Thursday, April 9, 2015

Why I'm Thankful for Selfies

Dear Ian,

Check the internet, M'boy.  The whole slap dang thing is full of self-posed (self-possessed?), self-taken images of people.  While not new, smart phones have made selfies the norm, for the most part due to their portability, large memory storage for tons of pics, and that snazzy little button that allows you to see the picture you are taking of yourself.

Some will argue that selfies will be the downfall of human society.  People are becoming more and more narcissistic, selfishly subjecting the world to their comings and goings, and some are even walking off cliffs while posting "YOLO!" attached to a photo of themselves.  By the way, YOLO means "you only live once."  Please dont ever utter this, son.  I will wash your mouth out with soap.  I don't really have an opinion either way as to whether or not selfies will ruin humanity, so that's neither here nor there, and the point of this post is not to condone or condemn society's love for itself, but to admit that I have taken a few myself.  And I am thankful for them.  This thankfulness is new-found, and here's why:

Photo #1 - yes, that's baby me
Today is my Grandma Davis' birthday.   You never got to meet your great-grandmother on the Davis side, and that makes me really sad.  She was an awesome lady.  I've posted a bit about her in the past; I think it's in some of the first letters I ever wrote to you, and I can only hope to do her justice when I talk to you about her - or any of your great grands - and share her memories.  I went looking for photos of her and me together today, and I was sad to only find TWO in my photo albums.  I'm sure Grandma and Papa Davis have way more, but in my books, I only had two.  Grandma and I are a lot a like; we're the family historians.  We take the pictures, but most of the time we're not in them.  And due to this, we have this situation where I can't share more of her with you, because I only have two pictures.

Photo #2
Little boy, I don't want this to be you, so enter my new love of the selfie.  Goodness, I think I just broke out in hives typing that.  But yes, I am thankful that I have the option to switch the camera angle so I can get a photo of you and me doing whatever it is we're doing.  I want to cherish those memories, and I want you to be able to look back at them.  Sure, we may look ridiculous, I may have a double chin due to the angle, and people may call us selfish, but we have captured our moments.  We made time stand still, and you will be able (thanks to the printing of these letters in books) to look back on them and tell your kids, "this is your lunatic grandmother and I when we did fill-in-the-blank."  And on that same vein, I am going to start asking others to take pictures of us.  Even though I will probably never look the way I want to look in photos, I owe them to you.  You need to be able to share your memories with the next generations of us.  Come to think of it, I am going to officially put your other family members on notice.  They will now be in photos.  I have spoken. 

I'm sure in your teenage years, you will roll your eyes, pout and begrudgingly pose with me for a snapshot.  But keep this in mind, Bear - one day, the ones we love will only be around in photos.  Smile for the dang camera.

Cheese, and I LOVE YOU!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

It's Ok To Cry

Oh good Lord.  Not yet...

Dear Ian,

That title is more for me than you.

I am reminded daily that you are growing up a whole heck of a lot faster than I personally would prefer.  Tonight, I got smacked upside the head with one more of those reminders.

Tonight was...
Kindergarten Round-Up

In the Spring, your school holds a special event for incoming K-1 kiddos.  The moms and dads hang out in the auditorium and learn the ins and outs of being a K-1 parent, while you littles head downstairs with the teachers to do activities and such.  Having been a former SAS teacher, I knew that the teachers were doing this to see how you separated from your folks, followed directions and then, with planned activities, they got a general feel on where you sorta stand as an incoming student.  

But this time, I wasn't a teacher.  I was a mommy, sitting in the back row, reading paper after paper on how to best prepare you for the adventures ahead.  I read about volunteer opportunities.  We completed a check-list together, showing your school readiness.  And then, Ms. Julie called all of you little kiddos to the front to go with the teachers.  You stood up, kissed me and your Daddy and walked away like you were born to do it.  Which, I guess you are...  But man oh man.  I don't think I was
You, Me and Daddy at your Kindergarten Round-up
ready for that.  Watching the back of you as you walked with your fellow future classmates pulled at something in my heart, and at that very moment, I wanted to cry.  Where in the world did the past five years go?!  My baby boy is a big kid.  You're an elementary school student.  And I just can't wrap my brain and heart around that fact.  On one hand, I am so proud of the young man you are becoming.  You seemed so confident as you followed the other kids.  In your eyes I could see a little apprehension as you hugged me goodbye, but you were so brave, and just seeing that made me realize even more how grown up you are becoming.  But then on the other, I still see my tiny little baby boy.  And you were SUCH a little thing.  When did it become ok for infants to go to Kindergarten?!  And will I always think of you toddling around in a diaper, or learning to eat solid food?  Or perhaps will I always think of you driving me crazy with sleep deprivation as you refused to sleep from two am to five am? 

I guess the answer to that will come with time, but know that at whatever stage, I will always be so proud of you.  And tonight was just the first step in a long line of school moments that will make me want to tear up and get all weepy.  Start buying stock in Kleenex now for graduation. 

And ps:  It didn't help that today we also got your very  last Advent school picture.  Sigh.  Nope.  Timing was just about awful.  This mommy is an emotional wreck tonight.   But it's a happy cry, and it's ok to happy cry.  Or at least that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

I love you with all of my heart,

Easter 2015 in Pictures

Dear Ian,

Sweet Bear, holidays tend to get the better of me.  I just have a hard time remembering and writing all of the details of the day, even though I am trying so hard to commit them to memory so that way I can record the memories to leave here for you.  One day, I want these letters to flood you with special moments and cherished glimpses of the time you had with family.  But, like I said, mommy's brain as of late is like a laptop browser with too many tabs open.  Thankfully, I have this magical piece of technology called my smart phone to record pictures.  Yes, I also have a ridiculously expensive DSLR, too, but the camera on my phone is always in my pocket.  I am still cataloging photos from the big camera from TWO years ago.  Lord. 

Anyway...  Here is Easter 2015 in pictures:
 To kick of the weekend of Easter fun, we first had your class egg hunt.  Wyatt from your class, and his mom, hosted the event at their house.  Here's you, Jack and Finn working on a puzzle before the hunt began.
 You and your very best school buddy, Mason, listening "intently" while Ms. Nancy went over the rules.
 Your class:  ready and raring to go.
 I succeeded in getting you to slow down for one picture.
There you go again!
 Then it was time to color eggs at home!  You don't particularly like hard boiled eggs, so Mommy is good to go when it comes to breakfasts or high protein snacks for a good long while...
 You loved making a blue and orange egg just to spite me. Antagonist.  You currently claim to be a gator fan. Sigh
 I dont have to help much anymore...
You had a lot of fun mixing and experimenting with colors.
This was taken at an egg hunt and Easter family shin-dig at Grandma and Grandpa Brooks' house.  
 Finally, it was Easter Sunday morning. After going through your basket, which contained a Mike the Knight DVD, Ninja Turtles cup, an FSU Lego man and some obligatory candy, we dressed all fancy and headed to church with Grandma and Papa.  Sadly, all of FSU decides they are Catholic on Easter and descends on our home church.  Thankfully we got to sit this year...
 Me and my Easter Bear.
 And as per tradition, after church, we MUST have donuts.  Yours was a healthy chocolate sprinkled one...
And finally, we wrapped up the day with Grandma Davis' lamb, an egg hunt, the family tradition of the Easter Bone Hunt for the dogs and the John Deere 40.  Our family is insane...

Happy Easter, Little Buddy!

I love you baskets-full!!


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Lean On Me

Dear Ian,

Perfect yoga form, with drool
You, my boy, have always had a crazy independent streak.  You like to do things at your pace, when you are dang well ready, and usually with little preamble.  You just sorta "up and go."  When you first crawled, you set the stage for how you were going to hit physical development milestones.  You were six months old when you first became mobile, and you didn't do the typical rock-back-and-forth thing.  You spent exactly one day doing the plank yoga position, and then you spent a day moving backwards.  You took a small break from mobility and movement for a bit, but then one day, you got in crawling position, looked over your shoulder at me, and took off across the living room. Walking followed the same pattern.  You took exactly one day to get the general idea, and then the next, you were strolling around here like you owned the place. 

This week you launched yourself full steam ahead into another form of mobility.  Last Christmas, well the one from 2013 anyway, you got your very own two wheeler bike!  It technically had four wheels with the training wheels on it, but you were so proud!  You had wheeled transportation!  You were only four, but you were off to the races, pedaling around the cul-de-sac, requesting me to walk with you so you could ride around the neighborhood.  You LOVED your new bike, and it was neat to see you hop on and pedal away.  Fast forward to three days ago.  We were outside playing, and I noticed that your tires on your bike were low.  I got the little air compressor out and filled them up, and while I was working on your tires, you said, "I don't think I need my training wheels anymore, Mommy."  I asked if you were sure, and you confidently responded with a "yes."  You even went and got the wrench yourself, so I did as you requested and took your training wheels off your bike. 

A few months back we tried to take your training wheels off, and it didn't really work out so hot, so I was completely prepared to have to help you get started.  To be honest, I was sorta even getting ready to put the supporting wheels back on, too.  But you, my boy, in typical Ian form, hopped on your bike and zoomed away.  You looked like you had been doing it for years.  It just amazes me how things just "click" with you.  You'll give it a try, struggle a bit, take a small break and then come back and have the problem worked out and basically mastered.  I have no idea what goes on in your little noggin during the break as you sort things out, but it just blows my mind.

 Here are a few more pictures I snagged from your inaugural two-wheeled ride:

Yes, yes.  You do have a bike helmet, and yes, you do wear it.  This very moment, we didn't have it on.
 You look so confident!
Zooming away from Mom

All of this happened right before I had to teach a lesson, so you spent the entire hour I worked with Madison doing loops around the cul-de-sac and ramping over the obnoxious curb-like lip at the ends of all of the driveways.  I was, and still am, such a proud mom.  Although, I have to admit, I was a little sad.  My boy is growing up so fast and in such leaps and bounds, and typically you follow through with these leaps and bounds all on your own.  With this one, I was sorta hoping that we'd get to help you learn this grown-up skill.  But alas; you had your own ideas, and it was still really neat to be a part of this milestone, even if I was on the sidelines.  And I am seeing a lot of this view as of late:
You, zooming away from me.

Warning: here comes the sappy part.  Next will be watching you walk away from me and into your kindergarten classroom, and then, before I can blink, I will be watching you graduate from high school.  Whoa man.  I'm going to need you slow down just a little, Baby Bear.  I don't think this Mommy's heart can handle all of this.  Part of me wants you to lean on us and need us a little more, but then I stop and think: maybe just knowing that we're there for you and supporting you gives you the confidence to move head-first into anything you decide to pursue.  That makes me feel a little better.  I think.  Or at least, that's what I am telling myself. 

You make me so very proud, and I can't wait to see what you're going to surprise me with next.  Just make sure it's not at warp speed; we'll leave that for how fast you ride your new two-wheeled bike.

I love you,