I’m a day early on this one but I’m having a hard time waiting! Fletcher, my first born, is 5. This boy continues to amaze me in every way- his sense of humor, intelligence, empathy, and dance moves rival that of a boy much older. He had a lot of firsts this year including his first day of VPK (pre-k in Florida), reading his first book, crying at his first movie (Monster’s Inc), riding a bike with no training wheels, and playing team sports just to name a few.
Every year we have a tradition in this family. As annoyed as my husband was when I suggested that we rake up the leaves in our backyard into a giant number 1 and take Fletcher’s photo next to it, I’m pretty sure he is happy we did it. We have been able to keep our tradition alive since that date, and recently his 5th photo was taken. I didn’t know back in 2009 that we would be moving from a state with tons of leaves in November to one with hardly any. Thanks to the kindness of a neighbor who had more leaves than me I was able to execute another photo this year, though it was noticeably less fluffy than previous years. Photos 4 and 5 were taken in Florida and used mostly oak leaves.
Our other tradition is the birthday video. I spend many hours combing over the videos and photos from the year and edit them into a movie. I love including popular music from that year, so that one day, my son will be able to connect those songs to this time in his life. The theme this year revolved mostly around him learning to ride his bike and his love of trying (and sometimes failing) at new sports. Every movie involves a dance montage and he really outdid himself this year! Our life here is Florida allows us to be outside most of the year and it is something we don’t take for granted after 5 years in snow purgatory. We don’t exactly live outside but it looks that way from the video!
I love sharing his photos and video here on the blog and hope that these traditions inspire someone else to find a creative way to commemorate their child’s life. I’ve seen and heard other parents remark that these things must take so much time and that they are not capable. Because I treasure these memories I make time. I took off a week from the blog in order to work on his video last week, even pushing back promised work. I spent hours driving around to parks looking for a place with enough leaves to take his photo too. Everyone has something they will make time for, mine happens to be making sure my children have videos and photos from their lives that they will cherish for a lifetime to come. We already watch their old videos and laugh (or cry) together. I don’t regret the late nights and hours spent at all and look forward to the family piling onto a couch together when the kids come home from college and having a marathon video session together.