Sunday, January 09, 2011

75 Months

We have reached another milestone with Lucas: he's lost his first tooth.

It's so hard not to notice that our little guy is growing up and this phenomenal event is bringing that reality very close to my heart. One of our new year's resolutions as parents was that we have to get more serious about Lucas's education. He's such a wise little man that we have the tendency to take him for granted. Sure, we've had moments the past year where he's resisted the efforts whenever it gets to be a struggle for him. He has natural ability in so many ways but learning isn't magic. It takes effort and Lucas is reaching that age where his lazy gene is kicking in. He's going to have to find his inner determination in order to overcome some of these difficulties.

One philosophy of parenting that Christina and I completely agree with is that our children must develop a strong work ethic. It's something that both of us have struggled with in our lives and when I look around at our society, I believe that it is one of the greatest downfalls of our culture. I'm not trying to point out any specific examples but I know that if we focused on working toward our dreams, then half of the crap that plagues our society would disappear naturally. A civilization that is full of those who structure their lives around the essence of what makes them happy will create value. This idea is a fundamental aspect of my life philosophy and even though I have many days where it's not being enacted as powerfully as I want it to, I know that if I forgot myself, then my life would swirl down a dank drain.

But it's hard injecting that type of work ethic into your children's lives. We have so many distractions and responsibilities before we had kids and now we need to find even more energy to focus on them during those few minutes we have left in the day. Well, here we go. 2011 is the year that Lucas gets serious and that means we have to get serious. I knew that the time would eventually come, never being of the mind that I needed to mold him into Mozart from the moment of conception, but it appears that six is the year where it's all going to come together. I truly believe he's ready for anything that we can throw at him.

First up: violin. Lucas is now in his third year of violin lessons and it's been absolutely wonderful. He took it up fairly quickly and he has the mental where-with-all to memorize songs very easily. We've been on cruise control with it for awhile but technically, he hasn't advanced that drastically. I could really see it when a boy his age played next to him. A year ago, they were very equal but, even though Lucas can play all of the same songs, this kid is just more sound with all of the technical aspects; posture, bowing, etc. I realized that Lucas hasn't developed with those things in over a year. He knows more songs but he's still falling back on pedestrian habits. He needs to grow with his playing skills and that means we need to be more vigilant. I know, without a doubt, that this other boy in his class has to practice assiduously and, though we try to get him on the instrument daily, it just doesn't happen with Lucas.

It's crazy to imagine how much we've changed as human beings since Lucas came into our lives. Christina and I look at life in completely new and revelatory ways. To think about the future in such a dramatic way, seeing your child's life beyond who you are, is so telling. It's the seed of compassion to imagine someone else's life with such care, that you wish only incredible fortune for them even if that means giving up on some of your selfish desires. Yet, you can't escape it. He's waking you up in the morning with his sweet-sour breath begging for cereal or dragging you out the door so that he can run ragged at the park. He's smiling at you with a toothbrush in his mouth, an empty space where his tooth used to be or he's dreaming in the dark of his room after the hours have stolen him away until tomorrow.

Today, I watched him scooter around the neighborhood as we went for a walk to do a few errands. He would race off ahead, growing smaller and smaller until he felt he was almost too far. Then he would look back with a big grin on his face. That's the exact mental image I wish to have of him growing into a man someday; eager and full of life but still looking back at us with hope in his eyes that we'll still be there watching him. He doesn't have anything to worry about because we will be there looking at him. Along with Quinn, Christina and I love nothing as much as the two of them. They have become our hearts.

I have to admit that there was also a hint of sadness skating on the sun as it cascaded down, spotlighting my beautiful boy. As the distance made him shrink in my eyes, I realized that, with each day, the memory of the little boy we cherished so dearly grows smaller and smaller, as well.

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