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at age 6

This is my daughter reading a note my grandmother wrote me when i was 6 years old. This note is so simple but I don’t remember being 6. I guess I maybe didn’t eat my lunch a lot? I assume she put this in the mail and sent it. Who sends that much mail these days? I do…and probably because of how I was raised and the effect the written word still has.

My daughter is now 6 years old. This is so beautiful to me. That she can read. And just the synergy.

My grandmother was one of my favorite (and best) people on this planet. I only had her for 10 years. Exactly 10 years from the day of my birth. But man, what memories she made in that time. Popcorn balls, defending my excessive use of paper to write and record basketball stats. She was in an adult beauty contest (and I think she won).

COVID TIMES

I have tried to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) about this so many ties over the past few weeks. I guess we now have hit the 8 week mark. It’s been about 50ish days since Tennessee started to shut down, which started with my daughter;s school closing for a deep clean long weekend and my wife’s high school musical almost being canceled on opening night. This has now turned into the shortest kindergarten year ever and the longest summer vacation – oh please let there be school in the fall.

This disease sucks. People dying sucks. People dying in the manner this disease kills them sounds dreadful. I am extremely happy that no one I know has officially tested positive and that they are all pretty smart people who follow the guidelines laid out and do the right things. I can’t imagine losing a single one of them – family member, friend, co-worker, mailman, pizza delivery driver, and hated former co-workers.

All this to say…I am struck by some of the more beautiful things that have come out of this. I have seen more people out and about in the neighborhood than ever before. I’ve found some interesting conversation with people when my kids and I go for a walk – maybe because people are so excited to talk to anyone other than their spouse (or themselves). But if this pandemic increases community, that may be a silver lining.

I have always been active with my kids and gone outside to play with them. But now it’s a MUST as I work from home and my upstairs “office” 5 days a week. I’m like a kid in a candy store when the clock hits 4 (or whenever I get “off”) and we get to go outside. Even during a rainy day last week, I got chairs out to sit in the garage and play with the toys in there but I forgot they are kids. And kids love to play in the rain (it wasn’t pouring) so they still got to play outside. And because we are all home earlier than on a work day and the days are getting longer and the commute isn’t sucking the life out of us, we have that much more energy.

One thing that I’ve appreciated is getting to pull out ALL the toys we have and actually use them. My sister in law got me this bottle rocket about 2 or 3 years ago. I just hadn’t pulled it out – didn’t have the time, needed to research, needed to make sure we had a big enough room to not blow out a neighbor’s window. Well…COVID gave me time to research. So one day, we busted the sucker out and the kids LOVED it…heck, I think I loved it more just seeing how it worked (the kids didn’t care for my explanation on water and air and pressure. They just wanted me to pump it up and do it again). We’ve busted out the bubble machines and chalk and the busy board and the balance beam and my little homemade PVC pipe car wash (which injured kid 1 and has to be redesigned). We’ve used the things we actually have around the house.

One thing about this stay-at-home order and the response to it has kinda perplexed me. I am definitely not the social butterfly type but the family and I are rarely bored on a weekend or time off. This area has a ton of things going on: there are touch-a-trucks and food truck festivals and indoor play places, climbing gyms, parks, etc. That’s not even counting the kids regularly scheduled activities like gymnastics and dance – or the birthday parties.  I love my house and being at home – but I also love getting to show the kids the world, especially if they can meet up with a friend along the way.

All this to say, as adults we spend most of our waking hours during the week at work. We rarely get to spend time at the house that we put so much of our energy into. The house that we CHOSE to live in. In the area we CHOSE to live in. I get that we can’t all afford our dreams houses but you can turn even a tent into something that is yours. Sure, I am noticing that the kids rooms are about 50 sq ft too small and the lack of a pantry is killing us, especially when we are doing less shopping trips and stocking up to keep ourselves safe. But I get to look at the beautiful pictures and canvas prints of my family that I hung on the wall or take a little extra time at lunch “break” to spackle a few holes in the wall I never “had time for”.  This house is far from perfect or even ideal for the 4 of us but it’s home and staying home is nothing to argue or whine about. 

I am not a glass half-full person by any means. I probably fall more on the other side. But there is beauty in what is happening and I am so curious to see what happens on the other side. Some things may be better off not returning to normal.

Emerson sayings (age 6)

First…so strange to have a SIX year old. Where has the time gone? She’s understanding the world so much – and in such different ways than us old folks see it.

Here’s a few gems of late

“The older I get, the more interesting I get” (i think she meant to say intereted)

Scene:
We see a girl who is in a wheelchair
Dad: What do you think about that?
E: I wish I could be in that wheelchair

“Can you volume it up/down” – Turn the volume up or down on the TV.

“I’m getting into new stuff. I think I know wat’s happening”

“He could get it” – singing a line from Mom’s past musical “Bring It On” – Dad does NOT approve

“I think i’m getting out of LOLs and into mermaids and magazines”

“I like to recycle” – this is what she calls using the backspace key on words when she writes in Notepad.

Clean Shaven

Lincoln definitely has a thing with touch. He has to touch every surface he walks by and he’ll sometimes pet me and Becky.

He has been a bit of a demon about going to sleep at bedtime so one night, instead of sending him back to bed for the 14th time, I let him watch me shave. He was full of questions and just chatting away.

A few days later, while we were reading a book, my face grazed up against his. The stubble must have felt kinda neat because he just started starting in my eyes and rubbing my face. Over and over and saying “Daddy, you sooo smooth” (you have to imagine it in his voice).

It’s just the cutest thing…and it means so much to me because of this story….

My Dad was not around when I was supposed to learn how to shave. I hadn’t yet met the friends whose Dad’s would become surrogates to me and help make me into who I am today. It was mostly just me, my sister and my Mom. 

Freshman year of high school was tough. I went to Germantown schools all of my life but high school brought together kids from different middle schools. The social statuses of kids with fancy houses and those with less fancy houses were starting. And because we lived out of district, I could no longer ride the bus. 

Around this time, i started to grow facial hair. Teenage boys think their facial hair is cool. No matter how awful it looks. Peach fuzz that doesn’t quite grow in right or in full.

I…..had my first hairs grown on my cheeks. Big curly hairs on my cheek. I had a littttle goatee (that I was super proud of) And then whiskers.

Looking back at pictures makes me almost shudder. A Dad would have told me gently to cut it off. Or how to shave. I don’t remember anyone making fun of me for it. My Mom (or Grand-dad or Uncle) probably told me something in such a way that I got a razor and cut it. But it’s one of the many things about not having a main male figure during those last formative years that I think define so much of the younger generation.

But it will not affect my son…

More Lincoln Sayings…

1)

Sometimes, Lincoln sounds like a kid whose learning how to speak English. One of my favorite recent things – he repeats words in sentences.

Example. Daddy, I accidentally did XYZ on accident

But even better is when he betrays himself.
Example: Daddy, I accidentally did XYZ on purpose.

Almost hard to get mad at….almost 🙂

2)

He still gets the meaning of certain phrases backwards. He asks for the car window to be rolled up (when he really wants it down)

He also uses “un” in the wrong setting. he wants to play unfreeze tag. If he wants a show restarted after taking a break, he’ll ask for it to be unpaused. Every dang time. Cracks us all up and just adds to this little dude’s charm.

Sparkle Lucy Williams

We are officially a pet family (no, I will never call us a family of 5). Sparkle is Emerson’s first pet, a Galaxy Koi Male fish. We got her for her upcoming 6th birthday and kinda sped up the timeline a bit with this extended now 3 week spring break thanks to COVID-19.

Seeing her face light up when she first saw it…priceless. She was jumping up and down and had to share him with Lincoln. She called me  “the best daddy”. About the best reaction I could have asked for. She’s already checked on him before her own bedtime and gave him his first meal of pellets. I’m going to get her a little magnifying glass because even with her head pressed up against the glass, she can’t “see him close enough” 🙂 

Side note: thank god for all the technology in the world today. I can set Alexa to remind me to change the water and  feed the dang thing.

Welcome to the family, Sparkle!

Tacos?!?

When I’m being silly with the kids, I often use the word “tacos”.

Like “Lincoln, if you don’t clean up your toys, I’m gonna put your cars into some tacos”

Or “Emerson, get your flash cards or I’m going to make you sit on some “tacos”.

I don’t know why I do it. I don’t necessarily love tacos more than any other food. It’s just…what I chose.

Do you have anything weird like that that you do with your own kids?

39+1

The calendar of life flipped today and I went from a certain age to a certain age that might equal 4 x 10. I have not necessarily been looking forward to this day – being the center of attention isn’t really my thing anymore and it’s just such a BIG milestone. I’ve accomplished more with my life than I ever could have imagined sitting in my bedroom at Hallshire Drive I have had more joyous moments and laughter than I probably deserve and memories to last a lifetime if I stopped making them today.

My wife and kids always make everything so special. Just that they exist in this world…and that they love. They LOVE and have such beautiful hearts. I may be the head of household and the wearer of the pants and the spiritual leader but they fill me with such…peace. Peace isn’t probably a strong enough word. They fill my cup…my days, my nights, my life. I always said jokingly that I wanted to have kids so someone would finish a game of Monopoly with me (because they;d have to). I’m not everyone’s cup of tea but I am theirs and they are mine. I am loved and I can give love.

So back to 40…I love numbers and I take things in chunks. 10 years ago…I was unmarried and had no kids. Engagement was a thought on my mind but I couldn’t have imagined having kids as cool and unique as E and L. And now I have a KINDERGARTENER who is smart as a whip.

Thankful…and blessed….

-Brian W