Way back in 2008, Jackson started playing basketball. He was a Wolverine, go figure. And only 4. The rim was 6 feet tall.
Fast forward 10 years.
His love for basketball really took off when he was 10. He spent most days afterschool in the driveway shooting hoops.
The other day, I was in the kitchen and thought I heard a basketball bouncing outside. I knew Cameron was upstairs and Bella was also inside. I looked at the clock. Yep, Jackson should be walking in the door right now. He didn't even make it inside. His backpack was in the garage; he had grabbed a ball and started shooting. This happens most days.
I might yell sometimes, but I secretly don't mind that we can't leave the house without him grabbing the ball and taking a few lay ups while I pack up the car.
I'm not naive. I know my son won't play for the NBA. I also know he won't play college basketball. Well, I guess that's too early to say right now. After all, Michael Jordan was cut his first year in high school, right?
It's never been about being the best. We just want him to have fun and be proud of himself.
It's about wanting something really badly. It's about pushing yourself outside your comfort zone. It's about practice. And passion.
He has all of that.
Since he turned 10, he has practiced and played and pushed himself and taken chances. And he's gotten better and better.
He made his middle school team in 7th and 8th grade. He joined the Jayhawks when he was 11.
But, it all started with his rec team. And his biggest fan and his coach, his Dad.
This is likely his last year with his rec team. 10 years. What a ride. I've cheered for the Wolverines, the Tarheels, and the Thunder. I have watched most of these boys grow from crying, whiny, tiny little boys who only cared about the after game snacks into sweaty, squeaky-voiced teens who talk trash on the court and get on their cell phones as soon as we get in the car.
I wish we could go back and do it all over again.
I really do love the sound of a bouncing basketball outdoors. I know someday, my heart will ache for it when it's gone.
Today, it was just me & Cam. The other 2 are still in Hatteras with the grandparents; Josh had to work. He rarely ever gets time with just us. So, I knew I had to make the most of it.
We took our bikes to the beach to ride the board walk. It was a really pretty, and hot, day. We struggled to get both bikes in the back of my car. But he was a huge help. Afterwards (and it took a lot of time and we were both sweating), he fist bumped me.
We ate lunch at Waterman's. We had been there once before for his birthday 2 years ago. We sat outside. He ordered a Caesar salad and mozzarella sticks. Watching him eat his salad, I could have cried. Afterwards, he said he could easily take a nap on the deck with the breeze blowing in from the ocean.
We rode nearly 30 blocks and turned around. On the way back, I suggested we stop for salt water taffy. He didn't know what it was. He took his time filling up his bag with various flavors. Afterwards, he saw mini buckets filled with taffy with names on them. He picked one out that said "Isabella" and asked if we would get it. "She loves candy", he said.
On the ride home, he told me "that was fun". I let him watch basketball videos on my phone, and we rode home in silence. And that was okay.
I only got this picture. And that's okay, too, because I was just enjoying this time with him.
He rarely smiles and shows his teeth. I wish he did it all the time.
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.
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.