same shirt, different day

august 2012

august 2012

beach2

august 2013

Recently, as I was looking through some photos, I found pictures from a trip to the Oregon coast we took last August.  The photo of Orlis at the top of this post caught my eye.  I remembered publishing the beach diaries shortly thereafter, and moreover, I remember those moments on the beach, snapping away at the beautiful landscape as my little almost-2-year-old ran along the beach, giggling.  I remember the chill in the air and that his too-big pants started to gather large amounts of wet sand at the cuffs, the weight of which was dragging him down.  I remember holding the simultaneous thoughts of he’s so big, and he’s so little, and wondering which of those thoughts felt most true to me.  I know those moments in the mist and the wind undoubtedly brought some tears to my eyes, as the beauty of the beach so often does.  There are truths revealed on the coast that are almost overwhelming in their clarity.

Without thinking, I snapped a similar photo during our vacation at the coast a couple of weeks ago — almost exactly a year later than the original photo.  There I was (this time, with a new baby asleep on my chest), snapping away, while my almost-3-year-old ran along the beach, giggling.  Same coast, same beautiful landscape, same chill in the air, and ha! same sweatshirt on this boy.  It’s a little smaller on him, but not much, actually.  You only really notice it in where the sleeves fall.  I noticed, in comparing the photos, that this year his feet are in the water when he’s running — just an inch or less, but the water instead of the sand.  I notice a confidence, certainly a briskness in his stride, and a determined look on his face that, now that I see it, I recognize has replaced his wide-eyed naivete.  I know that gaze.  I see, too, that he’s shucked his pants in favor of bare legs for a fuller submersion in, not only the water, but the full experience.  And I’m struck, with all that I see in these two photos of this dear, sweet boy how many ways there are to grow.  He fits into his old clothes, sure, and into his old habits too.  And yet, time passes and as his arms curl up into a running position and his legs take a stronger, braver stance in the world, I marvel at how little I have to do with any of it, and what a privilege it is to witness.  Against any landscape, we do come into our own.

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oregon coast

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The oregon coast.  There’s just nothing quite like it.  The forested walks that lead down to the beach, the miles of soft sand flanked by cresting sea on one side and creviced mountains on the other, the bending caves and nature-made kiddie pools and the thick, steamy fog that sits just overhead making a glimpse at the ocean never a sure thing.  This was our vacation week, and it was glorious.  Orlis leaped from every fallen branch, made sand castles, and ran (always giggling) ankle deep through the water.  And dear little Lenox slumbered, snoozed, and napped away to the epitome of white noise.  And we, family of four, (still getting our feet wet with this two-kid business), enjoyed small town pies and ice creams and the novelty of a woodsy cabin.  We marveled at how wonderfully relaxing (and cleansing) this kind of computer-free week can be, and also how, even on vacation, you never do get to sleep late with these munchkins.   Bleary, but still wide-eyed, we thanked our lucky stars for this magnificent setting, for the wonders of the woods, and for the endless gifts of the natural world.

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birthday boy turns 2

People keep saying, “can you believe it?  can you believe he’s 2 already?”  Well, actually, yes.  Yes, I can believe it.  In all it’s snuggly glory and moments of tedium and frustration; in all this profound, tear-jerking, laughter-and-growth-inducing, constantly changing, great big dis-organized mess of a thing called parenting, why yes, it has felt like 2 years have gone by.  In every way.  It’s no surprise at all.  I can believe how big he’s gotten.  I can believe he can talk and climb and run and sing and make a giant mess of my cupboards and drawers.  I can believe he’s saying “no” much more often than he says “yes.”  I can believe it all — I’ve been watching closely.  And as believable as it all is, it still seems like a miracle.  Not the growth so much, but the existence of him.  I know every parent feels this — how did I get so lucky?  How did I get the very best kid?  (it’s not fair to everyone else!)  Knowing how very universal these feelings are is what makes the whole thing so funny…and heart-wrenching…and, even in it’s [daily] trying moments, doable.

We took our time celebrating this little 2-year-old over the weekend, in what my mother likes to call “Mary Mulliken style.”  Indeed, Grandma was in town and we made a long weekend of it (hence my absence in this space on Monday).  We filled our wakeful hours doing all the things little O most likes to do — running along the hiking trails near the beach, collecting rocks, and playing in the sand.  We sang Happy Birthday about 100 times, and I do dare say, he gets it now.   We began our birthday morning with our year-old traditions — a small wooden candle scene, a re-visiting off On the Day You Were Born, and a brief but significant few moments wearing the birthday crown.  (My experience with my nephews leads me to believe that by the time he turns 3, he’ll be wearing that crown all day long.)  We collaborated on some cupcakes, and drew out the celebrations so that we might have one more opportunity to sing.  Oh, to hear a 2-year-old sing — it melts my heart.  Rob and I wrote growth letters to tuck into his Time Capsule for a trip down memory lane when he turns 13, and over and over again, we read Orlis’ Shutterfly-made Book of Favorites (the result of a fabric-book plan gone haywire).  My mother is right — he was duly celebrated.  And why not?

He loved it.  We loved it.  I think we’ll keep him another year.

 

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