I love how the simplest things in life give you pleasure! It's something we can all take away from children as adults and learn how to be happy with what we already have!
So, we went on vacation to Maui, Hawaii. We stayed at a resort that had a putting green, pool and shuffle board. The ocean was right next to the property. Out of the entire vacation you thought the putting green and shuffle board were the most exciting parts of our trip and that's ok! Some days that actually made our trip easier, especially when you were really tired.
My favorite day of our trip was actually watching you play with Dad on the putting green in the rain. It was pouring that day, but you didn't care. You both took off your shoes and played in the grass. That's the beauty of Hawaii though, it'll be pouring rain, but it's still warm enough outside to be in bare feet and shorts.
Watching you play with Dad was so inspiring! You were having the best time of your short life. Screaming and yelling and blocking Dad's ball from getting in the hole. So many of the other residents were watching from their lanai's laughing and having a good time with you! Many stopped to tell us that they were living vicariously through you and it made them happy to see you giggling.
I have learned a lot from traveling with you, that vacation is not all about seeing and doing as much as you can. It's about just enjoying the little things and spending time with one another, when we are usually rushing through the daily grind at home.
It's almost the end of the year and I am organizing, cleaning up and making my office ready for 2019. This means I am going through my library of pictures from sessions and photos of my family. I sometimes make a yearbook of all my family photos or post them in a blog post, but this year is a little different. I decided to just choose four photos that I thought represented my son best this year and write another letter to my son for the yearbook.
Dear Little Man,
You seriously love water, even in the freezing cold if there is a bucket of water you play in it. By some magical power you are drawn to it and always seem to find a puddle, a bucket, a fountain or a lake. However, my fondest memory of you with water is in Gi's backyard. For some unknown reason you wanted to sit in the five gallon bucket full of water and call it your hot tub, even though you've never been in a hot tub or even seen one for that matter. Of course, you had to be naked, no swim shorts or top.
I am going to be sad that you will not be able to do this next year. You barely fit it in this year. Every time we went over to their house this summer this is what you wanted to do. You even made your own bubbles for your hot tub a couple of times laughing as they rose up to pop at the surface spraying drops of water in your face. You also loved to transfer water from one bucket to the other. Drinking it as you went even though it was full of grass and pieces of bark. You often offered a drink to me, but the grass, bark and hot tub bubbles weren't very appealing to me.
You are as cute as a ladybug You’re also obsessed with ladybugs. During the spring and the early summer months you absolutely love to hunt for them. We have spent hours looking and you can spot them feet away. It’s so amazing to watch your face light up with joy when you see one. You yell at me “Mom, there’s a ladybug, come look!” You are not afraid to let it crawl on your finger, on your shirt, even your head. You love them! You love to set them free!
Whenever we are at Green Acres I have to get you a tub full of ladybugs, three hundred to be exact. You’ll carry them and look at them all the way home to Placerville. When we get home to open them it’s like Christmas all over again. You’re so excited to open them up. You love to watch the thirty or so fly away when we first open them. You’re fascinated by them for hours until every single last one has found a new home in our yard. I will never forget our time spent with the ladybugs and I hope you never do too.
To my son:
Every moment of every day I spend trying to figure out how to provide the best possible education for you. I'm not just talking about the best school to go to, but learning about life in general. There's so much pressure to be a certain type of mom, even from other moms. Why aren't you enrolling him in preschool? Why wouldn't you want to live in a neighborhood with other kids? How does he not know what bubblegum is? He doesn't have dessert every night? These are the questions I get asked all the time and I hope one day you'll understand why I am raising you the way that I am.
When I see you outside in nature you thrive and you are happy. You love to explore and you're not afraid of getting your hands dirty. You love to find ladybugs, gather the chicken eggs and eat fish from the ocean. I want you to understand and appreciate the natural world. I don't want you to just learn your shapes and letters. I want you to know the bigger picture, how the world operates around you and to experience it first hand. I want you to be able to just play as long as possible and I want to experience those firsts with you. Because I know one day you'll be in school every day experiencing so much without me.
Most of all I don't want you to be afraid of doing something. I don't want you to think that bugs are icky. I want you to understand where your food comes from and it's not from the grocery store. I want you to dig in the dirt and know that everything can be washed. I just want you to feel independent and capable of anything, that's why we live in a place that has so much room for you to explore on your own. It's why we take you to lakes, rivers and go on hikes. It's why we are teaching you to fish at 3. We can still understand numbers by counting bugs. We can still play with other kids at parks. Honestly, I just don't think kids should be having bubblegum at 3 and if I had dessert available every night I would just get fat. No matter what other moms think or say or question I know I am doing what's right for you. I know that you are thriving in the setting I have provided for you no matter how many times I doubt myself. So the only thing that I need to do now is grab my camera and make sure you remember everything.
In light of the recent holiday, I wanted to write something more meaningful about the 4th of July that I think about when celebrating with family. I think of one word that holds the most significance to me about being an American and that word is choice. Being an american means having a choice. A choice to pursue what I want to do in life, what I want to say, how I want to feel, what I want to believe and be able to live in a place that let's my son have that same choice.
There are all kinds of people who will try to stomp on your choice and to tell you it's wrong. They will try to influence your choice or even try to make the choice for you with the use of force. Ultimately it doesn't matter because you are the one in control of your own mind. You ultimately make the choice to be influenced or not.
Choice is our most powerful tool as an American and as a parent. It fuels the idea of the American dream, something that I want my son to know and to know that he can make the choice to pursue the life he wants. It's why many outside of the United States come here to give their family that same choice and it's the reason I celebrate Independence Day.
Tell me why do you celebrate? What is it about this holiday that makes it special for you?