Having a second child is very different from having a first child – or at least it was for me. By the time my son Jacob was born, I had spent three and a half years parenting his big sister Hannah. I knew things that I didn’t know on the day I gave birth the first time. I had the benefit of experience under my belt, and I was much more relaxed about the whole thing. I knew that Jacob would grow all too fast, and so I tried my best to soak up whatever little fragments of his essence I could latch on to before they slipped away.
Today, my son turns four years old. I have spent the last four years feeling sand slipping through my fingers. I try to grab hold of the moments, searching for solid pieces of my son as he is right now. But it all gets away from me, as he grows at a lightning pace. But I don’t have time to even really feel sad about it, because wallowing would just take me away from my task of trying to appreciate the amazing person that my son is today.
If I were to describe that amazing person to you, I would say that he is outgoing and funny and very physical. He likes to climb and throw and run and jump. He has little care for what he should and should not throw, and where he should and should not run and jump. He (almost) never stops moving. He also likes to create order in his world, categorizing things like books and cars and bowls. He has the saddest face in the world when he thinks I’m angry at him, and the happiest face in the world when he’s pleasantly surprised by something. But when he’s happiest of all he doesn’t smile, he looks very serious, as if he’s trying to play nonchalant. He doesn’t like cold water or very windy days. He loves to tell jokes.
One of the things that I do to capture my son’s childhood is photograph it. I snap and snap and snap, thanking my lucky stars that my babies were born in the age of digital photography, when I can take as many photos as I want, virtually for free. I freeze moments, hoping that in the process I will create something I can hold on to. Here are some of the photos I’ve snapped of Jacob lately:
Happy birthday to Jacob!