you feel like you are eating at a fancy restaurant. Fried swordfish spiced with trocomare and pepper, on top of a mixed green salad with blackberries, chunks of champagne mango, pepper, and balsamic dressing. The balsamic dressing is 1/4 cup delicious balsamic, 1/3 cup olive oil, and salt to taste.

Easy and so delicious.

I went about my day and made it to the end with all my limbs, surrounded by the people I love. I thank God that the good people in this world far outnumber the bad. But I wonder, sometimes, if humanity is intrinsically good or bad. Why is it so easy for some people to be so evil, to be so careless with other people’s lives? Or are we all good and some people turn on us, like an old, loyal dog who one day ravages his owner? I will never understand the need to harm other people. This world is so fragile, yet filled with so much, it seems sturdy. It seems like it will be here forever.

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