Tuesday, April 29, 2008

From Cute to Sullen and Back Again

I have spent the last week or so going through old photographs. I am putting together some bulletin boards of pictures from the last 18 years with Mr 18. I plan to set them around for his Graduation and Open House. It is hilarious to go back through old photos and be reminded of the many things we have all done together. Most of them against the will of Mr 18 as he grew older, but he found himself having fun anyway.

I have noticed quite a trend in pictures of him though. I have a ton of pictures of him from when he was a baby, he was my first, and so darn cute with little dimples, that I photographed everything he did. I have an entire bulletin board devoted to just baby pictures of him. I had to cull them down and add older photos, because really, other than me, who wants to look at a whole board of baby pictures? After I finished a board of his baby, toddler and preschool years I moved on to his elementary and middle school years. While I have a lot of photos of the early elementary years, I find that I really have to scrounge for pictures from those late elementary and middle school years. The photos I do find are of him scowling, or refusing to look at the camera, or hiding his head. Apparently in those years having your mother take your picture opens your soul up to the devil, so you must hide!
{geez Mom, must you be so-o-o-o embarrassing? }
I was able to gather enough pictures to give a good representation of his years and what he was up to and how fast his looks changed. He went from cute and cuddly to gangly, long haired, shaggy and (shhh) pimply, just in those short years. I knew he changed quickly, but I never realized until I set photos side by side the huge differences.
Every year on the first day of school I take a picture of the kids in front of our front door. It's a great reference to see how much they have grown. I put that picture from 6th, 7th and 8th grade side by side on a board. On the 6th grade picture he's a good 8 inches shorter than the window and by the 8th grade picture he has reached the window. As those years went by I didn't see those huge changes, but now looking at the photos all I can think about is how fast he grew up, literally up.
The next board I am working on is already full to overflowing with pictures. Apparently once you are in high school, you want pictures of everything you ever do. And you are willing to pose with your friends in some weird symbol of brotherhood while your mom snaps photos. This year, his senior year, Mr 18 has repeatedly asked me to bring a camera to his events, and then we take picture after picture after picture. The most amazing part is that he smiles when he's with his friends! With those very expensive teeth showing, a miracle I tell you!
I look forward to choosing these photos and getting it ready for his Open House. But I'm not sure if when the time comes, I will have the strength to take those photos off the bulletin board and set them aside. It's the end of an era for us.
Some days I am ready, well, most days, for him to head out that door. But then looking back over the photos where he's happy, and so darn cute, I'm not ready. Deep down inside I wish he would stay small, stay with me, and never grow up.
Then reality hits, and I change my mind, quickly!

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