April 8… The day God introduced me to “My Reason”

The anticipation as you entered this world. Watching, waiting, with eager eyes.
With what seemed like forever, your beautiful cry finally silenced the room. Tears fell, I could no longer contain them and joy consumed me. At first glance 10 little fingers, 10 little toes, all too familiar… they were just like mine. In that moment our lives forever changed. The heart within that was once so carefully guarded now rested in your tiny little hand. You were the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. Your bright eyes and untamed spirit fascinated me and completed me.

You continue to surprise me every day as you grow! You are full of such love, light, and independence! From day one you held your head up with strength consuming your surroundings. By six months you were crawling wherever you felt like going. At ten months you were taking steps, waiving bye-bye, playing peek-a-boo, saying momma and dadda, laughing and being very expressive. We managed to tackle potty training, skinned knees, band-aids, even a few stitches and “all better” sugars.

April 8, 2008 – You are three years old this year. I bought you your first bicycle, Lord I don’t think training wheels were made to roll that fast!

April 8, 2009 – You are four years old. I love reading you bedtime stories and watching your face light up as you begin to recognize the letters on the pages. I love when you pick up a crayon and write your own name, and when you run to get your folder to show us your happy faces from school. I loved the excitement in your eyes as you ran around the bases at your first t-ball game, and again when Chacey and I took you to see the Texas Rangers play. Our Rangers were in there first World Series last year!

April 8, 2010 – You are five years old. We adopted your first companion and added on to our little family. You named her Sunny dog. Oh my, what fun it is to watch you both play, and touching when we go to wake you up in the mornings and find her curled up next to you. You are so smart Jace, and so loving!

April 8, 2011 – 6 years old??? It is hard to believe. You are growing up so fast! We accomplished so many things during this past year. We finally have our very own home complete with a backyard and plenty of room for you and Sunny dog to play. You started a new school this year and though I know it was scary for you, you faced it with such courage and have adjusted so well. Just this morning, you played your very first soccer game with the Wildcats. The score was 2-1 with five minutes left in the game; you found your way to the ball and carried it all the way to the goal to tie the game! I hope you always remember the sound of your family cheering you on as we will always do!

April 8, 2012 – Here we go again son. Your birthday falls on Easter this year, you will be 7 years old soon. My heart is full, as we celebrate God, we will also celebrate you! He knew exactly what he was doing when he placed you into my life, and for that I am forever grateful.
April 8, 2013 – You are sleeping sweetly tonight. I just finished homework and am smiling as I remember where I was eight years ago. I was in labor getting closer and closer to meeting you. It has been another amazing year son. Chacey and I took you to Washington DC on Thanksgiving day, you were such a big boy on your first plane ride, not scared a bit though that no longer surprises me! You read “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” the whole flight and finished a second book while we were there. You finally got to see the White House and your hero “Abraham Lincoln’s” memorial, and the place where he spent his last moments on this earth. You simply amaze me, I am so happy that you are interested in History. It is important to know where we come from and to remember those who fought so hard for the privileges that you enjoy today. As Maya Angelou says, “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” I have no doubt you will be successful in carving your own piece of history one day. You are a natural born leader.
You are in your second year with the Red Sox and Preston is playing with you this year. You boys are so funny, and I am so grateful you have one another! By the way, you also have another dog you brought home from your dad’s named Roxie, and a cat named CC. This place is turning into a small zoo… did I mention the two ninja turtles?
April 8, 2014 – You are 9 years old today Jace, I can hardly believe it. I don’t even want to think about hitting double digits next year! What a year this has been. Life happened, and you faced a very difficult time with losing two precious uncles this year (Uncle Robert & Uncle Ricky) . Your Dad, Chacey, and I sat down with you and had those difficult conversations about death, heaven, and many other things. We wiped your tears and held you tight, and we always will. Though we have all been through it before, it hurt us deeply to watch you go through it as well. No matter what, always keep them in your heart and thank God for the precious moments that you got to spend with them. They live on through you. As long as you live, they live. As long as you live, they will be remembered. As long as you live, they will be loved.
Chacey and I took you to see the ocean for the first time this year as well. We took you to Clearwater Beach, Florida. You got to see Winter the Dolphin with a prosthetic tail, pet sting rays, and ride jet skis in the ocean. Once while out on the water we saw a huge sea turtle surface in front of us. Your brilliant mother (me) also flooded the jet ski which floated us out beyond the suggested sea barrier. You screamed for your life! But, we made it back safely and even had several dolphins jumping in our wake on the way back. We told you the ocean wasn’t that scary once you got in it, and you certainly found your sea legs! We love you so very much young man, I suppose I can start calling you that now since you aren’t so little any more.
P.S. We have another cat which you rescued from the Children’s Courtyard. We aren’t certain if it is a male or a female. It looks like Garfield and is the mostly lovable cat I have ever seen. It sleeps with you too.
April 08, 2015
I can’t believe you will be 10 years old in just a few short hours. Wow! The double digits have arrived. You are not just getting older, you have managed to outgrow every pair of clothing/shoes you had at the beginning of this school year. You have increased 3 shoe sizes and 2 shirt/pant sizes as well. I joke with you often about getting a job so I can afford to keep you.
This is also your last year of elementary school. Chacey and I took a tour of Asa Low Intermediate School a few weeks ago (where you will start a new journey as you venture into fifth grade next year). It is huge compared to Roberta Tipps. You will have a rotating schedule, lockers, gym classes, and endless opportunities to pursue whatever extracurricular activity you decide to choose.
You played football for the first time this year. You and Preston played for the Mansfield Longhorns and your dad drove down to be by your side for every game. You loved that. Once again, even being the smallest kid on the team, you faced it without hesitation and put your whole heart in it. You made us proud. You kept telling Chacey that the coaches put you on “defensive line,” and with her knowledge of football she kept saying “there is no way!” I was clueless, football is not my thing, and tried to explain to her what I observed from the practice field sideline (insert laymen’s terms). Well, after attending your game and picking her jaw up off of the ground she apologized to you. You were in fact playing “defensive line” as the littlest man on the team. One day I hope to be as awesome as you.
We also had another devastating loss this year. Our amazing Grandpa, Tim Conatser passed on February 15. I am grateful we were able to spend valuable time with him and made sure he knew how loved and special he was to us. He instilled a deep love of music in me which I have shared with you. I recently heard you singing every word to a Creedence Clearwater Revival song and smiled knowing that it came from a place much deeper than that, it is another precious memory of him living on through you. I have no doubt that made Grandpa smile as well.
Son, I hope your 10th birthday is just as incredible as you are. As you face changes over the next year, continue to embrace them with the same eager spirit you have always had and know that we will always have your back.

April 08, 2016

Here we go again.  My sweet boy, you will be 11 years old tomorrow.  I am listening to your contagious laugh as I type this, you and your friend Samuel are splashing around in the pool… IN APRIL!  That’s one of the things I love most about your spirit, you know how to live life and you have fun while doing it.

This last year has been full of changes yet you’ve marched through it with a strength and grace beyond your years.  You started a brand new school this year as you left elementary school behind you.  You and I rode bikes to school together on you first day and surprisingly you weren’t embarrassed to have mom tagging along with you, at least not yet.  I watched you walk in with your large backpack wearing a smile on your face and just knew you would be okay.

You are now riding to school without me and I am so proud of how responsible you are.  You have become quite the basketball pro and have finally managed to beat me at a few games, you tell me you want to be the next Michael Jordan.  We have been searching for a team in Mansfield and will start there.  I look forward to watching you continue to grow on the court sweet boy.

We have another pet named Jr, a tiny turtle who made his way from your grandparent’s farm in Oklahoma to our house in Texas… TWICE!  The first time you brought him home you and I spent a couple of hours building a crate for him in the garage.  It turned out pretty sweet.  We put a little gravel pond in it with dirt, a flat basking rock and plenty of fresh plants for him to eat.  Well, then we sat him outside to sun bath while we went to town to run some errands. Somehow he managed to escape while we were gone and it broke your heart.  I stayed up until 11pm that night searching the yard with a LED light… no luck.

Last weekend you went back to Oklahoma to visit your dad and called me so excited.  You told me that you found Jr, “mom it has to be him, Jr had the same markings and even had the same left lazy eye”!  Dear God… I love being your mother.  You keep us laughing!  Jr is back in Texas and is doing well.  I have renamed him El Chapo and his crate has been escape proofed (hopefully).

April 08, 2017

You are twelve years old today which means this is the last year we have with you before you officially turn into a teenager.  I cannot even believe I am saying that.  Time really does pass so quickly and I am trying to cherish every second of it with you.

This last year has been an exciting one.  We finally took that cross country road trip I had been promising you.  It is by far one of my most cherished memories of our time together.  We spent one week on the road without any real plan or schedule to follow and it was heaven considering how busy our lives typically are.

We stopped at Cadillac Ranch just outside of Amarillo TX and drank a couple of root beer together in honor of your late grandpa, my dad.  This became a tradition at every stop and it meant the world to me because it was your idea.  I know he was smiling at you too.

Now… Interstate 40 is LOOOOONG and after we were on it for some time you started coming up with ideas to keep us entertained.  It started with a carpool karaoke video and continued to grow from there.  By the end of that week we had more wigs, props and social media followers than I could keep up with.  You were HILARIOUS!

Here’s a link to one of your videos, you named the series “RoadTrip Rhythms”:

https://youtu.be/kAwuiqY-HpU

We made it to the Grand Canyon and it was absolutely breathtaking.  We scheduled a sunrise hike after staying a night there and hiked three miles into the canyon.  You cracked me up because you were so worried about falling over the edge, but you put your brave face on as you do with everything else in life… and you kept going.  Going down wasn’t bad… coming back up?  Lord… we were both trying to hail a helicopter or a donkey to get back to the top!

From there I took you to Los Angeles to see where I used to live.  We met several of my old friends and they loved you.  It was surreal going back with you, it was like coming around full circle.  You were the reason that I left, an answer to my prayers.

In addition to those moments, you made some big decisions of your own.  You got baptized this year and formed a better understanding and a closer relationship with God.  I cannot adequately express in words how proud I am of you and the young man that you are becoming.  Hold tight to your faith.

You also decided it was time to play baseball again and you are working hard at becoming a pitcher.  When it’s not raining we can almost always be found throwing a ball back and a forth after school/work, or rallying your friends and the neighborhood kids around to form a baseball team for practice.  I love every second of it.

You also signed up for the track team next year at Wester Middle School and just completed a week long running exercise at school.  You ran a total of 100 laps = 25 miles and became part of the “25 mile club” at Asa E Low Intermediate.  So proud!

Keep being the beautiful, kind, loving, adventurous, funny, incredible soul that you are.  Don’t forget to pray, give thanks, help others as often as you can, and love like there is no tomorrow. I love you as big as the sky and more.  You make me so proud… You make me a better me.

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