This weekend, Kirk, Nolan and I went to a local scenic overlook to have some family photos taken.
There, we met my friend Sara of Steines Photography. We looked out over the lake, enjoyed the breeze and the shade of local mascot Sunny (who I typically refer to as The Big Ugly Sunfish—and yes, I know he’s not ugly… That’s just what sunfish look like.) Sara followed us as we wandered around, and she did her best to keep up with Nolan who decided to be a total ham…
He can be such a ham...
It was a chance to update the look of the blog, sure… But more than that it gives us a chance to stop and capture a moment.
Nolan is growing up so fast… He starts his sophomore year of high school in just over a week, and he’s now eye to eye with me. In fact, we wear the same size shirt, so now I find myself bringing home shirts and asking Kirk, “Is this okay for Nolan to wear or is it mine now?” Truthfully, it’s nice to know I have a backup wardrobe of snarky t-shirts in the house if I ever need one.
When Kirk first brought up doing another set of photos, my brain immediately went, “Oh but we just did some…” But then I realized that was nearly 2 years ago. When did that happen?
In that time, Nolan has gone from a middle schooler who would do things when he was asked or prompted (assuming it suited his mood) to a high school student who often takes initiative in tasks to at least get them started independently (again—when it suits his mood). In that time, he’s been through a year and a half of a global pandemic and the changes that have come with it, the addition of a new adversary—I mean cat—to the household, and being hit hard by puberty.
I’ve written about how he often surprises me with the things he’s able to do, but lately my reaction has changed from, “Wait, you’re doing what now?” to, “Of course you know that… You’re a teenager and teenagers know everything. What was I possibly thinking in my old parent head?”
A lot of parents of toddlers and young children will tell you that they’re learning new things every day or they’re taking new risks or being more independent, so they’re trying to appreciate it all. We’re definitely seeing that with Nolan lately, but somehow it’s harder to stop and soak it all in at his age. It’s almost like we expect things to happen when children look like toddlers. And let’s face it, Nolan’s acne and new body hair reminds me nothing of the toddler with a chocolate ice cream-covered face that stares back at me from our wall of family photos. I guess it makes it harder to stop and pay attention.
Where did my tiny boy go?
So I’m reminding myself, with the help of an upcoming batch of new family photos, to stop and pause… to appreciate these moments even if they aren’t falling chronologically where we might expect them. Instead of teaching Nolan to drive, like we might have expected to be as he closes in on his 16th birthday, we’re still working on things like showering independently.
And while he’s not the only boy his age who needs some help remembering how to scrub all of the teen stank off of himself, the fact that he’s slowly learning to become self-cleaning is a big deal. I just need to remember to stop and soak it in.