Henry Adam: Two Years



Two years ago, a tiny (well not really) little naked boy lay on my chest and I met my son. He was so sweet, soft, fresh, and cried loudly for quite a number of those first minutes. I knew him and didn’t know him at all in that moment, but I loved him instantly and held him tightly while the room buzzed around us. Henry made me a mom, he made David a dad, and he made us a family. We left the hospital a few days later excited  by and deeply frightened of the new level of responsibility that commenced. While the first days and weeks and months were a blur of diapers, nursing sessions, and naps, they were beautiful and I love looking back on those memories. I wish so often to go back to those moments to cuddle him longer and smell his newness again.

Henry is now 731 days old  (2016 is a leap year!) and each one of those days was filled with laughs, adventures, tears, and playfulness. Each day I am reminded to let things go, put down the to-do list, and to just live in the moment, to get down on the ground and dig holes with my bare hands, and to just see the world a little more lightheartedly. When I caught myself saying “don’t go into the stream with your shoes on,” I had to pause and think, does it really matter if his sneakers are wet? And let him charge into the water to play and let his toes wrinkle. The days may be long at times but the years are short and savoring Henry’s childhood is my joy. This past year has brought about tremendous growth and development in Henry’s personality! His independence is growing by leaps and bounds. He wants to dress himself, feed himself, and climb in and out and over everything. He beams with pride when he accomplishes something like finishing a puzzle and claps with glee when we tell him how proud we are of him. Yes, he has tantrums and yes there are a lot of “no’s” but these do not take away from his sweetness. They are glimpses into the young boy he is growing into and I love the many sides of him.

Talking non-stop everyday and trying to copy songs on the radio fills our car. He loves to sing along to Adele, One Call Away by Charlie Puth, and Lost Boy by Ruth B. He delights in making us laugh and tries so hard to be a little clown. He is an observer of social settings and waits to let his hair down. But, once he does, he gives of himself openly and fully. It is a trait I hope he continues to nourish. He loves his little brother and constantly asks “What Owen doing?” and rushes in to kiss him or caress his head (we are still working on sharing toys with him, haha). Before bed he sings the ABC song while snuggling his Maggie Dog and rolling back and forth under his blue crochet blanket. Trucks are probably his favorite toys. Garbage trucks, cement mixers, bulldozers, and pick-up trucks entertain him for hours. He grabs his teddy bear and dances around the house when it is family dance party time. When he spies a puzzle, he plops down and gets to work. They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach and Henry loves to eat almost anything except carbs. While he is not a fan of macaroni and cheese or pizza, he loves his broccoli, chicken, berries, avocado, steak, yogurt, fruit leather, and eggs. When he feeds me cheerios, my heart melts as we sit side by side on the couch. When I shout, “Emergency Henry a blow out,” he drops his toys and runs to grab me a diaper for Owen. He is super cautious. Little hills and slides at the playground require some handholding before he will go it alone, and he is a stroller kid preferring to lounge with his sippy cup while being pushed around.  A little chef in the making, Henry sits with me in the kitchen during dinner prep and runs away stealing a pot to “cook” up a storm in his playroom. Henry wants so badly to communicate in full and complete sentences and if a word escapes him he makes up a gibberish filler and smiles ear to ear. After naptime, he needs a snack and cuddle because he is a bit of a crank but who could say no to all of his hugs? He calls himself peanut and Owen nugget and gathers books by the armful. He could read all day long and has a bin of books for the car that he gobbles right up.

Everyone says “Oooo the terrible twos” when I say Henry’s milestone birthday is upon us, but I am not nervous for this year. I cannot wait for it! I cannot wait to watch him play more and more with David and to take little adventures with his daddy. I cannot wait for him to play with his brother and to protect him and teach him. I cannot wait to see what he finds fascinating, what he wants to do, and who he continues to become. I hope he continues to build friendships, connects with others, remains curious, playful, independent, empathetic, excited, inquisitive, and seeks love, knowledge, and experiences with others around him. I want all the good things in life for him but also know that as he continues to grow he will need to learn how to confront, cope, and rebound from the things that happen in life that aren’t so great. But being this little kiddo’s mommy is the best role in life and I am so lucky and blessed to have it. He makes David and me want to be better, stronger, and healthier so we don’t miss a beat with him. Gosh, we love him!! He is full of mischief and his side smile proves it. It is going to be quite a year this year two, terrible or not, here we come!

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happy birthday dad!

May and June are busy birthday months in my family.  No sooner have we thoroughly celebrated my brother then it is time to light the birthday candles again to celebrate dad. This year is a milestone birthday for my dad. One of those years that is both exciting and heavy. While he can at time be “bummed out” by this, it is so hard for me to comprehend that he is aging at all.  My dad is frozen in my mind at a particular age and there he remains timelessly the same to me. When I try to describe my dad the word that continuously comes to mind is selfless. Throughout my life, he has always put his family first.  He worked tirelessly to secure our happiness, health, and safety. I am incredibly lucky to have won the genetic pool and found myself in my family with my dad for a parent. Growing up with a commercial airline pilot for a father always elicits a familiar question, “Was he ever home?” And, to be honest, he was always home. He made sure to be home for every play, recital, game, and various event my brother and I had going on in our lives. He was a constant presence and I seriously cannot recall a single time wishing my dad was at some occasion.  One of my favorite childhood memories was waiting for him to come home. In our old house, we had a long entry hallway that ended in our living room. I would wait in the living room and upon hearing the key in the door, I would race top speed down the hall right into his arms shouting “Daddy’s home!” all the way there. We would hug and embrace and I would take his hat for him and we would walk together upstairs to his room where he would put down his luggage and I would place his hat on his desk. Then it was time to sit together while he ate a late dinner and we would catch up on school, friends, and general childhood gossip. We all vied for my dad’s attention from the minute he got home. One of our favorite common topics was our pets. My dad and I are animal lovers and love having a menagerie of cuddly critters at home. One afternoon we went on our unusual visit to the animal shelter to “just look” at the puppies. Once there, we browsed through the kennels to pet and cuddled the dogs until our eyes caught on the littlest puppy of them all. We knew at once we would conspire to bring him home. The little guy was named “Lucky” because my dad liked to say he was lucky he made it home to us (as in, we were both lucky mom did not freak out on us for bringing a puppy home). Lucky was estimated to grow to be 10 pounds or so according to the shelter.  But, after about two months it became clear they were very wrong. Turns out Lucky was part Doberman Pincher and part German Shepard. He was quite large at 9 months at nearly 90 pounds. My dad and I would joke that every time dad came home, the dog had doubled in size.  It is crazy to think that that time was so long ago, yet because of my dad’s love, affection, care, and constant support my childhood memories don’t feel like distant shadows.  Rather, they are bright and vibrant because he did so much to ensure that our family thrilled.  He loves us all so deeply and we are so lucky to have such a committed father. On my wedding day, he married David and I and in that moment I could not have been happier to have the two most important men in my life standing with me at the altar. My dad is my real life hero, my constant love, and the most generous, funny, and admirable father.  I just really hope he has a tremendous birthday today!

happy birthday big bro!

Today is my brother’s birthday. When we were growing up, I could always count on him to play with me even though I was five years his junior. Each summer, for two weeks, our family would trek down to Florida for a beach vacation. The only two kids within miles, we created a variety of games to entertain ourselves. Splashing around we pretended to  swim from sharks (ironic as he was in fact bit by a shark later in life), shout “marco…” “polo”…, and run top speed into the ocean. We were obsessed with digging deep holes in the sand. We could spend the entire day just digging a giant pit and pretending we were heading to China. Our giant pit once even became the nest for a sea turtle. In the afternoons, we would take a 1 mile walk to the pier and back and I would often listen as my brother and father talked about aviation. Afterwards, we’d head up to the apartment to eat sandwiches while watching Chips or the North Shore on TV. We probably watched that movie a hundred times over the summer. We bought boogie boards and tried to stand up in the waves and my bro eventually graduated to surfboards. We grew so close over those vacations. They were always the highlight of the year for me.  I had him all to myself and did not have to share him with his older friends (and potential girlfriends). We were just kids, just siblings. Now watching him become a father of his own still boggles my mind. How did we ever get old enough to have our own families? Even in this new phase of our lives he is a beautiful model of love, compassion, team work, playfulness, planning, consideration, professionalism, and integrity. I love my brother so much and I just want to wish him a very Happy Birthday today!!

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