Eight Year Old Gibson

by Byron on July 29, 2022


The other night, we had a sleepover in your room, just me and you.  I got the top bunk.  We had so much fun that we did it the next night too!  The second night we watched the second half of My Octopus Teacher – a truly beautiful piece of work about man and nature.

In the last six months you’ve been biting your nails.  Recently you got so frustrated that you couldn’t stop biting your nails and you were

Two nights ago we got on Simba cam at the Orioles game.  It was awesome.  Simba cam is where parents hold up their little ones – usually babies.  Not us … I was holding up my full on eight-year old!!  I was even flipping you upside down.  I recently saw on social media that one day parents will pick up their babies for the last time without even knowing it.  How heartbreaking.  Except … not yet for us!

As you bite your nails, while your active brain is processing all that you’re learning about the world and people, I think back to when you were really little at Bryn Mawr little school.  I think about simple the world was and how saying hi to everyone was your life.  You stood at the entrance to your classroom, which one year was at the entrance of the school, and greeted parents and kids.  You were the mayor of the little school.  It was adorable.

I hope you always remember that life actually can be that easy.  I know, as life layers so much on top, that it can feel like the world is just piling on.  But remember, as I am trying to remember, that you can just come back to being that guy who says hi to everyone.  That guy who is simply kind, unencumbered by all the world has layered on top.  You can.  You definitely can.  I know this because I know I can and will try, even if it is difficult and even if I fail.  I will be the better for trying.

I think you are wonderful.  I am so proud of you.




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Summer 2021

by Byron on August 24, 2021

A medium bodied mid-atlantic ocean wave is maybe the only thing that can make a middle-aged father of two feel as graceful as a swan.  You dive into the wave, but straight on.  You let the volume of water push you up to standing, so when the wave passes you, you’re merely standing in mid-stomach deep water, having just dove through a wave as easy other animal interacting with the world.

When the wave is too little, you risk getting tossed about or thrown to your knees.  When the wave is too big, you’re still somewhat graceful, but you’re just swimming on the other side.

I dive through the waves by the hundred on the beach with you guys.  You’re usually no more than twenty-five feet from me.  I know exactly where you are when I dive in, and the first thing I do on the other side is find you.

Being in the waves with you guys is one of the places that I think might be heaven on earth.  If I remember nothing else from this life, I think I’d like to remember the waves with you guys.  You smiling.  Your faces hardening against the fear of a big wave.  And those same faces filled with accomplishment on the other side of the wave.

I want to remember skip ball, tossing the ball with you guys between people.  Seeing how good our hands can be and how smooth and accurate our throws.  The world empties our around you when all you have to do is throw and catch a ball.

I want to remember the first time Gib ignored his pain and fear and rode the wave on a boogie board.  Then did it six more times even though the wipeouts tried to scare him back.  (That was just today, our last day of summer 2021.)

I want to remember how the summer started for Decker’s waves.  Needing my hand with each possible under.  Then remember how the summer ended … Decker diving into giant whitewater to get drug in to shore.  And diving into the face of big waves with the skip ball in hand or in flight.

I want to remember Mom braving the ocean for the 7th time this summer.

I want to remember the heat and the sand.  And how cold the water is when you spend a few minutes in the sun.  I want to remember all those pretzels from the Edgewater store.  I want to remember the quick dips in the Edgewater pool before getting back onto the tram to go home.  I want to remember walking up Lakeshore to get Violet.

I want to remember Gibby’s freckles and high-pitch excitement and obscure knowledge of football players and statistics.  I want to remember Decker’s assertiveness, eager to make plans for anyone who would follow him.  I want to remember Decker talking with his hands, pointing a finger with a thumb up when he thinks you get his point.

I want to remember the J’s and how Julianna and Decker get along.  I want to remember Ropewalk and Aunts and Uncles and cousins.  And grandparent trips.  I want to remember the arcades and Nicola’s and the Sea Dragon that looks like it’s going to fly into that little white house.  Who buys that house anyway? And I want to remember the games, the horses and the toilet bowls and shot after shot after shot after shot in basketball.

I want to remember all the tennis.  And realizing how good you guys are.  And remembering tennis baseball.  Run after run.  For the card store, for extra basketball shot or toilet bowl games.

I want to remember all the things I’m already forgetting, just writing this.

I want to remember how lucky we are.

I want to remember the waves.

I want to remember you three, just like this.

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