The End of 2013

by in Family and Faith

As the year-end nears, I could reflect on what transpired over the last 365 days. We moved twice, bought a house. The number of kiddos became two. Ryan switched career industries. I published my first book. But rather than mulling over the multitude of milestone events in 2013, I’d rather just freeze time. I long for the day when I regularly sleep through the night and when I visit public places without fear of tantruming humiliation, but mostly, I find the moments of our days absolutely priceless. So as the year ends, I want a snapshot of the Lilly life.

These are the things I currently treasure most:

Bronson has a voice, and he uses it like it’s novel, like it’s brand new. Because it is. He talks nonstop, repeating everything we say. A few weeks ago, I went around the car and opened his door to find him singing Santa Baby, which was just on the radio. He writes his own songs, too, mostly when he doesn’t realize I’m listening. I hope I’m lucky enough to eavesdrop on him for a long time. Not to be nosy, not because I think he’s up to no good, but because when he thinks he’s alone, he’s completely uninhibited. And the truest version of himself is the best version of himself.

He’s an oscillation of emotion, but right now, he’s learning to name what he feels. Sitting at the dinner table, Ryan remarked that Bronson seemed awfully grumpy. Bronson interjected with his scowl still in place, “No. Me happy.”

A week or two later, I headed to Trader Joe’s with the two boys. I promised Bronson a kid-sized cart upon arrival, but none were available. His head gave way to gravity, and he pouted beside Oliver and I. Then he remembered the free samples. We quickly located them – spinach crescents. His crumpled scowl said it all – spinach is not a treat. Thankfully I found an empty kid cart, and his mood brightened. While I ground our coffee, he declared, “Mommy, me happy. My cart make me happy.” My eyes teared up. And not because the coffee is so cheap.

Moments ago Bronson delivered a toy screw driver to Oliver while he played with his toy drill. He does that – delivers toys to his lil’ bro’. Of course, he also steals them. Oliver is slowly learning to fight back. He regularly grabs Bronson’s Beloved Elephant by the tail when he dangles near enough. Sometimes, Bronson thinks this is funny. Other times a family feud erupts.

I love the way the car’s backseat fills with laughter. The two boys make faces at each other, and their delight multiplies because they share it.

When Oliver cries (for reasons not caused by Bronson), Bronson’s whole face shows concern. If Ryan isn’t home, Bronson tells me Oliver wants Dada, that’s why he’s crying. But regardless of the reason, Bronson genuinely sympathizes.

Oliver screeches and kicks and coos “Dada, Dada, DAAAADAAA” at his 5 a.m. wakeup every morning. I’m extremely thankful he asks for his dad at that obscene hour. As soon as Ryan has him up, he looks for Bronson. His whole body indicates joy at the mere sight of his older brother.

Oliver kicks his feet when someone looks at him, holds him, talks to him. If there’s food going towards his mouth, his feet jitter. If a toy makes a noise, his eyes go wide, his arms flail, and his feet flit. He’s delighted by all percussion. He’s happy. At least 85% of the time.

As a family, we play music. Bronson is a natural blues harmonic player, accompanying Ryan’s guitar. Oliver pounds the drum, and I pick up whatever’s left – tambourine, harmonica. Soon we’ll add my piano to the mix. If we’re not playing music, we’re often dancing. Mostly Ryan and I try to steal glimpses of the adorable duo grooving.

Life is very busy and exhausting these days, but our boys are certainly worth all the trouble. Their presence spritz joy into our lives every single day.

At the end of 2013, me happy.


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