On Growing Up

Son,

There is going to be a time when you grow up. It seems like it happens a little bit each day, and I look back a month ago at who you were and it blows my mind how much you’ve changed. I think that growing up is something that is so much more apparent when you’re young, but seeing you grow into a little boy reminds me that we’re all growing up a little bit more each day.

There is going to be a time, maybe 18 or 19 years from now, when you and I sit down and listen to a John Mayer album called Continuum. The whole thing is about John growing up from your 20s into his 30s, but also about how that looks from his dad’s point of view. As we listen to the songs, I am going to remind you that while time feels like it drags on in the moment, there is a much bigger picture with a much bigger story to learn from.

Right now, you’re in the room next to me fighting a nap. You have your whole life in front of you and it’s been the best thing in the world seeing you grow from an infant into this little boy that I love so much. I think your mom wants to hit the pause button and keep you young forever, but I am most excited to learn, teach, and grow together with you.

Because that’s the thing. Until your mom and I got married, I kind of felt like I was growing on my own. I had my own things and sure, my parents guided me in a lot of ways, but I never felt like it was something that we did “together.” Then when your mom and I got together, it felt a little bit like we were on this single path. We stopped eating meat together. We focused on happiness, fitness, and then family. Now that you’re here, I feel like this whole new stage of growth is happening to all of us.

I love seeing you learn things by experiencing them. I love seeing you stand next to a door, look around, and decide whether or not to try stepping away from the door. I love seeing you laugh after you get everyone’s attention by clap-clap-clap — pause — and go about your business. You are going to be something else as you continue to grow, and I can’t wait to be by your side as long as you’ll let me.

Growing up is something that only seems to happen in the past. Plans, dreams, goals all happen ahead of us, but growth is only realized by looking backward. If I could teach you one thing, it would be that growth DOESN’T actually happen in the past, but it is a constant in our lives. You are growing all the time, developing all the time, and evolving into who you are and who you’re meant to be all the time. Growth leads us to where we want to go, and it’s so important to realize that as you make daily decisions in the present.

Now that you’re done fighting your nap and settled in, I’m also reminded that it is OK to slow down. Growth might be happening all the time, but we have to be OK to take a step back, take a good nap, and reset.

I love you with every part of who I am, who I’ve been, and who I’ll be. You are my absolute favorite thing and you always will be. Don’t be afraid to be who you are, and understand that you can still grow up and be the goofy, super-smart, amazing person that you are and will always be.

-Dad

On Long Time No See – Don’t Hold it Against Me

Son,

I’m sorry. Due to some technical difficulties and a busy holiday season, I haven’t written to you. I’m not making excuses. If I wanted to figure it out, I would have. That’s on me. Let’s move on…

You just turned 11 months old the other day, and holy f#*%^ing moly things have changed since I’ve last written you. You’re basically walking, identifying me, your mom, your dog, your Deb, and the school buses in the neighborhood.

But before we get into things, check you out, you stud you!

ryanreags
Us being bros
reags smile
Cheesin’ for a reason
bus hunt
On the hunt for school buses

Anyone, now that we’re past the whole “four months no posts” thing, we can move forward. You are an amazing little man, Reagan James. In the past four months, you’ve visited family in Orlando and Cleveland, had your first Christmas and New Year (spoiler alert, neither you nor your parents made it till midnight), and amped up your personality tenfold. Seriously, if you took a personality test, you’d set the bar. You’re a goof ball, you love your dog, and you’re so smart.

Next big to do for you is your first birthday. Not going to ruin the surprise, but let’s just say it’s going to be one heck of a hot dog day.

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(it’s Mickey Mouse Clubhouse themed)…

Anyway, best that I wrap this up since I haven’t posted in months and the last thing I want to do is sit on this any longer before posting. The last thing I’ll say is that you’re the best little man your mom and I could possibly have in the house, you make my whole day just from the first moment I see you in the morning, and your mom and I love you so so much.

On Seven Months, Scoots, and your Favorite Things

Son,

The other day, you turned seven months old. What this means is

  • a. it’s been a few weeks since I’ve last written you (sorry)
  • 2. you have lots of new skills that I haven’t mentioned to you yet
  • d. Rogue hasn’t eaten you yet, so things are progressing nicely

You can pretty much sit up all by yourself, which is cool, and you’re eating solid foods. You’re in this “I don’t want my bottle in the afternoon” phase, which is not cool, but your mom and I are persistent and we usually get it down one way or another.

Last week, we took some family pictures in the same place we did our pregnancy announcement pictures. You did great, and the whole thing went pretty easily. We don’t have the pics yet, but I’ve seen some of the proofs and they look great.

We also took advantage of our pool for the first time this summer one day before it was set to shut down, despite the fact that it is still 90* outside — you loved it! Your mom and I figured you’d be a water baby based on how much you like taking baths (evidence below).

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Your mom showed me a side-byside-by-side picture of you at one month, four months, and just now seven months all in the same chair. It’s crazy how much you change. You went from this little baby to this little boy with all the personality in the world and the biggest and best cheesy smile. I’m sure you’ll be crawling and walking in no time.

The other thing we love is you cruising around in your little scooter. We’re considering changing your name to “scoots” because you are a pro in this thing. Rogue is not the biggest fan of this thing, as you have a way of bull rushing him and he doesn’t know what to do.

Other things you are into these days are:

  • not finishing your bottle
  • bouncing
  • sitting on the front porch and neighborhood watching
  • walks around the neighborhood while mom wears you
  • water – pool, bath, washing hands
  • Mickey’s Clubhouse and the Hot Diggity Dog Song

I just want to end this by saying that I love being your dad. I think you’re the coolest guy I know and I can’t wait to continue watching you grow each day, and see what the next thing you learn to do is because it’ll be just as exciting for your mom and I as it is for you!

 

On 3 Month Olds and Plane Travel

Grading your performance on your first trip to Orlando.

On 3 Month Olds and Plane Travel

Son,

This past weekend, we took you to Orlando to see you Mimi and Papa (I think those are the names that were informally chosen, but that might be subject to change). We took you on your first airplane trip, each way consisting of less than two hours of total fly time. Below is your report card for how you did on this Mother’s Day travel weekend.

Please note: while a majority of your grades revolve around the travel aspect of this trip, additional consideration was given to hours spent during leisure and non-recreational activities as well.

Temperament

Grade:  B-

The flight down started well, as you slept for about the first 45 minutes of the flight. The next 60 minutes were divided into bouts of anger, mixed in with your mom and I bouncing like idiots to soothe you. The way back, you woke up right before the plane took off, and there was a pretty even split between light sleep, mild anger, cute sounds, and reading/toy playing.

Cleanliness

Grade:  B+

There was only one “instance” that happened during the trip. While one bad diaper wouldn’t normally drop you down a whole letter grade, the fact that it happened the only time we visited your grandma’s friends’ house, and that the “substance of question” ran up your back and ruined your outfit does drop it from an A to a B. You get the “B+” because your mom and I forgot to bring the changing pad, and careful improvisation had to be done.

Cuteness

Grade:  A+

A-friggin’-plus, buddy. You know how to turn on the charm, even when you’re upset. You pulled out all the tricks — a bottom lip you could hang stockings from, the toothless morning smile from your burrito-swaddle, and how fly you look in your baseball cap! Flirting with girls on the plane, listening to the Ojays with your Papa, you passed with flying colors.

Sleep Factor

Grade:  B

You napped like a champ, and it only took you a minute or two to go down for the most part. The biggest issue was sleeping through the night. You usually gave us a good stretch initially, but between 3:00-6:00, you liked to wake up and talk…loudly. You didn’t want to sleep on the plane very much, but we won’t hold that against you since it was your first flight.

Overall

Grade:  A-

The trip itself had a few bumps, but you did a pretty good job with the travel aspect and being a cool little man with Mimi and Papa. Your mom and I look forward to many more trips with you in the future, but maybe we’ll wait until you’re just a bit older before we travel (commercial) again.

On Your Mother and I – Pre-Reagan

On Your Mother and I – Pre-Reagan

I  have talked a lot about your mom on here because, well, she is kind of a big deal. There are more things to say about her than I can do in any one post, so I will probably have a lot of these posts dedicated to her. This one is about how we met, and what we did in between that day and the day we had you.

It was a chilly December evening when…

Just kidding.

Early dating

Your mom and I were set up by a co-worker of mine at a job I didn’t like very much in 2011. Someone I worked with told me about a girl who worked at the Builders Exchange, to which I thought “jackpot!” I can’t remember why, but I only saw one headshot-style picture of her, saw that she was pretty (from what I could tell) and agreed to meet her.

My company was having a Christmas party, and I got her email and started talking to her to get to know her a little bit. I think my coworker invited her to the party, and I was convinced that there would be awkward exchange if we were just getting to know each other, so maybe we could get to know each other a little bit through email first, and cut down on the awkwardness.

Anyway, we emailed back and forth a bunch the week before the party, and I spent most of my work days trying to write the perfect response to her emails. We ended up having a pretty good time at the Christmas party, and decided to go out on a few more dates.

Things moved somewhat quickly between your mom and I, and we moved in together after about 6 months of dating. Her rent was up and I was house-sitting, living at your grandparents house while they lived at an apartment with your uncle Tyler and aunt Paige. She lived with me there for a few weeks while we looked for our first apartment together.

RK Vegas

Living Together

We moved to a two bedroom apartment in New Albany and learned how to live with each other. Apparently we were really good at it, because we decided not too long after to add Rogue into the mix. As much as we learned about each other when it was just the two of us, we learned a whole lot more when Rogue came along. We learned how to compromise a little bit, and what life was like when you had to account for another life all the time. We also got engaged a little while after Rogue arrived, and he helped to set up all the balloons around the apartment after I proposed.

Soon after we got Rogue, we moved to Dublin. We planned a wedding there and eventually got married (I don’t mean to blow through that part, but I’m sure there will be other posts that go into that in a little more detail). Your mom and I had fun in Dublin. We went on more walks because the sidewalks there were super wide and we could all walk next to each other. We looked at big houses that were out of our price range and talked about how we’d like to live in that house, but not that house, and when we have the money, we’ll have something like that! 

I think it’s important to look ahead like that and dream a little bit. Sometimes, we would drive around country club neighborhoods with huge houses, pick out “the one” that we want the most, and talk about what we’ll do once we live there. In the winter, we sometimes drive around those big neighborhoods and look at the Christmas lights because they always look so good (except the color lights — ask your mom about color lights when you’re older).

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Powell Peeps

After about a year and a half, we moved to Powell. We found a brewery and a restaurant we dubbed as our own, and your mom finally broke away from the corporate world and began working for herself. This, along with one last big trip, were the final hurdles we wanted to clear before we decided we were ready to bring a baby into the mix.

The last big trip came when we went to Ireland for a week in 2016. It was my #1-overall-top-bucket-list-travel-wanderlust place I’d always wanted to go, and we did. There were so many funny stories and memories made that trip! I can’t wait to go back someday with you.

Anyway, we got back, and began talking about whether we were ready for a “human puppy” as Rogue liked to say. Your mom thought she needed just one more trip, so we went to Savannah and Hilton Head for a few days. Once we got back, we were a little more sure that we were ready for a baby. Not too long after that plus 10 months, you came along and changed the game forever!

 

On Being a Son

On Being a Son

There is a song by Lee Brice called, “Boy.” I remember your mom told me to listen to it when she was very pregnant with you and she told me it made her cry. Naturally, since everything from Crest commercials to reality TV shows made her cry at that point of the pregnancy, I told her I’d listen to it and didn’t think too much more about it. But then I saw the video of the song and it made me tear up a bit too.

I think a lot of people make a big to-do about what it means to be a father, but there are things you need to do to be a good son, as well. I am lucky enough to be the son of two different dads, which is something I am proud of but something that I never want for you. Being a son doesn’t stop when you turn 18, or when you have a child of your own.

I understand you might not read this until you are older. And I hope that anything I might say to you now I will have the ability to teach you so that by the time you read this, these things are already ingrained into you.

Be honest

One of the most important things you can do as a son is to be honest with people, especially to your family. You are going to do things you aren’t proud of when you’re young and as you grow older, but a good man owns his mistakes and lives with the consequences. No matter what you do in life, no matter how bad, your mom and I will love you through it and help you however we can.

Try Hard

Your mother and I are going to spend a lot of energy trying to teach you how to use your brain and your abilities to make you into the best version of yourself, just like my mom and dads did for me. “Try hard” doesn’t mean you have to always get straight A’s or be the best one on your team, but it means that when you put your effort into something, put all your effort into it.

Be Polite

Kindness is the best reflection on your mother and I that we could ask from you. If you love and value your parents, be polite to everyone and show that you are a good reflection of us.

Find what you love and do it

The most important thing you can do to be a good son is to do the things that make you happy. Your mother and I will live through your joy and want nothing but the best things for you. Do not settle, and use every opportunity you can to find what you love, and surround yourself with people and things that will allow you to keep that love and make a life around it.

You don’t have to set the world on fire to be a good son. You’ve already showed me that you like dancing with me to good music (not that John Legend isn’t good music, but when you calm down to Tangled Up in Blue, it makes my heart happy). Your mom and I will do our part by setting a good example, and your grandparents will make sure you are showered in love. Your job is to just be the little man you are destined to be, follow your arrow, and be the best son you can be — I know you will!

03-14-18

On your Grandmother

On your Grandmother

There will be a lot of people who will be a part of your life. Your mother and I will probably be the most important, at least until you meet a girl, fall in love, and make a little blog like this one of your own. But your GM Whitt will be one of the most important people in your life, because she has been one of the most important people in my life.

You are lucky enough to have many grandmas and grandpas, and all of them will love you like crazy from now until forever. And I will talk about all of them at some point so you know where you came from and understand all the people who love you and who will shape your life.

But this is about your GM Whitt, and it’s no coincidence that this is being posted on her birthday. She is one of the most incredible people I’ve ever met. She is one of six children, and had to take on a lot of responsibilities helping to raise her brothers and sisters when she was just a kid herself. She has always wanted the best for herself and for her family, and you are so lucky that she will want the best for you, and she will show you how to get the best out of yourself.

You won’t meet anyone as committed as your GM Whitt. When I was younger, she sat through double-header baseball games, sometimes with your uncle Tyler and/or Aunt Paige when they were babies just so she could watch me play. She was able to move your uncle Jordan and I to Florida and get us acclimated to a new state and new school and new friends, all while going to school for he PA degree. She was bettering our lives by taking on so much, and she did it while still making sure we were having fun and having a childhood.

Your GM Whitt is super funny, too. I think she learned how to be funny from me, aka her favorite child. I think that means that since I am her favorite child, and you are my favorite child, the transitive property says you are the favorite grandchild (sorry McKinley and Cora!). She has a great sense of humor and, no pun intended, has more wit than anyone else. She can be sarcastic and caring at the same time, and she knows how to make everybody feel included, loved, and welcome wherever she goes.

Everyone’s age changes on their birthday, but your GM Whitt changes age differently than most. Last year she was 37, and this year she’s 43. It’s kind of a “wake up and see how old you feel” kind of thing for her most years, but she always looks years younger than whatever age she thinks she is every year.

I hesitate to say this, but your GM Whitt will give you anything you want. If you tell her you want to see the Pacific Ocean, she will book the two of you a trip in a week to fly out and book a hotel right on the water so you would wake up and it would be the first thing you saw. She writes letters to you and your cousins every week and mails them to you because she wants you to feel loved at all times. I hope that the two of you develop a special relationship and you let her take you on all kinds of exciting adventures like she did with me when I was young. She’s even taking you to England this fall for your first big adventure!

So be sure to tell your GM Whitt that you love her as often as you have the chance. Draw her a picture and pick her flowers and tell her that she’s pretty whenever you can. Find something that is special to the two of you. Make as many memories as you can with her, because those will be the best memories. Snuggle on her and sing to her and make her feel as special as she is whenever you can, because she will do all those things for you, plus so much more.

02-27-18