So we made a big deal out of it. We put his 100% award in a frame to keep in his room and took him out to the movies. We saw Star Wars Episode I in 3D.
Earlier in the day, I sent text messages to our family members asking them to call Elliot. Later in the evening, he was rewarded with a long call from his big sister Emily and a Skype call from Uncle Roger.
It's not easy for me to acknowledge that my little son is quickly turning into a big kid.
But it's true.
And I can't stop time.
But it's okay. Richard and I are enjoying the freedom to do more things as a family that we might have avoided when he was little. Like Kayaking, hiking bigger mountains, or ordinary things like preparing a meal in the kitchen together.
So as the sun keeps returning to the sky, brighter days are waking up the Earth, releasing the first scents of spring. Bird song is returning to the trees. A new season of growth is beginning.
And the house next door sits empty, as a man who is our dear friend needs lots of nursing care.
I sit here at my post and can't help noticing that time is passing. This February marks my tenth year in North Carolina.
I have been here ten years, and so much has changed. I have changed. I look back on age 30 and think of myself then as an adolescent. Ten years and I've aged internally, externally and spiritually.
It's hard for me to sit here and think that maybe I'll be sitting here still, ten years into the future, with the pictures of nature looking the same (as leaves, grass and flowers get to be renewed every year) but the people looking older. I wonder if I'll look back and ask myself why I felt the need to document it.
Maybe there were insights that arose from the writing that changed everything.
Maybe there were pictures that helped me to feel the importance of savoring moments.
Maybe (most assuredly) there were friends who stopped by to make the journey brighter.