Halloweens

Two Thousand Thirteen.

Bubbles

Two Thousand Twelve.

Halloween

Two Thousand Eleven.

[Imagine inserted here is a picture of Alex wearing a very cute, blue, Batman costume. He is very serious. Furrowed brow. (How is it possible I don’t have one of him this year?)]

Two Thousand Ten.

Untitled

Two Thousand Nine.

Posing

Two Thousand Eight.

Halloween

Two Thousand Seven.

Happy Halloween

A Bubble

Alex has kind of grown up in a bubble. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, but it can certainly make things outside of the bubble especially hard to deal with.

Farm Trip 2014

He’s surrounded by good people. Great people. Caring, accepting, non-judgmental, to-each-their-own, people. People who love his sense of style. People who understand that his interests don’t include sports. People who give him time to open up, to talk when he’s ready (and understand that once he starts he won’t stop), and who don’t push him when his feelings are hurt. People who see him for who he is, for Alex. His family, the friendships we’ve helped him build through our friends and their kids. These people? These people have been in Alex’s bubble. These people get him and love him.

But the world may not. The world raises children to be mean. The world teaches their children that boys play with trucks and girls play with dolls, and anything outside of that is wrong. The world says, “you throw like a girl” and means it as an insult. The world says, “man-up” and means to stop being so emotional and start being stronger. The world tells their children that it’s okay to pick on another kid, or at least doesn’t actively try to prevent it. The world doesn’t teach to-each-their-own; the world teaches my-way-is-the-only-right-way.

Why is that? Why can’t the world grow up? Is it so hard to raise our children to be better than we are? We want them to have a better education, to buy a bigger house, to get better jobs. The American Dream! But apparently we don’t want to raise them to not hold our prejudices as truth. Apparently our prejudices are right and we must pass those down to our children, who can then be bullies to kids who don’t fit that perfect mold of White American Male (or whatever it may be at that time of judgement).

Farm Trip 2014

Ten Years

It has been ten years since I graduated from high school, and I spent many hours this weekend reminiscing and catching up at my reunion.

I wasn’t going to go. Weekends are notoriously too busy, and I didn’t have the strong desire to spend time with, well, basically strangers at this point.

I still keep in touch with a few people, though, and one of them is someone I have known since second grade. (A mind boggling thought as Alex is making friends and could potentially know these people for the rest of his life.) When a friend you’ve known since second grade is flying across the country for reunion? You kind of have to go.

So I went.

And ten years isn’t that much time, is it? Sure, we’ve all changed in a lot of ways: everyone had graduated from college, was working in some capacity, many were in graduate school, a few were married, and two fellow alums had babies. But then in other ways it seemed like not much had happened. We are all still young, looking relatively unscathed from life. A little gained weight here (hi! Thanks, baby!), some facial hair there, but mostly it looked like the class I graduated with a decade ago.

And it was fun. Great fun.

I’m so glad I went. I’m so glad I got over my anxiety, my fear about being judged for being a young mother, my concern that people would still be stuck in high school mode, my apprehension that the whole thing would be awkward.

Thinking about being a decade out of high school while simultaneously watching Alex as he navigates his way through first grade is something else. I have distinct memories of first grade. Most of those memories aren’t as strong as the ones I have from my time with everyone I spent the weekend with, but they are there. I remember my teacher, some students, my mom. I remember what I got in trouble for (talking, using the wrong color crayon), what I excelled at (math), and the people who began to help form who I would eventually become.

Will Alex remember this year? Will he look back at his time in first grade when he is in high school and remember struggling with spelling? Will he remember that he excelled at math? Will he remember being bored? Will this be motivating or demotivating to him as he enters tougher academics?

I know one thing for sure after spending the weekend with nearly one quarter of my graduating class: I wouldn’t change where I went to high school for anything. And I really hope Zach and I can provide the right environment for Alex as he continues through school. Perhaps one day he can go to his ten year graduation at the same place that I attend my 32nd.

Farm Trip 2014