He’s a middle child.
Not the firstborn, a wickedly smart and full of caring son who holds his own special place in the family. Not the youngest, a captivating daughter who also happens to be the first girl on either side of the family since her own mother was born.
He’s had to carve out his place and make that in-between position special.
And he’s done it all with attitude, an attitude that makes him shine.
He’s been with us for three weeks this summer and I’ve probably heard this a thousand times but it always makes me stop and listen.
Because sometimes, when you’re a middle child and the family cacophony is loud, you just have to stop people and let them know you have something to say!
One evening last week I took my grandsons to a downtown Shreveport event called Hot Diggity Dog, an outreach from Central Art Station to it’s neighbors and a kickoff for a very exciting development that’s about to happen in an area adjacent to the art center called Shreveport Common.
Besides a delicious free dinner we were delighted to be treated to and included in, some amazing street music.
Six-year-old Xander was an eager participate, and the musicians willingly shared their enthusiasm and instruments with him.
I’m fascinated with neglected places and often gravitate to alleyways and old buildings to photograph them.
I find beauty in seeing how nature takes over abandoned buildings and objects but also end up feeling a bit of melancholy about such places and things. In each situation I envision what it was like when they were new and held seeds of hope and expectation.
This next set of photos is from a few months ago. I currently have two young grandsons in my care so taking them to this kind of place for new photos might not be the best idea, in fact, might even be considered as being a bit neglectful of my grandmotherly duties and responsibilities.
That would be unacceptable so I’ve headed to my archives instead.
While the sounds of little voices fill my home, I’m looking at these photos and I’m remembering “hearing” the voices of the people who were once-upon-a-time riders on this bus and wondering how this vehicle ended up here, in these silent woods, neglected by people and claimed by nature.
I never really learned to swim as a kid. I can keep myself alive and I can move forward in a reasonable fashion but have never felt completely at home in the water. I certainly never learned to dive, but despite that, every summer I would venture up onto the high dive and summon the courage to jump off.
I dreaded it every year. I have no idea why I continued to do it, even into my adult years. My sons probably dared me.
To my great relief, most pools no longer have diving boards, much less high dives, and I’ve somehow gained enough sense as I’ve aged to no longer feel the need to do things I’m afraid of….recovery takes way too long after an injury.
Enter my grandsons! They love this slide at our neighborhood pool so yesterday I climbed to the top of the steps and photographed what they see from the top.
Followed by this sequence as Judah entered the pool!
Ahhhhh…..who can argue with this quintessential image of summer…..
Or any of these for that matter, many of these gleaned from my Instagrams of past summers, and all of them, icons of the season: a public splash pad, a tire swing, two of my grandchildren with time in the day to examine bugs, garden art, soft serve ice cream cones, a hammock strung between two trees, the beach, the lake, gorgeous summer flowers in riotous bloom, the inevitable wait for baggage at the airport, a grandson joyously running through the garden hose with abandon and yes, our very own Xavier, representing the dog days of summer!
We expect to celebrate the big milestones….the birthdays, the anniversaries, the major holidays.
I would suggest however, that every day we wake to the sun’s light is a celebration.
Each moment in which we are truly present is a celebration of our awareness, as in this moment my brother shared with his first grandchild at my home last week. They were simply birdwatching, nothing monumental and not a moment that Crosby will remember, but one my brother Jim will certainly cherish. After three heartbreaking miscarriages little Crosby was certainly a great cause for celebration in this family!
Traveling…..sleeping in three very different cities….flying….driving….three time zones in two weeks….days that start with 5 a.m. sunrises and end with 10 p.m. sunsets….it all causes a person to see life in new ways.
As humans, we spend a lot of time figuratively looking back and looking forward. This week’s photo challenge reminded me to just be in the moment and concentrate on literally looking up.
Here’s some of what I saw from below this past week in the states of Michigan and Washington.