recount

it’s 5:27 in the morning.  i’m tired, and you’re just having your morning like it isn’t way too early to be awake in this household.  i wish i could get inside your little 2 year old brain and know exactly what you’re thinking and feeling as you lie there on the couch with the pillow, blanket, and nabi that you requested.  i’m having more and more moments like these the older you get and, for how incredibly sweet they are, the bitterness is ever present.

watching you grow and change has been one of the most rewarding, heartwarming, saddening, happy, and abundantly full experiences i’ve endured.  i’ve found myself saying quite often that the baby years are too few.  you’ll spend most of your life as a big person – you’ve already changed from baby to toddler, then you’ll become a kid, then a teenager, then an adult, and i will (God willing) see it all – but there aren’t nearly enough little person years.  you’ve gone from infancy, being able to do nothing for yourself, to walking and talking…already!  and it’s only been a little over two years!  you have the rest of your life to walk and talk, couldn’t it have taken just a little longer to get there?  why do the changes have to happen so quickly and soon?  if i could slow it all down…just a little.

even earlier this morning, at 3:52, when you gently knocked at the bedroom door (your new morning routine), my initial annoyance immediately dissipated when i saw you standing there with a stuffed animal tucked under your arm, quietly asking to “see mommy?”  [God, please burn that into my memory.]  in that moment i saw you in the essence of which you were created: my precious child, petitioning me in complete innocence and sincerity.  does it get any purer?  you should know, that even 3 hours before i was ready to wake up, every part of me wanted to scoop you up and put you in bed to share my pillow.  if i wasn’t worried that you’d wake your 4.5 month old sister who was sleeping soundly on the other side of the bed, i wouldn’t have delayed.  not even a second.  sure, you will need to learn how to stay in bed a little longer one day very soon, but it would have been fine today.  i wouldn’t have minded.  i can go without sleep occasionally, and i will.  i will if you want to take an early morning and watch “pocoyo” with us in bed.  even if we’re up long before the sun, i’ll trade a few hours of sleep for a few hours of closeness with you.  the time keeps flying by…i need as many of these moments as it will allow.

i’m learning that the seemingly small moments are the biggest, and when one of these small-big moments blind sides me, i feel my desire to be as present as i can.  it’s like a pain…it hurts to know that i sometimes can’t prepare for the special moments; that i can’t be prepared to live in those times.  i want to soak up everything possible because my memories are the most tangible things i will be left with when you go and grow up.  i pray that the memories are strong enough…that they will somehow be enough one day when all i have are traces of this little person you are now.  i know it will smack me in the face in 10 or 20 short years just how much you’ve grown, so promise me that you’ll show me some grace one day when you inevitably find me staring at you, because i will be searching for reminders of who you are today…i know that when i look at you, i’ll be pressing play on the home video reel that’s stored in my brain, remembering the first time i saw you, the first time you looked at me just seconds after you were born, the time when you were just a few months old and i scrunched my brow at you and you smiled, how, also when you were really young, you’d look like a tree frog when picked up, how you’d stretch and have the biggest smile on your face when i’d get you out of your crib in the morning, how ferociously you’d make the motorboat sound until you were covered in drool and red in the face, the crunching sound of the rice mum-mum as you bit into it for the first time, how you’d light up and say “dada dada dada” when we’d pick you up from childcare after church, how you’d purposely fall into our arms when you were learning to take your first steps, how you would say “dahkdah dahkdah dahkdah” instead of “tickle tickle tickle”, how you jump your feet “out in out in out in” when you dance, how you called 7 “funny” 11 “oney” and peanut butter and jelly “bo jay jay”, anytime you said “holdmeholdyouholdme”, how saying “yayayayayay!” when you were frustrated changed to “whoawhoawhoa!”, “wubbies” (my favorite – you will say that for as long as i have a say in it), how you said “wubbie bb hahmeh” to your sister, and how you call her “pretty” or “princess”, how you kiss her on the cheek and ask to hold her, how you call us “mommy pig” and “daddy pig”…and many more.  i’m going to recount as much as i can as often as i can.  i have to.

so.  it is my mission to be present.  my charge.  i’m going to do everything in my earthly power to live life with you, to experience as many parts of you as i can.  i should give a fair warning that you’ll probably see me cry often because of it, but that’s ok.  i want to share my heart with you as you have already done with me.  i want to rejoice with you, cry with you, share in your (appropriate) pride.  let me help bear your burdens and feel what you feel.  i’ll be your guide and i’ll be your help…ahead and beside.  i’ll strive when you strive.  i’ll learn when you learn.  i’ll grow when you grow.  i’ll live when you live.

my son, my first born…i will give you all of me.

wubbies.

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regret and insecurities

this post might be slightly grim, so i am apologizing in advance.

 

recently, a rather tragic event has happened to my family.  some of you reading this already know about it, but for those who don’t, i am going to try to give you a rundown of what happened so you can be up to speed for the rest of this blog post.  admittedly, this happened as a result of a decision i made, but i ask that you consider the outside circumstances of what my life looked like at the time before making any judgments.

this is something that i saw coming, and very well could have prevented, but i decided to let life play out and take the next things as they came.

i have included a photo that better shows what we were facing several weeks ago, so if seeing a photo of this type of subject matter is too much to handle, i would advise using discretion.

the photo is pretty self-explanatory, but i’ll offer additional thoughts after you see it.

 

here it is:

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i am sorry to have put you through this, as i know that looking at me with cornrows has now caused you lasting damage.  you wouldn’t be the only ones, though.  along with you are the strangers at the grocery store, cowering in fear as they shoot their side-eyes, the facebook commenters who i can only imagine were trembling behind their computer screens at the horror of seeing this picture pop up on their news feeds, and everyone else who’s life apparently depends on how i wear my hair.  one person even told me that getting cornrows was a “stupid decision,” i guess because that decision somehow affected them in a negative way.  or maybe the idea of somebody wearing a hairstyle that they deemed dumb based on their perception of what dumb hairstyles are was too much to deal with.  THEY COULDN’T.  EVEN.  (interesting, isn’t it?  i always thought stupid decisions were ones that aren’t easily changed.)  i guess i owe an apology to my family for my being so willing to besmirch our good name.  they should never have to deal with people giving me funny looks.  it’s just too much.

 

you know what drove me to make this awful decision?  it was the fact that i don’t want to live a life of regret.

 

the older i get, the more i am realizing how my decision 5 years ago to stop the pursuit of becoming a professional dancer brought forth more change than pain.  growing up, one of the biggest problems i had was worrying about what people think of me.  i still don’t know if that was brought about from being a ballet boy, or if it is something that intrinsically exists within me.  i can remember my dad always telling me “you don’t need to worry about what other people think” or “it doesn’t matter what they think of xyz,” and my decision to abandon that which i thought was my life’s calling was the beginning of the end of that worry in my life.  yes, at 24 years old, i finally started figuring it out.

that was around the same time i started figuring out how insecure i actually was, about a lot of things.  i had spent the past 6 years standing in front of a mirror in tights for 6 hrs a day almost everyday until the day i quit.  that is a sure fire way to become insecure.  and i was insecure about my abilities as a dancer.  and about what people would think if i stopped dancing, and what they would think if i didn’t, or what they would think if i moved, or didn’t have another career to jump into, or that i was “wasting” my gift, and on and on and onnnnn.  so when i finally wised up and decided to make a bold life change i realized that IT DOESN’T MATTER.  i let go of all these dumb insecurities that have no power over my life and started allowing myself to find pleasure in things i love.  i allowed myself to be the inner dork i always knew i was: the one who loves classical music, a cappella choral music, making pottery (which i really miss doing, btw), fashion, hair, creating, running, knitting, project runway, lifting weights, giraffes, hgtv, wine, america’s next top model, food, roller coasters, gymnastics, the ocean, decorating, deep conversation, nights in, shoes, singing, and whatever the heck else i wanna like because, once again, IT DOESN’T MATTER.  the only thing that being insecure about who i am leads me to is regret.  and since i have no room for regret in my life, i also have no room for insecurity.

 

so yes, i got cornrows.  whoop-de-freaking-do.

 

and guess what?  i once had a beiber haircut.  granted, this was before anyone knew who he was, so maybe HE actually had a BATTLES haircut.  boom.

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then i had my lovely wife make some of it green and blue.  THE HORROR.

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then i had a mohawk with bomb racing stripes.

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then i buzzed it.

then it grew out again.

then i bleached it.  GASP.

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then i buzzed it again.

then it grew out some.

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then i grew it out again.

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then i cut it short.

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then i bleached it.  AGAIN.  I KNOW.  YOU CAN’T.

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then i buzzed it.

then i spent a year and a half growing it to this.

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then i got it cut again.

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side note: too many of y’all commented about how this hair cut was “so much better!”  uh.  thanks.  didn’t know i needed so much improvement.  howev, i’m glad that it no longer causes you distress to look at me.  i had long hair.  what a tragedy.

that’s 10 things that i won’t have to have regret about later in life.  11 if you count the cornrows.  and honestly, it woulda been dumb if i let any insecurities about what people might think of my hairstyle stop me from changing it.  seriously, what a failure that would’ve been.

so, no more.  no more insecurities about the things that are inside of me.  no more insecurities about the things i love or like.  no more insecurities about the things that make me “me.”  once again, insecurities lead straight to regret, and neither are worth giving power to anyone else because of their perceptions of me, whether i’ve preconceived them or not.

and no more for you, too!

 

btw, i have a pair of white jeans, in case you were wondering.  ERMAHGERD!