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Finding Joy: The Spring Edition

There’s a beautiful quote about children becoming readers on the laps of their parents. But, over time I’ve come to realize they also become readers on the laps of grandparents, uncles, cousins and older brothers.

To share the love of books with my boys is one of my greatest joys. To see my nieces & nephews share their love of books with them, sets my heart a flutter as well. I catch them in the act and then I don’t walk, I run for my camera.

I hard wire these images in my brain’s long-term memory for recall when I’m feeling uncertain about so many other things.

Brother reading to brother.
Cousin reading to cousin.
Little guy with chubby fingers wrapped around an already roughed up board book saying on repeat, “baby, baby, baby” at every page.

We celebrated Jack’s 7th birthday a couple of weeks ago. We kept it small and casual, more last-minute than usual, which as you know is not normally how I roll when it comes to birthdays. I usually go for big and over the top and well thought out. Luckily, Jack’s only request for dinner was chips and jello, so he kept his birthday dinner expectations to a respectable low, as well.

Jack at 7 is all about books. He brings them in the car, reads them on his way up the stairs to the breakfast table and squints at them by the light of his tiny green book light each night after we tuck him in. If he doesn’t have a book in his hand, it’s his most recent Pokemon EX card scored on the bus or at school. He alternately carries a football or soccer ball around under his arm as a badge of honor declaring his love for two games he only recently started to love. Jack is kind and generous to his friends at school and a huge help to me with Jonah. He only occasionally rolls his eyes at me when I ask him to put his brother’s shoes on or empty the dishwasher.

I see glimpses of the 10 and 15-year-old Jack when he’s intently building with Lego or stretched out doing homework on the floor. It’s radical and fleeting and calls me to stand guard as his likes and dislikes will be tremendously different in 3 to 8 years. I suspect the appropriate parental doses of love, encouragement and discipline will shift during that time period, as well.

Happy birthday sweet boy.

Years ago, kind friends gave us a gigantic garbage bag full of baby clothes, toys and a few baby blankets. There was a simple, soft, powder blue blanket with satin edging that never got much love or attention from either Jack or Jamison. But Jonah has claimed it, constantly smoothing out its satin edge with his thumb and forefinger. And, while his cherished blue blankie and pacifier are theoretically banished to his crib during non sleeping hours, he pulls the slender blanket through the crib bars when he’s tired or upset and drags it through the house like a cape of babyhood I am nowhere near making him give up. I wish I had a cherished blue blankie to banish all my fears and insecurities.

Every place I’ve ever lived there’s always been unexpected delights to be found no matter where the location was. There was the one bedroom apartment on Main over a small sandwich shop that made the best egg salad on wheat sandwiches around. There was the second floor college house with a rooftop veranda right out my bedroom door. There was the two bedroom apartment on the west side that bragged of mostly just cheap rent. And, the same can be said of settling in to our new home as the 6 month mark approaches.

I like that there is more than one way to get home. If you’re not in a hurry and need an extra minute, take the long way. I like discovering new shadows that cascade over walls and floors like brightly lit stencils of negative space. I like that even with my back to the row of windows that line the rear of the house I can feel what the sun is up to all around me with the glow or gloom of the light. I like that open concept ranch houses allow you to have two tables to live, eat and work at. I like that clocks and pictures hung feel lighter once placed as if even they breathe a sigh of relief to be hung for the last time (at least in a long time). I like that organization doesn’t feel futile or wasted. It feels calming and controlled. I like that my mind’s eye can picture gangly teenage boys and awkward girls standing on the front porch posing for homecoming or prom pictures. And, I like that we are surrounded by mud and naked trees that have nothing but green and growth to look forward to. It’s so, so good to be home.

Happy 1st day of May friends!

xoxo Jenny