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I Love Everything About You.

I heard this funny phrase once or twice about how it feels to hold up many aspects of life without dropping them.

The metaphor used is juggling balls. Say you’re constantly, forever really, juggling several balls at once. Every now and then you drop one. Maybe it’s a small one. Maybe it’s a large one. Maybe it falls alone. Maybe you get thrown off by dropping one ball and soon you drop two, three, four, several balls. Then you’re standing there and wondering how to pick up the pieces and get them soaring again.

Since that’s not my favorite description, I’d rather call them planets. We are all galaxies, holding up our own solar systems in as much harmony as we can muster. There are black holes and comets – big and small – always there to capture us or knock us out of orbit. We drop one planet – do the rest go out of whack? Which are the big ones you cannot drop, and which are smaller or less fragile?

Which aspects of life are the suns and which are the moons? What do you build your life to orbit around?

I like to think of myself as Atlas – holding up my galaxy and spinning it all about. Friendships – so important to hold and protect. Family – so important not to let those “hellos” and “thank yous” and “goodbyes” and “I miss yous” go too long without being said. Health – important enough that if you spin it out of whack or drop it, you risk losing everything. Career – spinning wildly out of control, thank you. Or maybe it was swallowed by a black hole? I hold it out precariously – always wonder if today is the day to embrace it. Then there’s marriage of course – one of the most fragile of worlds. Often pushed around by the bigger ones – children and emotional well-being, and the smaller ones – money, domestic upkeep, entertainment.. Each planet needs love and nurturing. Each one upheld.

No one, and I mean no one holds all their planets in perfect orbit at all times. Even if it seems that way.

Somewhere along the line I learned, and I’m always learning, that just because I drop one planet doesn’t mean I should just drop them all and start running. Somewhere along the line – at the point of marriage and children – that stopped being an option anyway.

In the last year, I spun this..

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..into this..

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I have held him up so high for a year now. And maybe not today, maybe not even tomorrow, but soon, he’ll begin to hold himself up.

To Des:

The next time I see you, it will be your first birthday. Before you went to bed I held your ear close to my mouth while you gazed at the sky. You were probably wondering why it was still light out and you were going to bed. Welcome to the cruelness of summer, kid. I whispered the first thing that came to mind – I wanted it to be everything all at once. I said, “I love everything about you.”

It was everything and it was right. You smiled as if you understood. I put you to bed, and early you will rise. And I’ll say it again.

Happy First Birthday. Saying “my son” still gives me the shivers every time. I have a son. And you are divine.

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  1. Tears in my eyes. What a beautiful post. It's amazing how much we love our little guys – it's really so hard to express the joy. I always get emotional on birthdays – every detail of their birth, every detail of their life until that moment is crystal clear to me and I them so much. He is so lucky to have you – and so lucky to have you documenting his journey! Happy Birthday Des!

  2. Happy Birthday to Des! I love your galaxy and planet metaphor – it is like balancing worlds. My guys' birthdays are one of those times – along with the first day of school – when I realize that time is passing – and going so fast.

    1. My parents had five kids and it seemed like every spring there was a graduation from something – middle school, high school, college. I think they said they didn't catch a break for nearly a decade. At least. At the time I didn't think about how that must have been for them. They always seemed so calm and strong. Today I nearly lost it watching the older preschoolers graduate into kindergarten.

  3. I feel almost as sentimental as you do about Des turning one. Where did our little gusher go? I know personally just how far you go to balance your life so well and am so thankful that I know you in the blogworld and in real life. xo

  4. Happy 'Day you gave birth to Des!' Please hug him from me. We are so lucky, we humans, to get to share the babies of other people as well as our own. It makes for extended bliss.

  5. Oh, This! I have a son too and he is divine and I love the thought that I spun him. He's like my own little moon or star. I hope you and he have the loveliest birthday! xo

  6. Oh, this! Little boys are divine! And now I will think of mine as a planet or a moon or a star – whatever he is, he's bright and he shines up my world, the way Des shines on yours. Happy birthday to the two of you today!

  7. Happy Birthday, Des! Your words are so beautiful. He's lucky to have such a wonderful, loving mommy. One day, when he's graduating from high school or college, you can put all your yearly recaps in a book for him. It'll be as beautiful as the day he was born!

  8. Oh, you made me cry! I so do that with my kids and even with my students this year at the end of the last day I told them when the bell rang they would be in the next grade and it choked me up. You picked the perfect photos and metaphor (is that right?) for this post.

  9. You tell the most AMAZING stories with your photos. Your children will forever have tangible evidence of their childhood. I love it. Happy birthday cutie pie!!!

  10. We went to the preschool graduation ceremony today, even though my daughter has another year. I wondered how the teachers could stand it – saying goodbye year after year. Maybe they get used to it?

  11. Ah, thank you. I always wonder how much photography to do, and how much writing, and how much photography tells the story on its own without needing writing. It's like a math equation every blog!

  12. You know, I really felt like it was my birthday. I did all of the work, really! Now it makes me look differently at my birthday. Maybe I should give my mom a present!

  13. happy (late) birthday to des!!! and your line about not dropping ALL the planets just because one spins out rings so true for me. that was a hard, hard lesson to learn – that life is not "all or nothing" and you don't need to give up (nor are you a failure) just because one area of life is a tad out of control.

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