Growing Up Is Losing Some Illusions, In Order To Acquire Others

Oh, my sweet Alexander,

Today marks the day that you turn eight years old. Eight. A huge number. Two away from double digits and closer to being a teenager than I can manage to think about just yet.

DSCF0120 You are marvelous. I’m honestly not sure I tell you that enough. I’m not sure you know just how much I adore you. Just how much you are adored by me, your father, your grandparents, your fake uncles and aunts. How well liked you are by nearly every adult you meet, and how sought after you are as a playmate. We tell you, sure, but do you get it?

All children are special, and I know I’m very biased, but I honestly think that you are unique. Outside of the fact that I’m your mother and obviously think you are great, I truly believe you are spectacularly special. You are one of the most kind-hearted, sensitive, and sweet, people I’ve known. You still ask to hold my hand. Every night, I sing you a song before bed. You want kisses, hugs, and cuddles every single day, multiple times a day. You won’t let people kill bugs, you have decided you don’t want a dog (besides the fact that you are so allergic) because you don’t want to be sad when it dies, and when I so much as get a little angry at you? You get very upset, sometimes cry, and it’s not an act.

The other night, as I held your hand and rubbed your back, tucking your blankets in around you, I told you a list of things you had done that day that made me happy. We had spent the day with one of your friends, and I couldn’t help but choke up as I explained all of the things you did, how you handled yourself, that made me so proud to be your mother. You were willing to put aside what you wanted for your friend. You were willing to ask them how you could help when they got upset, kindly asking what was wrong when they started to melt down, quietly nudging them back into happiness and asking how you two could make your time together work. You were so mature and kind, and I’ve never told a story about your behavior that made me as proud or tear up as much as this one.

Last Day of First Grade!

Every year, I write you a letter on this blog. Every year, I love to talk about what you learned. You learned to walk. You learned to talk. You learned to run and throw a ball and swim. You learned to read and write and do simple math. You learned to be more independent. But this year? This year you showed me what you’ve been learning all along: how to be a good human.

Alex, you are a good human.

I couldn’t be more proud.


When you turned one!

When you turned two!

When you turned three!

When you turned four!

When you turned five!

When you turned six!

When you turned seven!

Summer Fun

This was our first summer together in many years. Alex has been going to full time care during the summer, hopping between summer camps or simply sticking with daycare. He’d loved those camps, but with me not working it was obvious that we would spend the summer together. Our first time spending all day nearly every day with one another has been pretty great, and I can’t believe that we are in the last two weeks of freedom. We are officially very close to the start of second grade.

Alex has definitely enjoyed doing absolutely nothing most days. He’s enjoyed being able to tell me that he doesn’t want to go anywhere. Every morning, I ask him what he wants to do, and nearly every day he responds, “I don’t know. Just hang out here?”

So, we do that. He has lots of screen time, jumping between video games, Minecraft, and movies, all of his very favorite activities, and I plan our upcoming trip to Europe, anxiously thinking about how to pack and what activities we will do and where we will get cash and how we will get around and and and…

We’ve also gone to the amusement park a few times, the zoo, swimming, out with friends and family, and recently spent a long weekend in The Poconos with my best friend.

Poconos Vacay 2015

There was fishing, and swimming, and, of course, lots of junk food and marshmallows over the fire.

Poconos Vacay 2015

He went to a few day camps, had an overnight at a far away camp where he slept in a cabin and went zip lining and was without family supervision. So, that was A Thing. (A Thing for his parents, not for him. He loved it and very nearly decided to go for an entire week by himself!)

This summer has flown by. It’s flown by in beautiful colors and I’m hopeful that it won’t be our last together. But even if it is? I’m glad we had it.

Pittsburgh Zoo August 2015

And now we have to work on getting back on schedule, back to the School Stuff, back to the really hard reality that is Alex hating school and barely being able to talk about it. If it were up to him, he’d have summer break forever (but only if I could bring his friends with us on most of our adventures. “You’re fun, Mom, but…I just like my friends, too!”).

Fourteen days left. Let’s make the most of it, Kiddo.

Pittsburgh Zoo August 2015

Friends and Furries

Nearly every year for the last three (four?) years, I have spent some time downtown during Anthrocon, the annual convention for furries held right here in Pittsburgh!

This year? It seemed like a good year to take Alex.

Unfortunately, our schedule was a little tight that day so we were only able to stay and Furry Hunt for about 45 minutes. We were there during the parade, this year marking the first year that the parade has been outside. (Typically, I’ve gone down with friends during the evening and basically just hung out around the main hotel chatting and taking tons of pictures.)

It was busy. SO busy. I have never seen it like this before, and while it’s a good thing for the Furries, it was a bit of a bummer for us. As nice as it was to see a huge crowd gather for the parade, I missed being able to easily see everything and everyone I wanted.

Overall, even during the short time I was there, it was so fun. I adore the Furries and I love taking their pictures.

Friends and Furries

Friends and Furries

Friends and Furries

Friends and Furries

And who doesn’t love spending time with flurries and friends?

Friends and Furries

Friends and Furries

Friends and Furries

Can’t wait to do it again next year!

Friends and Furries

And So It Begins

He’s lost his two bottom teeth already, but the loss of the top front tooth seems so big to me. He will no longer look like a little boy. The fact that he kept his baby-teeth-filled-smile until he was seven (“and a quarter!”) made me happy.

It kept him little for a little while longer.

As these new big teeth grow in, we will get our first glimpse at the person he is going to become.

And so begins a long time of funny toothless pictures!

It’s going to be awesome.

Halloween 2014

He lasted an hour this year.

Halloween 2014

That’s at least fifteen minutes longer than last year, and every year before that I’m pretty sure we made it to only a handful of houses before he declared that he was done.

Halloween 2014

When I think back to Halloween as a child, I remember staying out for every possible minute of Trick or Trick. The second we were allowed on the streets we were out there, and not until the last light went out at the farthest stretches of the street did we run home to count our candy.

Alex doesn’t need to do that. At least not yet. For now, he’s perfectly happy to spend about an hour walking around, saying “Trick or Treat!”, running back up to the same house when he realizes he forgot to say “thank you!”…

Life is good for boys named Alex.

Halloween 2014