Monday, March 1, 2021

Deacon You Are S E V E N

Deacon William... you are SEVEN!!

Please note that you did not get a 6 year update. Trust me, it's not for lack of love but lack of my brain's capacity to do anything beyond what was necessary for survival. Our lives have been full and wild. We've built a house, sold a house, moved into a house, and been surviving a pandemic at home together for a year while dad goes to work everyday and we do work and school from home. It's been A LOT. It's been a lot of together, a lot of learning, a lot of growing, and a whole lot of forgiving, snuggling, and screen time. School came to a halt right after your sixth birthday and you missed out on half a year with the incredible, amazing, Mrs. Farrar. You missed your first season of Rookies (besides the one practice) and your first 'big kid' summer of camps. While there was lots that didn't happen there was sure a lot that DID! A pandemic didn't slow you down. If anything it gave you space to find out who you were in lots of new ways. 

This year you were set on ADVENTURE and moving onto some land gave you room to find lots of it. In the warm weather that adventure was mostly in the wild creature department. From catching frogs to our favorite summer morning discovery of the largest snapping turtle I have ever seen... you loved and named all of our buddies. From Jumpy the frog to Rex the snapping turtle there was never a lack of joy when a new friend joined your world. As spring approaches we are hoping that your favorite evening visitor, Fasty the rabbit, rejoins our sunset porch sitting. 

You've always loved school and all it held. While this year has not seen many days without some tears about virtual learning, I've also gotten the gift of seeing you learn first-hand. You are never short on stories or answers or connections or silly reactions. Knowing you may never sit in a 'first grade classroom' gives my heart a bit of an ache but it's also been a blessing that I'm also working from home so our days are a different kind of flow we've never had before and probably won't ever have again. 

All this together time has brought us lots of excitement and in December we welcomed a new member of Team Rut... Roxy Rye... who gives your wild a run for your money. She is cute but is teaching you a lot about cleaning up messes and being patient even when it is hard. Even though dad is still going in to work he's found time to take us on adventures that mostly surround driving to places off the beaten path, you all complaining, and then all of us have a great time. What would have been months of adventures with friends has become a year of the four of us. While we do a great job of getting on each other's nerves we all agree that we're all still our favorites. You and Aubrey have fought like I've never seen and also created secret hideouts, become expert basement roller skaters, and learned to problem solve school issues when I'm in important meetings. 

And maybe the biggest marker of all this year was your 'accidental' purchase of the first Harry Potter book on our living room Alexa. One book quickly turned into two and by December you had listened to the entire series and were nagging Aubrey and I to catch up so that we could watch the final movies. For a child who was once afraid of any music change in a cartoon that indicated tension you have become a first grader with strong feelings about evil, Voldemort, and how Luna Lovegood never gets enough attention. You even refused to read the name Tom in reading circles with Mrs. Morris as a nod to 'he who should not be named'. It's EXTRA. But you are EXTRA EXTRA with a side of EXTRA so we are just glad you found something to keep you company while we are home. Your inherited love of tie-dye has stayed strong as the curtains in your new room will attest to. You still sleep in the ODDEST positions and always have something to complain about. Your heart breaks for everyone and thing. This year there have been multiple times your dad and I have had to calm you down as you've become enraged at people's disrespect for nature and how they keep destroying trees to build all the new sub-divisions that are taking over Crozet. There have been tears about it. Lots of tears. You do everything big. You get happy big and sad big and love big and sass big. You are not afraid to say what you think and you want this world to reflect what our family values; equality, kindness, justice, and love. 

Outside of the pandemic our world did a lot of waking up (and also taking some scary steps back) to things that matter a lot to us. The BLACK LIVES MATTER movement is something we speak of often and the way systemic racism affects us all and that to you, a white cis male, benefit from the most. Our conversations about race and equality have been open and frequent. So much so that there have been times that your sweet (read: wide open) self has proclaimed in the middle of Harris Teeter that Black women are the most underpaid, undervalued, and underestimated members of our society and that 'it has to change'. Understanding the diversity of humanity matters to you and you explain what Trans means better than most adults I know and you have no issue calling people out on the fact that genitalia does not indicate gender. 

It's hard for me to believe you are an actual, real life, big kid now. I am so proud to be your mom. There are many nights your dad and I collapse on the couch after you both have gone to bed and cry-laugh at what is ahead for us. Some days you dance on tables like a drunk frat boy and others you weep in the car for the trees. Raising a YOU is making ME a better human being.

DWR... I adore you and love you MORE,


**Post Script** it is critical that for posterity this story is recorded for history. On one of the last days you had in-person school last March I picked you up from after-school where you ran out to tell me a joke:

You: Guess what?
Me: What?
You: Chicken butt. Guess why?
Me: Why?
You: CHICKEN THIGH (as you pulled an actual chicken thigh bone out of your pocket)

You did not have chicken for lunch that day. Regan did. He gave you his chicken bone. You kept it in your pocket until 4:30pm so you could tell me this joke. Well played, sir, well played. 

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Aubrey you are E I G H T

My sweet girl,

Today you turned eight.  Eight years of you. Eight years of motherhood for me.  Eight years of tucking you in and watching you grow and feeding you nutella waffles and figuring out who you are in there.  This year I have failed more times than I can count.  I've lost my cool and cried and yelled and you've learned to use all the cuss words... correctly.  I am a little proud of the swearing part but lots of the rest of it makes deeply grateful for the grace and resilience you embody.  Raising you is the most holy experience I have been given and the way it's looking... we are in this for the long haul, you and me.  While I am raising you, my girl, you are raising me.

We've already faced what feels like the world.  This last year you have shown grit... the one thing I've always wished for and hate that you have to use so much.  Sometimes parts of school are hard and even when there's extra help and you being asked to push more than other kids, you do it.  You don't cry about it, you don't complain about it, you just push.  GURL, you get shit done (since you already know all the swears, now's an appropriate time to use them).  You do what has to be done without fanfare or self pity.  It's in these moments you are raising me.  You are teaching me what it means to just do the next thing no matter how daunting or hard.  Also, you are just so damn funny.  This year you decided that you wanted a french bulldog you brought home post it notes that just said, 'french bulldog'.  Dad is still not on board but I kept some of the notes and keep them on the fridge, just to keep the message alive for him.  The universe is on your side because this year you started seeing a therapist to deal with all the BIG HARD things life has thrown at us and she just got a french bulldog puppy.  I am fairly sure you go more to hang with him than anything... thank God for good insurance.  

There is no talking about you without your brother.  This year you brought bickering to a new level.  Some days I was sad thinking maybe you would never be friends Dad and I don't know what it's like to have a sibling so close to us and now we are seeing... this is just what it's like.  Deacon started Kindergarten and you two being at the same school is magic for both my time management and your friendship.  It is impossible to ever get through breakfast because you both want to take a dance break every song but seeing that you live life having FUN is the best.

Last year you found your heart for the outdoors and this year you dove right in.  We are building a house, on a bunch of land, for YOU (and Deacon) because you are both just better at life when you can explore and roam and BE outside.  This year we hiked and we adventured and you did brave things like go to Girl Scout camp and you *almost* spent the night but a huge storm ruined your plan.  You remind me to get out of my head and get outside.  I can't wait to see the adventures ahead of you.  This summer when we met with the electrician at the new house after a big storm you and your brother found frogs, you lost your boots and sock in a huge hole, and you were happier than I've ever seen you.  You live wild, my girl, and I love it.

You've got friends.  You've grown up with them.  Lots of kids do playdates and we just hang with the people who have become our family. It's both lazy parenting and giving you a chance to have the cousins I had growing up.  It's my favorite thing in our life.  Watching you grow up with these people, seeing their parents love and support you, and seeing you all become your beautiful unique selves together is my joy.

While you and I are clones you and your dad have the same sprit.  You need downtime, you thrive in adversity, and when you love or want something you don't care how much work it takes to achieve it.  This year for the 'variety show' at school you decided performing wasn't your thing but creating a fairy house WAS.  You and dad were all in.  You two dream things up and then do them.  It's magical.

Not a year can pass when I don't remind you that Dixie WAS my dog.  Once again you two just grow closer and closer.  She sleeps with you, you take her on walks when I make excuses, she is your favorite listener, and you two are thick as thieves.  Deacon has asked for us to get another dog just so he 'gets' a dog since Dixie is so clearly yours.

This spring Aunty Courtney married Chris the Boyfriend (now Chris the Uncle).  We Disney'd, you flower girl'd and we had the best time.  It was a perfect week to be with family and run away from real life.  We rode Splash Mountain three times in a row and you ate Mickey pretzels until the sun went down.  Vacation always does good things for us.

Since these letters have become a way for me to keep record of the big things in your life I have to mention two things:

1. You can eat your bodyweight in bacon and I'm so proud.
2. You dress like a camp counselor and have your own wild style and again... I'm so proud.

There is no way to say anything about this year without talking about Tutu. Losing her last month has been the hardest thing any of us has done.  You loved her so well.  She loved you like crazy.  To the end.  No matter how bad things got you could bring a smile to her face.  You gave the end of her life... life.  I will forever be grateful for what you carried at such a young age.  I write these letters to you every year just in case, someday, my memory fades and I forever want you to know what you mean to me and the things that made up our life.  Your Tutu loved me so well.  I hope I can love and raise you even a little bit as fully and whole-heartedly as she did me.

So here's to a big year for you, my girl.  EIGHT is going to be GREAT.  We've survived some of the hardest things and I'm ready for a year where we adventure, where we grow, where we do some more figuring out of this life together. 


I love you forever and more,

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Deacon you are F I V E

Deac Man,

You are five!  A whole hand!  And just like that my baby is becoming a full blown kid.  Watching you grow up simultaneously rips my heart apart and makes me feel more whole.  This year you've solidified your spot as the up and coming extrovert (you're giving me a run for my money) and you've begun to find your place in this big big world.

You started t-ball, fell in love with t-ball, and decided that you would be a professional baseball player.  You go big, my boy.

We got to travel this year.  Virginia Beach, Asheville, Costco.  No matter where we go you find a way to fight with your sister and make everything a game.  You have the same gift I do of feeling everything SO MUCH.  Some would call us 'extra' others 'emotional' but for us it's just the way we move through this world.  At some point you will be able to harness this and own it and it will make you soft and fierce.  Right now it makes parenting you a holy mess but one we feel privileged to do with you.

You love outside; hiking, biking, exploring.  Those six and a half acres we are building on... I can't wait to see what you make there.  When you and your sister are outside it's one of the few times you don't pick each other to tears.  Outside is our jam.  You've shown up and done big things on our property; moving a rock foundation, exploring the bamboo forest, and clearing land on the tractor.  You have your dad's work ethic and it's a beautiful thing to witness.  I know so much life will happen on that land, so many firsts and lasts, so watching you make it ours makes my heart happy.

We can't talk about life lately without talking about Tutu.  This year continues to be HARD and BIG and more than your pre-school self should have to handle but you bring joy and laughter at moments that feel impossible. You love her just like she is in that moment, which is exactly what she needs.  You never hold back a hug or a game and while she has become more childlike and it hurts my heart you see it as a chance for someone to play the way you like to.  I know how much she loves you and I'm so grateful for the way you love her.

This year it was clear that you are a connector.  You have PEOPLE that have nothing to do with us. Your teachers came to your 5th birthday party.  They are THE BEST but also... only you.  Only you would have teachers crash your party because you are that loved.  It was so hard leaving the small town where I felt like SOMEBODY to come here.  And while I'll always be a Kailua Kid you are a Crozet Kid.  This small town is in your DNA.  We go places where you know more people than I do.  Being held by a community can change your life.  It gave me the confidence to go and do scary and wonderful things in my life and I believe it will give you that same gift.  You are a fierce friend.  It takes us 10 minutes to leave school everyday because you make your rounds and hug EVERY SINGLE PERSON.  You love your people so much, your friends bring you more joy that I could have hoped, and you are connected in a way that reminds me we are in the right place.  Your easy way in the world and charisma takes a lot of my mama fears away and also scares me to death... your capacity to get people on your team may mean I need lots of extra eyes on you in high school.

You've adventured, you've tie-dyed, you've sledded, and you've fallen... lots... but not matter what you do you do it with THAT FACE.  Here is just a little sampling of the many expressions you give within any day.  Welcome to the wild world, my boy, you have been given the curse of my face, whatever you feel appears directly on your mug.  No matter what, at least we know what you're thinking... there is no hiding it.

And the four of us... Team Rut... we are the four corners of one wonky square.  We fit together like an impossible puzzle.  None of us are whole without the others.  We yell and we cry and we lose our cool and go on crazy adventures and we forgive and we laugh... a lot.  As we continue to become us and you and Aubrey become your own people I am grateful every single day for this safe space to learn about love and grace and forgiveness.

We love you, our dude. This world is built for you.  You are a white man in America.  As our country continues to show it's preference for YOU we are working hard to teach you that your privilege is both undeserved and gives you power to create change.  As you walk though this world we hope that you will always make space for people whose space has been taken from them.  We pray you will be loud for justice and never turn your back to inequality.  We are trying hard to give you lots of chances to see what that looks like and surround you with people who are doing the hard work NOW and showing you that real change happens thanks to real people being real brave.

Your dad and I love you more than life.  While we parent you very differently we love you the same.  Completely.  You have buckets of other people who are behind you.  Sometimes I think you are more aware of that then most kids and it's why you are so sure of your place in the world but of all the people that love you in the world there is NO ONE who has your back like we do.  We are so glad you picked us to be your parents.

Even though I cried when I found out you were a boy I take it all back.  I was so afraid to raise a boy because I just didn't know what that looked like (as a girl raised an all female household who went to an all girls school). Little did I know that your heart would mirror mine.  I adore you, sweet boy.  The best is yet to come.

You will always and forever be my baby and I love you to the moon,