The Boys’ Birthdays

This summer our friends invited us to tie dye shirts with them.

Note: This column was published in the Barrow Journal on August 28, 2013.

Last week my boys turned seven and four. I’m not sure where the time has gone. When I started writing this column, I was eight months pregnant with the four-year-old.  My seven-year-old was still two. I can barely remember what he was like at that age.

As I write this, my four-year-old is in the living room playing with his toy animals and dinosaurs. I hear him chattering in an unintelligible language while he pretends the animals are fighting and interacting with each other.

It wasn’t long ago that he didn’t give me any freedom. He’s a mama’s boy, and ever since he came out of the womb, he’s been trying to climb back in there. It can feel a little suffocating, but I try to give him all the affection he needs because I know this time is fleeting.  And he’s pretty cute.

My seven-year-old continues to astound me with his questions and varied interests. We have been learning about carnivorous plants and growing them too. If you asked me a year ago if carnivorous plants could grow in my yard, I would have guessed not. I’m learning quite a bit through my son’s interests.

It wasn’t long ago that the seven-year-old was a shy little boy, but now he’s grown tall, and he’s eager to join his summer camps. There’s no warming up period when we get together with our friends for play dates. He doesn’t need me by his side anymore.

He has also been more interested in using the iPad, and one of his favorite apps is Google Earth. He sits for long spells studying the globe in detail. His favorite places to visit are Mt. Everest and the beach condo we stayed at in Florida over a year ago when we took my in-laws there for their 50th anniversary. How we wish we could take him back there.

He also loves the app Solar Walk 3D which allows him to tour the solar system in great detail. This has spurred an interest in the Curiosity Rover, so we found a documentary and some library books about it. Like I said, I’m learning  a lot.

My sons are similar enough to enjoy each other’s company, yet they are very different. Sometimes they argue over a toy, and sometimes the younger pesters the older to do things he doesn’t want to do, but most of the time, they live in harmony. I hope it stays that way.

I have no idea what the future might hold for them, and as many parents do, I worry about whether I’m making the right decisions for them, but I know I can’t control everything.

I’m grateful that my natural tendency is to record history through writing and photography. As the future pulls us forward like a giant vacuum, I can look back at my photographs and the words I’ve written and know that these boys have been loved. The days didn’t go by unnoticed.

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