To anyone else, the photo below may show nothing more than a young boy. But to me is says, "Remember your first born? Remember how tiny and small he was? Look at how big he has grown. But he still has that little round chin. How can he be the same boy that looked lazily up at me from the hospital nusery? There are those lace-up shoes that he refuses to learn to tie. It drives me crazy that he still slips his foot in and out of them. I can see his big boy front teeth. He was so excited about losing them and cannot wait to lose more even though it has been a while. See how he sits? That's how he sits when he is in the middle of building Legos but then gets distracted and mesmerized by the TV.
To a stranger this is just a picture of a boy. But to me it beckons the memory of a sweet little blue-eyed toddler collecting snails in his pocket at the park and tells of his transformation into a green-eyed inquisitive child. His eye color is different, but his passion for following the rules, learning new things, and discovering the world around him is the same.
This may be just a picture of a toddler. But to me, this picture of a sweet, smiling two year old harbors just the hint of a wily, rough-and-tumble boy masked beneath the skin's surface. The faint scar on his forehead reminds me of the numerous falls and tumbles this tough boy has taken while endeavoring to take the world by storm. I'm pretty sure nothing will come easily to this boy, unless he receives it as a result of his dashing, cheeky smile.
This picture of three ordinary boys tells the story of the power struggle of a two-year old trying to find his place while desperately loving the object that misplaced him as the baby of the family. He loves roughly, but only because he loves with his whole heart AND body. It also tells the story of an oldest brother who was beside himself with grief to learn that he was getting another baby brother instead of a sister but who instantly took on a new role as The Protector. He is guided by strong convictions and has a hard time dealing with the reality of the unfairness of this world (especially of the rivalrous world that exists between siblings). This picture also tells the story of a new baby boy, who is now completely oblivious to the non-stop love and admiration of his two older brothers. The baby that made us feel complete and our lives overflowing with blessings.
Four guys. MY guys. They are mine. They are the other parts of me. They are each and every one imprinted in my mind and my heart. Right here, in this picture of four regular guys, is everything I love most in the entire world. I don't have a big house or a fancy car or this season's wardrobe. I have them. And they make me feel rich.
Then there is all of us. I love reflecting on all the ways we change over the years. I especially love the portraits of those years in which ta-da! a new person suddenly appears, like magic, or spontaneous acquisition.
We all need each other for different reasons and love each other in different ways. Sometimes the love comes more easily than other times. Despite the impeccable color coordination and bright smiles, we are not perfect. But dang-it!, for a measly three snap shots out of the year, we can sure try our best.