At long last, I finished Evan's fourth year in review last night. As always, the pictures brought back so many wonderful memories, and I was amazed at how very much he has grown. At the same time, there is so much the pictures don't capture, though. And so...a mother's year in review....
My little monster,
This has been another incredible year, and you have taught me so very much. As I looked back over the pictures of the past year, I couldn't help but remember all of the new milestones you reached and what we have learned along the way...
You are still a builder. If it can be snapped together, stacked together, or pieced together you are on it. You discovered Legos, and in one of my proudest mommy moments, I made you a Lego mat sack. I also learned Legos have come a very long way from when I was little. We built an entire scene from the Avengers movie. I love watching you see how these things come together. I can almost see the wheels turning as you build. Sometimes, I think I may be looking into your future as an architect or engineer.
Although some things remained the same, you also had some big firsts this year. It's funny. As you grow, the firsts move from milestones (sitting up, walking, talking) to experiences. I love seeing these experiences anew through your eyes. We went fishing for the first time. We were lucky in that we found a spot where fish were plentiful, but I loved watching the thrill on your face when the fish broke the water. Even more thrilling was your first real train ride, though! We had been on a train before, but this time we actually went somewhere, Baltimore. Every time we passed another train, you would light up and yell, "Train!" Every time you could see our locomotive, you would shout, "Train!" It was a bit of a long ride with all that shouting, but I loved how you noticed the small things. Pieces of construction equipment, cows, fields. It's hard to describe, but I can still feel the mix of elation and complete tranquility. The rumbling of the train. Your chatter. It was lovely.
While we were on the train, you noticed every animal we passed. I wasn't surprised at all. You are an animal lover to your core. You are always so gentle. When we babysat some guinea pigs, you were the one who could calm them and snuggle them. You also have such a special attachment with Viv. I love looking over to see you snuggled up with her, gently patting and loving her. At these moments, I wonder if I'm looking at a future vet.
These quiet moments are so rare, though. Most of your world happens at warp speed and six million decibels. Most days, I've come to accept it. In fact, we have turned Hulk into a verb around here. You have discovered all things super hero, and Hulk is your favorite. Occasionally that means you try to Hulk Smash who knows what, and I have heard myself say, "No hulking at the table," more times than I care to remember. You are so taken with these heroes you even made a Spiderman jack-o-lantern and have moved on to the graphic novel section of the library. I have learned more about heroes and villains in the last year than I thought possible, but I love your sweet faith that good always wins and ordinary people can become super heroes. I pray you never lose that faith, and I know you will go on to do heroic things in your own way and time. Remember, sometimes being the hero means stepping forward when others draw back, sometimes it means speaking up when others are silent, and sometimes it means being silent when other are loud. Being a hero doesn't require a spider or a special suit; it requires a big heart and courage--qualities you have no shortage of, sweet boy.
When you aren't hulking, you are throwing or kicking something. In fact, our backyard has become a veritable sporting goods store with a soccer goal, baseballs tees, and a pitch back. You played soccer and baseball for the first times this year. The fall soccer season was a little rough. You weren't so sure about the competition after weeks of skill development, but by spring you got it. You charged after the ball. Next fall, you will be on your first real team, and you can't wait. While I love watching you love the game, I tend to be a nervous wreck. You hurl yourself down the field. You came home with your first black eye after a baseball practice, and you were so proud of the badge of honor. Although I smiled and said I was proud of you for getting right back out there, I wanted to scoop you up and never let you play again. I hate seeing you hurt. I know that as you keep playing, there will be more bruises, and I am bracing myself for first trips to ERs. I know they are coming. I am glad those are my worries, though, and not yours. You live life boldly. You don't hold back. Go! I will always be your biggest cheerleader, your first fan, and your medic when you need it--always. No matter what. When you hit a home run and when you strike out--in anything--I will be there, cheering and helping you back up--promise.
Your second biggest fan is your big sister. You two are still thick as thieves. You may be the little brother, but I have seen you move into the protector role this year. I have seen you put your arm around her when she is sad, and I have seen you fuss at people that you thought had wronged her. It's endearing. Heaven help the first boy that she brings home; he's going to have to make it past Daddy and you.
As sweet as you can be, you are also incredibly ornery and stubborn sometimes. When you dig in you heels, it is ugly--and occasionally loud. You have actually taken to growling when you are angry; it's simultaneously adorable and annoying. As crazy as these traits might make me sometimes, they also make laugh, and I know they will serve you well as you grow up. I do hope the growling goes away, though; it will not be adorable when you are 16.
As I'm writing, I realize the theme this year was glimpses. Glimpses into possible futures. At Aunt Shannon's wedding, I saw you in your first little tux. Be still my heart. I couldn't help but flash forward to proms and your own wedding someday. Mothering a son is so different. Daddies get to walk their daughters down aisles. Mommies don't have that ceremony. I see one of my roles as walking you down an aisle that spans years, preparing you to be the man I know you will be. You have an amazing role model in your daddy, and I know you watch his every move. You are like him in so many wonderful ways, and you make me so proud. Know that when I fuss or make you pick up your own socks for the millionth time or insist you actually set the table, it's because I know you will need these skills someday, and someone else will thank me.
More than anything, you bring me such joy. You help me see the world in a way I never have--through little boy eyes. I used to only stop for flowers; now I stop for bugs. You help me see all of life around me. I used to only listen for music; now I hear the music in trains and big trucks. I used to think peace meant tranquility; I now know peace can mean running and shouting. You have opened me up to new joy, and I know this is only the beginning.
I love with wild abandon, baby boy, and I always will.
Forever and always,