My nephew CJ is about eighteen months older than my son Cade. Their personalities are very different, and they've always lived in different states, but they're close; my entire family is close, and CJ and Cade were the only grandchildren for more than five years.
I look at these senior casuals of CJ and get a little tearful not only because he's my dear one all grown up, but also because Cade is right on his heels.
It seems like just yesterday that I was pregnant for the first time. The pregnancy had been planned, but I was completely freaked out. At the time, I didn't have words for what was happening; now, I can tell you that I was experiencing panic attacks. My ex-husband asked what would make me feel better, and I begged him to send me to my brother, who was stationed in Hawaii at the time. My ex-husband bought me a plane ticket.
I remember so much of that trip in vivid detail. CJ was just under a year old and incredibly active, flying almost tirelessly around the first floor of their home in a walker. I watched the effort my brother and sister-in-law put into caring for CJ and despaired in my mind, thinking: I will never be able to do this. I returned from Hawaii feeling even more freaked out than I had before.
Of course, I hadn't put it together in my mind that babies don't come out crawling, climbing, and zipping around in a walker. What's more, kids are different, and CJ's a much busier sort than Cade. Jim and I always laugh recalling that--when we took CJ and Cade to Disney World--we heard very little out of Cade besides: "CJ, wait! Wait, CJ!"
It was my great pleasure--my greatest pleasure, actually--to take CJ's senior casuals. So much of my reward in learning how to use my camera is in being able to capture my own precious ones in my own way. My eyes and heart love this fun-loving young man, who burst into our family and paved a road all his own. I believe in who he is and who he is becoming, and I'm so thankful to be in his cloud of witnesses.