Everyday adventures

The Graduate

June 03, 2013

Whew. We did it. It took all three of us, but we got him through the public school system. He graduated (with honors, even). Congratulations, Nick! On to the next adventure.


The Big One-Eight

August 31, 2012

My baby turns 18 today. I do not know how that is even possible.

Last night I spent some sweet hours looking through our family photos. All those trips to the park and the beach and the zoo, all those family get-togethers and vacations. (All those regrettable wardrobe choices as well as fluctuating weights and hair lengths…) How nice that only the good times live in our photos and I do not have visual reminders of the blown-out diapers, the sleepless nights, the battles over food and chores and homework (though, clearly, I remember them).

I didn’t find being a mother to be particularly easy or “natural.” The first year of our son Nick’s life was pretty hard on me. I went from working full time in our insurance agency with my husband to staying home full time with an infant who did not sleep well and wouldn’t take a bottle even of breast milk. My in-laws, who lived nearby, worked full time. My mom and stepmom in California also worked full time. We hadn’t been in Florida that long so I didn’t have a circle of friends to rely on for support, advice and commiseration. My closest friend had a three-month-old and lived more than an hour away. Nick was delivered by C-section, and just when I began to recover from that, I began having gall bladder attacks and had to have that organ removed when Nick was four months old. My husband, who was now running the agency without me, spent most of his time at the office and even when he was at home, he was emotionally drained. An organization called FEMALE (Formerly Employed Mothers at the Leading Edge), now known as Mothers & More, came to my rescue with chapter meetings (without kids) playgroups, outings with kids and mom’s night out activities. I met two of my closest friends through this group and we are still friends, all these years later (one of them is the Mary who took me to the winery a couple of weeks ago).

Despite that rough start, we eventually worked our way into being a family. And I have photographic proof that we’ve had a pretty good life. I’d like to share a few of the photos I found last night. The first was taken shortly after Nick was born:

Poor woman. Doesn't know what she's in for.
This is one of my all-time favorite photos. I was finally through that horrible, hard first year, and Nick and I had forged a close bond.

This photo captures one of my happiest memories. Nick had been given a child’s camera that took photos with 35mm film. One afternoon, we both took our cameras out on our nature trail to take pictures of what interested us. (Note the manly work boots and the walking stick.) I did have his photos developed, and I wonder if he has any of them still?

You’ve seen many photos of Scout on this blog. Here’s the first one I ever took of her. We always tell people that Scout chose Nick. My husband and I had chosen a puppy other than Scout from the litter, but when we came to take our chosen puppy home, this little black and white puppy would not stop following Nick around. He already liked her best from our first visit, so we changed our minds and took the black and white one home instead. Later, when we were going through photos of our first visit to see the puppies, we found this:

Most of the other puppies are doing their own thing, while Scout is licking Nick’s face.

The adage “The days are long but the years are short” most certainly applies to children. Nick’s gone from blocks and Legos, to Xbox and Facebook. He’s 6’1” and I couldn’t rock him in my arms if I wanted to. We’re looking at colleges and talking about professions instead of checking out preschools. But he’s still my baby, and always will be.

Even though he’s turning 18, Nick is still in high school, so I have a little more time to adjust to his newfound “manhood.” I can’t express in words how much, how fiercely I love him and how proud I am of him as he grows up and begins to make his way in the world. I can’t think of a more exciting, scary, rewarding everyday adventure than being his mom.

Happy birthday, Nick!