From Baby to Boy

He has shed every ounce of being a baby and is a boy.

This age of 27 months. It’s magical. It’s fabulous. It’s exasperating. It full of emotions that I forget we are capable of as humans. Yet it is raw, real, unedited and unforgettable.

Me: Have I told you today I love you?

Brady: I wuv you too.

Glenn: I love you buddy.

Brady: I wuv you daddy…Cate too

He runs with a speed that scares me daily as he bobs and weaves around our tv, past our dining room table, over the threshold to the kitchen where he halts near the edge of the counter top by our back door while his Buzz Lightyear wings stay affixed to his body. There are bruises on his legs and arms proving the pure energy he puts in to simple things like running through our house.

And while he is rough, wild and full of energy. He gets it. He understands emotion. Sure he’s got a lot of emotion. But he gets the true meaning of emotion specifically empathy and that makes my heart full.

Brady: Mama otay? (As Cate wails in the background.)

Me: I’m okay buddy. Cate’s sad but she’s just hungry.

He walks over to her. He leans down. Rubs her head and kisses it with full sound effects as he asks her is she’s okay.

Me: She’s okay buddy. She is just hungry.

Brady: No cry Cate. Milk. Cate eat milk. She sad mama.

It’s these little things make me smile.

The way his thick coarse hair, inherited from his dad, sticks up five different ways each morning when he wakes.

The dead sprint towards me when I appear at the door of his daycare room, his squeal of mommy with arms and open ready to greet me with a hug.

The rosy cheeks that let us know his poor little body is fighting yet another virus from daycare.

The way I catch him talking to her, showing her that Sophie will be her best friend.

The way he lays his head softly on Glenn’s shoulder each night as he heads to bed. He could walk up the stairs himself but insists on being carried and just for a moment I think he is a baby again.


The Time Tree

We have this maple tree in our back yard. When we moved in to our house in April of 2009, we were struck by how mature it was. How tall it was and long it’s branches were.

It’s become a symbol of time for us since we moved in.

We love it in the summer. It provides the shade that is necessary in the sweltering Chicago summers so Brady can play outside. Its long sturdy branches are strong enough to hold a swing that Brady migrates to the minute we go outside. The shade provides our back deck with a place to enjoy the cool breeze as we sit drinking beer, reading a good book and watching as Brady explores the yard.

And the colors…the tree is magical. It transforms overnight. Going from green, to gold to this beautiful red that screams fall is here. I swear it happened this weekend. One day it was gold and green and the next morning it was full of beautiful dark red leaves.

Those leaves …they have to be raked. The first fall, I distinctly remember my mama going outside and giving a landscaping company cleaning up leaves next door $50 to do ours. We had a two week old. We had a new business. We had too much on our plates to deal with the leaves.

Last year, we raked. A lot of us raked. Family came a bit early and the day of Brady’s 1st Birthday party, Glenn and I and my parents were out there raking the leaves. We did it because we had too…so people had a place to stand, kids a place to run and so that our backyard could be a social spot.

This year was different. It was about my boys and the leaves. The boys raked on Saturday and by Sunday it was like it never happened. This cycle goes on wash, lather, rinse, repeat daily for weeks. Some days we shake our heads as we walk from our garage in to our house not believing that this one tree has this many leaves and that the cycle must be repeated. Some days I watch as the wind from the east blows the leaves in to tour neighbor’s yard leaving a few less for us to rake.

But truth be told, this old tree means a lot to me. Those leaves are helping me make memories.

I watch as a two year old gets to be like dad and rake, even if he is undoing piles already created.

I capture him after he jumped in to the pile because that it what you are supposed to do.

And with every handful he scoops in to the bag, I watch as this tree symbolizes another year and time that is passing by.