I remember watching a video shortly before you turned 9 months old. The message in the video was simple and clear: people are spending less time “together” and more time absorbed in the online world.
Today, people are spending crazy amounts of time and effort trying to snap the perfect picture and find the right words for a status update on Facebook.
All this effort to be online and “social” with the world is resulting in an inability to live in the moment.
At first, I was apprehensive about the message. I love social media. I love sharing my stories, your pictures, my weight loss journey, and my blog posts with the world. I love feeling connected to people- even if I can’t see them on a daily basis. I love the power of connecting people together in an online community.
But I don’t love looking across a crowded room and realizing that people aren’t having conversations because they can’t lift their eyes from a phone. I get discouraged when we go out to dinner and see a family sitting together for a meal, yet every single one of them is responding to a text, reading emails, or browsing Facebook.
People are glued to their phones.
People are distracted.
And people are unaware of the world moving before their eyes.
I made a decision that day to work harder at living in the moment with you.
To put my phone down more.
To not feel the urge to post every hilarious comment from your dad.
To leave my phone in another room during dinner time.
Yes, I take at least 30 pictures of your a day.
And yes, I share pictures of your growth, smiles, milestones, and hilarious expressions.
But I’m making an honest effort to value in-person conversations.
And I’m making it a goal of mine to always be “present” with you.
I don’t want to be that mom that can’t have a conversation with her kid about his or her day because she’s anxiously waiting for the next email or overly curious about what her friends are doing that evening.
As part of this new goal of mine, I didn’t post any pictures online from our first family vacation. Your daddy challenged me to keep my phone in my purse when I felt the temptation to “check in” at a restaurant and share pictures from each exciting activity. It was extremely hard, but I’ll tell you what – your daddy and I had a wonderful conversation on the long drive.
You slept the entire way to Lakeside, Michigan.
But I can remember the entire drive.
I can picture the towns we drove through.
I can still imagine the hotel that I was convinced appeared in an episode of Breaking Bad.
I can remember how the he cold air felt on that rainy, May day.
I can picture the beautiful lakes we passed as we got closer to Michigan.
And I can still smell the horrible Arby’s food we ate in the car as we approached our destination.
The entire family went on the vacation – you, Bandit,Daddy, and myself.
When we pulled into the Lakeside Inn, our “resort” for the weekend. We booked one of the best rooms at the Inn. Our room had a single bed, a refrigerator, and best of all – a jaccuiz tub!! We unloaded everything and I couldn’t hardly wait to see Lake Michigan.
The weather was chilly, so we all bundled up and walked down the hill to the beach. Our Inn gave us access to a private beach. We had to walk down (what felt like 300 stairs) before we got on the waterfront. But the view was worth every single stair. Lake Michigan honestly looked like the ocean.
We played with Bandit on the beach and even snapped a few “senior pictures” for him.
We actually arrived at the Inn on our four year wedding anniversary. We went to dinner at Casey’s, which my friend Hilary recommended. Daddy and I went to town on oysters, shrimp, and crab leg dinners. Everything was delicious!
You had your favorite – Spinach and Potatoes. We also introduced you to Puff’s. And I honestly don’t know how we ever went out to dinner without your Puff snacks! It’s so entertaining to watch you reach for them, drop them, and shovel them in your mouth like your a hamster.
After dinner, we went back to the Inn for a relaxing night in. I wouldn’t want to spend our anniversary any other way. I was thrilled to be in such a beautiful, relaxing city with you, daddy, and Bandit. My heart simply felt so full and my mind felt at peace.
We woke up early the next day to grab breakfast, coffee, and then spent the afternoon exploring a brewery and winery in the area.
Later that night, we went to dinner at The Stray Dog, which is now my favorite restaurant ever. I loved the pictures of stray dogs on the walls. Our server was incredibly friendly, the drinks were amazing, and the food was outstanding! I somehow resisted the urge to order the deep fried hotdog wrapped in bacon. Maybe next year!
The next day, we had to leave and head home. The vacation was short and went by quickly – all vacations do. As we walked down the 300 stairs again, I lost my balance and fell! I was wearing you in the baby carrier (thankfully on my chest), but I smashed my butt HARD into the stairs. Daddy has the fall on camera – you can’t see me fall, but you can hear me yell. It’s pretty entertaining, actually.
And guess what? My phone was in my back pocket. And I fell so hard that my phone literally bent and smashed the motherboard. I even had a bruise on my butt the exact shape and size of my iPhone!
Obviously, the phone was destroyed. And I lost all of the pictures from our first vacation. I actually lost all of the pictures I had saved on my phone for the last 3 months. Thankfully, I post at least 1 picture of you per day online and write these letters to you so I can remember and share some of my favorite moments with you.
I was simply heartbroken about losing so many pictures, though. But I reminded myself that you were safe. And your health and safety is the most important!
Daddy had a few pictures, which I included above, but it goes without saying that my effort to stay away from my phone went a lot smoother when I didn’t even have a phone in the first place.
On top of going on our first vacation together, we had many other exciting moments over the past month:
You had your first playdate with Baby Acelyn, future BFF.
You started to show more signs of crawling!
We busted out the baby Teva sandals.
You got your first two teeth!!!!
You helped me search throughout the house and neighborhood for puppy brother. We thought he somehow escaped from the backyard. I was convinced someone kidnapped him. My second guess was an alien abduction. Kidding, but he really seemed to just disappear from the backyard!
I was crying uncontrollably and at one point, you reached up to grab my face. You had no clue what was going on, but you knew something was wrong. You remained calm and your innocence helped me try to focus on finding puppy brother. Hilary (Lyla’s mommy and our neighbor) came over to help hold you and put you to bed so I could search for Bandit. Sure enough, Hilary found Bandit 30 seconds after walking into our kitchen. Puppy brother was locked in the pantry. Don’t even ask me how, why, or when he got stuck. I have no clue. But that story sure makes for a lot of laughs now…
We splashed around in your first baby pool!
And I clearly had to try out the pool for size and water temperature.
You got your first certificate for passing your swim class.
You mainly just wanted to put the paper in your mouth and eat it.
You got to watch Aunt Brittney and Uncle Devin graduate from high school. You slept at first.
And then you woke up to cheer Aunt Brittney on after she got her diploma.
All of the excitement really got you going because you also CLAPPED for the first time. My heart nearly BURST out of my chest when you started clapping with the crowd at Uncle Devin’s graduation. We have it on camera, so I’m not just that bragging mom making her kid sound smarter than everyone else. You truly did start clapping when you heard everyone else do it. And I was so proud!
I’d say that May was a pretty successful month, little buddy! As you grow older, I am starting to notice your personality grow bigger and stronger each passing day. I find myself learning something new about you each day. And I am definitely falling in love with your little quirks.
I love how you smile when you watch me brush my teeth in the morning. Maybe you’ll be a dentist one day.
I love how you watch your puppy brother chase his tail and laugh so hard that you lean back and nearly fall backward.
I love how you observe the world around you.
I love how you grunt and growl and then laugh when I mock you.
I love how your hair gets wild and crazy – almost resembling baby chick hair.
I love how you grab onto the sides of your car seat and stroller.
I love how you cross your legs like a little gentlemen when we go on walks and car rides.
I love how you smile so big when I sing to you and dance around the house.
I love watching you grow into a unique, inspiring, and lovable person.
And I love how you sleep through the night! Just kidding, you’re still a horrible sleeper, but my hope is saying that you’re a FANTASTIC sleeper will turn you into one. Positive thinking!!!!
Despite my extreme sleep deprivation, I love you more than anything.
Thanks for helping me smile on the toughest days. You have a lovely way of inspiring me to focus on what TRULY matters in life – and that’s making happy memories with the people you love the most.
And smiling and laughing with you is a pretty easy thing to do. I can only imagine the stories you will tell one day. Part of me can’t wait, and the other part can. You’re growing up too quickly, just like other moms and dads warned me you would…
Always keep those bright eyes, baby boy. You’ll change the world with your smile, heart, and positive energy. Mark my words.