You didn't want to wear a tie. I could tell that even though you were a little embarrassed, however, you liked the way you looked. But you drew the line at the dress shoes Dad picked out for you. Thankfully, they didn't fit. And no one can rock Lebrons with a tie better than you.
It was the first time I think you've ever worn a tie. Or been to a sports banquet. I'm sure it won't be your last. It was a great night. You sat with your teammates at your own table and went through the buffet line without any parents. We were pretty proud. You sat quietly and respectful during the speeches and awards. And paid more attention than I realized.
I might have gotten a little irritated when you wouldn't cooperate during the team picture. But afterwards, I realized, you weren't really sure what to do, and I think I embarrassed you. I'm sorry. Sometimes I don't give you the benefit of the doubt. But I do see that you're growing up and maturing. Every day.
You still fight with your sister and tease the crap out of her. You cry when you get embarrassed or angry or really hurt (but try not to let anyone see it, except for me, you always come to me). Despite your toughness, you are sweet, sensitive, and empathetic. You're witty and goofy. And somehow, you always know the right thing to say.
On the way home from the banquet that night, you leaned over the seat and gave me a kiss and whispered, "I had a lot of fun tonight". Not as much as I did, kid.
"Dad, I don't know how to tie a tie."
You made your middle school basketball team. To say your Dad & I are proud is putting it mildly.
You made first cuts. Then second cuts. We were dying; I can't imagine how you were feeling, but you handled it well. You actually seemed pretty confident.
Final cuts were the night we were scheduled to leave for Michigan. We were picking you up from tryouts and getting right on the road. I worried that if you didn't make it, it would take some of the air out of our trip. But you came out with a big smile on your face and a sheet of paper in your hand.
You have to wear a tie on game days. Dad was happy to show you how to fix your tie and even picked out a new shirt for you.
Last night was your first game. We lost, but you had quite a fan club.
When your not doing this...
...you're usually doing this...
You're pretty attached to your phone. I'm hoping it's a phase. Mostly playing games. But there's been a lot of texting. And girls. Ugh.
You've got such a good head on your shoulders, and you've surprised me with your maturity lately. You spend a lot of time in the evenings on the Xbox (playing basketball, of course) with school friends. But I don't stress about that because you are still bringing home straight A's and enjoying school.
You are very confident in your own skin and don't really seem to care what others think.
The only time you ever get in trouble is when you forget to do something (which happens more often that not) - like when I ask you to bring your laundry downstairs and an hour later, you still haven't done it. And when I ask again, you're like "oh! I forgot!" And when you mumble; it drives your Dad & I crazy.
Your teenage years are quickly approaching. I'm as ready as I'm going to get. I hope you stay focused on your grades, basketball, and your friends for a few more years, at least. You say you want to be an engineer, and I think you could be anything you want to be. When you really want something, you put your all into it. You've proven that with basketball.
And just maybe, you'll even get your wish.
This week, you began seventh grade. Second year of middle school. You have changed dramatically since last year. Everyone warned me middle school is a time of big change and growth, maturity. Attitude, independence. Well, it happened.
You've always been confident, since kindergarten. Adaptable. Likable. You make friends easily. Teachers adore you. I've never really worried about you. I still don't.
Yet, you still get nervous. The night before the first day, you couldn't sleep. We had sent you to bed and nearly an hour later, you came down and asked us if you should wear something different to school (we had already picked out your first day outfit, yet now you were questioning if it was the right choice). I reassured you the outfit was fine and you would look great and just like the rest of your peers. I walked you back upstairs and you were very talkative, and mentioned that you were nervous about basketball tryouts. Which won't take place for another 2 months. My heart aches for you because I am the same way. I worry about things. Things that are beyond my control. Things that I cannot change. Things that are not worth worrying about. But I get it. And I know the feeling. I wish I could help but I can't.
The five of us went school clothes shopping this past weekend. You had to try on everything and you were very outspoken this time about what you liked. You're figuring out your style and what you like. I love it. You picked out your shoes (Jordan's) and you insisted on joggers which we couldn't find in your size. You're at an awkward stage right now. Pants are usually either too short or too big around your waist. You're tall, but super skinny.
Eventually we left the mall exhausted and irritated. We decided that you and I would go back at a later date, without Bella. And without Dad.
You were worried that you didn't have school supplies. I reminded you that you would get lists from your teachers the first week, and we would go shopping after that, like we did last year. But you still said you felt "unprepared" for the first day.
Tonight, the two of us went to the mall and to get school supplies. We were successful, and I knew you were happy as we were driving home, you said, "I'm excited.....to go to school tomorrow". It's the third day. And you sat at the kitchen table tonight organizing your supplies and packing your backpack. And laying out your clothes. You came downstairs repeatedly to ask about outfits for the rest of the week.
I'm thankful that you and your cousin get to share a homeroom together. How special is that?!?
I'm sad because I know you are going to continue to grow up and this year will bring more changes. Yet, I know you are going to have a great year.
I'm so proud of you. We are at a different stage in your life. It's new to us as you are our first. I'm thankful to learn from you. You are such a great first born. You make it so easy. Thanks for being you.
About two months ago, I drove you to school after you'd missed the bus. You asked why I couldn't drive you to school every day. I saw no reason why I couldn't. I had time before work. It would give you a few more minutes in the morning to get ready, so you're not so rushed. And most importantly, it gave us a few quiet minutes alone in the car. So, we decided to make it the new morning routine.
You are always in a good mood in the morning. Some days you wake up on your own and make your cereal. And since I've started taking you, you listen better in the morning and get ready without being told over and over. You've even been coming into my bathroom to brush your teeth while I'm getting ready. You ask me to fix your hair with the "spiker" glue. And then you have to hair spray it. A friend of yours told me that you are always bragging at school that you're having a "good hair day". And your teacher has complimented you several times on your sense of style.
We have a good conversation in the car. Sometimes we just listen to the music. We talk about the plan for that evening. If you have a game or practice. If you can have a friend over.
In the evenings, since it's been cold outside, you prefer to hang out downstairs on the couch and watch reruns of Full House. You never spend time in your room, except to sleep. And occasionally, you'll get on the playstation and play Minecraft while you face time with Kaleb. You get your homework done every night at afterschool. You're pretty responsible and mature for your age, no doubt.
Most of the images I capture of you are playing baseball. Or just playing. You don't like to pose too much for pictures. I think you do it just to be stubborn sometimes. Not because it embarrasses you or because you don't like to be in pictures. You'll take them for anyone else but your own mom. So I have to try to sneak them in when I can, when you're not looking.
Baseball has been slow this season. We've missed a lot of games due to rain. We had a good time in Rocky Mt with the Cannons, but you were hard on yourself and your heart wasn't in it. When you or your team are not doing well, you shut down and become discouraged easily.
You are definitely your own person, and I admire that about you. You look up to your big brother, even though I doubt you would ever admit that. He is the one you most want to be like. The other night in the car, we were talking about basketball season, and Jackson made a comment that you should move up and play on their team because "he's good enough to play with us". It was such a sweet thing for Jackson to say (and he meant it when he said it) but to see the look of pride on your face that your big brother thinks you're a good basketball player, good enough to play with the big boys and on his team? It really made me realize how much his thoughts matter to you.
Your brother started middle school this year. And I have seen so much change, and growth, in just a few months. What I have learned over this short period of time is how fast it is all going by. Sounds cliché, I know. People say that all the time. He is growing up, no doubt. Changing almost overnight. It has made me realize that I've got to hold onto you as long as I can. Really take the time to just be in the moment. You see, despite your tough façade, you are quite the momma's boy. You are sweet and kind hearted. And love to snuggle. You are so affectionate and loving. To me. To your sister. Even to your Dad. You love to hold hands. To have your back scratched. You ask your Dad or I to "tuck" you into bed every night. I dread the day you grow up and grow out of my lap, which by the way you still love to sit in. You still ask to play with my hair or give me a massage. I realize I don't have much longer. And I also realize you have to compete for those snuggles with your baby sister.
You are obsessed with Rocky right now. We recently watched all the movies in preparation for the release of Creed, the newest in the series. You loved them all. And watch them over and over. Now you have even started "training" like Rocky and punching the air. We finally got to see Creed last night. The 4 of us went and left Bella with Honey. You were so excited. Jackson was, too. Both of you asked questions throughout the movie, talking nonstop. You couldn't sit still, you were so excited and nervous for the main fight. I loved it. I loved seeing you so excited and so happy. The look on your face.
You haven't really asked for anything for Christmas. And it made me realize something very important about you. You aren't really into material things. Sure, you like playing Minecraft and PS3. But what makes you the happiest is being with family. You love going to the beach house, staying in a hotel, visiting Great Wolf Lodge, spending the night with your cousin, riding your bike around the neighborhood. Even simple things, like movie nights at the house when it's just our little family of 5. You had so much fun at Busch Gardens the first time you went (last weekend), the very next day you asked if we could go back and take one of your friends. You love spending time with family and friends. That is what you makes you the happiest. And that makes me so very happy. I appreciate these things about you, and the fact that you are content with just enjoying these little things.
I'm looking forward to spending Christmas break with you and your siblings. I'm so grateful to have this time with you.
I'm so grateful to be your mom.
You are trying out for an AAU basketball team this weekend.
You had asked to skip All Stars baseball this past summer, because you wanted to focus on baseball and eventually join an AAU team. You played rec ball at the field house all summer up until last week. In August, you started working out with another basketball team. You have learned a lot and grown so much from those practices. I thought it had helped your confidence. You were very excited at the beginning of the school year to try out for the middle school team in November. Even though you understand that not many 6th graders don't make the team, you seemed excited just to try out.
You take a basketball everywhere we go. You can't go through a doorway without trying to jump and see how high you can reach. You eat, drink, and sleep basketball these days. It makes us both happy to see you so passionate about a sport.
Last weekend, you were supposed to try out for an AAU team, but practice was canceled. You were a nervous wreck. You tried to back out on the practice, saying you weren't ready. Now you are even saying you don't want to try out for middle school anymore. I was getting frustrated, that your lack of motivation might mean you were getting lazy and losing your passion for the sport. We had a rough experience in the summer. The team you played with wasn't good, at all. Daddy and I worried in the end it was holding you back and discouraging you. Which made us more excited about the prospect of getting you hooked up with a real team with experienced players. Now, it seems you have lost faith in yourself and have become discouraged. The other night, you even confessed to me that you don't think you're good enough to play on a travel team.
I'm not going to let you back out of this now. Because I do think you are good enough. But more importantly, you need to understand that life isn't always going to go your way. That doesn't mean you can give up and not even try. There is a valuable life lesson to be learned here, whether I like it or not. There is a good chance you won't make the middle school team, but it won't be because you're not good enough. There is also the chance that you won't get on this AAU team.
I want so much to protect you from a let down. That's what is tough about middle school, about this age. Sooner or later, you're going to be disappointed. A girl is going to break your heart. You may get cut from a team. It's bound to happen; it's life. You have to go through these experiences in order to grow up. What you don't understand (and won't for a very long time, until you have kids of your own), is that it's going to hurt me a lot more than it hurts you. The hardest part is going to be mine. I've been there before, I understand what you're feeling. And looking back, I know it's not the end of the world. But I don't want to see you with a broken heart. I guess I have to realize, too, that it's going to happen. I can't protect you from everything. And I shouldn't. I will, however, do everything I can to make it easier on you. No matter how old you get, you are (and will always be) my baby.
My name is Kaci. I am a working mom of 3. Wife to Josh. Mom to Jackson, Cameron & Isabella. My life is dinner, homework, baseball, basketball, grocery lists, laundry, wine, video games, and bath time. I started this blog because I am passionate about photography and journaling, and because I wanted a place to write it all down, to rememeber little details so easily forgotten in the mad rush that is the life of a family of 5. Through my photos and words, I endeavor to capture our story.