Take this picture for instance:
This is Claire at eleven-and-a-half.
I love that face.
It has a little bit of mysterious confidence mixed with a little bit of mischief. But only words can remind me how she always has a deep question for me (mostly spiritually based), is a pleaser, and how she endlessly daydreams about her future children (just like I did when I was her age).
That’s why I love keeping up on this blog. I want the words along with the pictures.
With all the commotion surrounding our homecoming from our semester in China (we arrived back in the states on December 23rd), I never did that annual “snapshot” post.
If I had, it would have included things like how Dave and I looked at each other every single day with stars in our eyes about how grateful we were for this home we built right before we left, and how even more grateful we were that we were able to leave it (in great hands) for a pretty life-changing amazing experience on the other side of the world.
It would have talked about how Max and Elle were pretty much in seventh heaven surrounded by hundreds of friends again in such a comfortable place, but somehow gained a confidence from their China experience I hadn’t seen in them before.
How I worried endlessly that all their credits would transfer correctly from their Chinese high school so that Max could graduate, how Grace and Claire moved seamlessly back into tumbling and neighborhood bike-riding, and how we tried to have me be their piano teacher but ended with a big fail on that little idea.
I would have talked about how I worked hard to keep the pace slowed down around here…I didn’t sign the kids up for much, we just basked in the revolving door of friends and family who live in close proximity. How I worked to “enjoy” and live in the present.
Dave and I got to go on lots of “dates” as we jumped from one game to the next with the biggest smiles…we got to watch our favorite sports with our kids right in the middle of the action.
Yes, I skipped out on the “snapshot” at the beginning of 2015, but I decided I better get in gear to freeze time before Max left. Not only did I bite the bullet and get some professional family photos taken, but also recorded in words how our family worked the last couple months we were all under one roof.
We went to this great studio with such a talented photographer we loved (I talked a little bit about it back here). She concentrated solely on capturing our family as requested by me. I’m kicking myself I didn’t have her do individual pictures of the kids too, but I did try while they were still all dressed up after the shoot, so I’ll mingle those snapshots on in with the “snapshot words.”
He’s still at the stage where he thinks it’s so awesome that he can grow “scruff” on his face and he made me so mad he didn’t shave it for the family pictures, gosh darn that kid.
I am hanging on to him for dear life because I know how things will change in a month when he’s gone. Our family will always be a family, of course, but it will change. He won’t be walking in late at night after begging for a few more minutes out with his friends. We won’t hear his door creak closed as he heads to bed (we need some WD40), his fan get turned on, his teeth brushed. Our little hallway we share with him will echo with the “missing” of him.
Claire always comes up with some creative kind of hairstyle to have me experiment with, and Lucy doesn’t usually give a care. And often works on homework while we whip that hair into shape.
Although Grace is loving school she has a ton of homework. Always. So she puts in some late nights. It doesn’t help that she has two hours of practice for cheer every single day after school, but she pulls it all off with flying colors.
Thanks Claire 🙂
There we go, Fall 2015 in a nutshell. Right before we shipped our son off to college and he got his mission call to leave us for even longer.
But I’m here to update that we are all surviving just fine. Sure we miss that kid like nobody’s business, but it is pretty fun to watch him grow and blossom so much up there where the leaves are turning and he’s surrounded every minute by a mixture of studying and entertaining and inspiring kids.
I can even go in his bedroom now without bawling 🙂