I think we all know what went wrong last year, but I think I’ll appreciate writing down the things that went right to look back on over time.
This was a year of immense growing up for the kids. In so many dimensions – academically, emotionally, socially – they’re all completely new people in a way I don’t think I’ve noticed before.
Amelia has an incredibly strong group of friends. It’s much smaller than what I remember having in elementary school, but the quality of the connections is much deeper. They’re around each other constantly which worries me. Won’t they grow tired of each other? But honestly – they don’t. And it amazes me.
It’s incredibly hard to be a father to a modern girl. You have to instill in girls confidence that they don’t inherently have. Not push the spunk out of them even though it can drive you crazy. Amelia and her gaggle of friends have random fears of the world that make no sense to me. So how do you push them through those fears without turning them off to experiencing life? I haven’t figured it out.
Amelia has fallen in love with gymnastics. She swims like a fish. Piano, singing – we’re trying to find an art, but we’re not quite there yet. I wish she would read and write more, but she did play Belle in the Spring Production of Beauty and the Beast.
More than anything though, she’s becoming a highly opinionated, strong willed young lady. And before too long, she’ll be ten years old!
Luka spent the year amazing me and driving me crazy simultaneously. Fewer opinions, but moody as hell. Smart as a whip, but the street smarts of Princess Jasmine from Aladdin. Obsessed with things at a level that fascinates me, but laziness that drives me crazy.
It’s equally hard to be a father to a modern boy. Especially one who is as sensitive as Luka. I really need him to toughen up a bit. The world is cruel. But he carries the world’s emotions with him. He makes himself responsible for the well being of everyone else – almost always to the expense of himself. It’s hard to watch, but on the flip side it makes me incredibly proud of him. How much he cares. How much he nurtures.
Luka had one line this year that I just won’t ever forget. They were talking about marriage with Laurel, and he said – “You’re supposed to marry your best friend, and so I guess I’ll marry Reeves.” There was no stigma. No real concern about the comment. Just pure love for his friend. And I think it captures the Luka of this moment perfectly.
Luka is obsessed with football and Pokemon. He plays Minecraft. Incredible reader and mathematician. Lazy as can be when it comes to writing. Plays a small bit of piano. We might even start a Christmas tree business this summer together. I really love this guy – even if I’m scared of how the world will abuse him one day.
And then there’s Theo. He’s absolutely the extreme of everything. Screams at you one second. Cuddles you the next. Bites you. Then he wants to play a game with you.
Theo spends way too much time being asked to copy or live up to what his siblings are doing. That’s where we’ve failed him the most. But as we establish his own friend group and his own patterns his own personality is really starting to shine. He’s got his pod, and his buddy Owen, and they’re great together.
At one point during the early lockdown a family with another five year old was up in Catskill with us. The two of them escaped everyone else, had their pizza, and then walked together to the playground. They were just desperate for friends their own age. And it was so incredibly delightful.
Theo is incredibly smart. Loves to swim. But his mean streaks are intense. No one in our family loves Eevee the way he does. They’re often together in her kennel. Or seen wrestling in the living room floor.
We’re building a board game together, and I think I get the most 1-on-1 time with him relative to the other kiddos. He really is my last baby, and I’m feeling the baby phase disappear. That’s hard because I don’t feel done, but we’re not going to have any more children. But I’m enjoying the hell out of this last baby phase.
It hasn’t been an easy year. It has been a year of transition. A year where the kids really grew up, and while growth has pains it’s also a wonderful journey to travel. Especially with these three.
Let’s see what 2021 brings us.