Thursday, April 30, 2009

3 Years and Counting (Oh, and Lucia says Da Da)

It's become our annual tradition. Every year we pack up our clothes, toys, diapers, baby bottles, and babies and head to Long Branch, NJ for a librarian conference. I joke around with Alexa and say that the police department of Long Branch always have their hands full every year when multitudes of NJ librarians get together to party!!! But really, it's fun for me and the kids because we get to go to the beach. Beach weather it wasn't this year, but we still found a way to take our traditional beach shots. In case you are new to this blog, below is the very first photo we posted of our first annual trip to the conference.

As you can see, Gideon is still a baby. I have this picture framed and on my desk. It reminds me of how I felt that day. This is what I wrote then, "As we approached the Atlantic Ocean, the more excited Gideon became. He stared out into the horizon and on occasion would turn to me to smile, only to look back in amazement at the crashing waves. I have to say that these are one of the most special moments in my life. Gideon leans his head on my shoulder as he contemplates what's ahead. And I am there carrying him for now and as long as I can, but one day he'll go on to face the world without me carrying him. I just hope he's a much better swimmer than I am. "

Things are a little different now with our second child, Lucia. With the photo above, you see a man that had just gone through the absolute toughest period of his life - Gideon's surgery for his Craniosynostosis. So, being pensive, contemplative, whatever you want to call it, came with the moment at the beach. I was carrying my son who had just been healed from his disease, but he helped to carry me just months before as he bravely beat the odds of his sickness, with God's gracious hand.

Nonetheless, I wished I had spent more time contemplating the future with my daughter as I did with Gideon in April 2007. Unfortunately, I sort of forgot what the purpose of going to the beach was. It was to enjoy the crashing waves, see our footprints in the sand, and appreciate the beauty of life. We were focused on taking our annual picture. While the weather was not ideal for a long stay at the beach, nor were we prepared to walk on the sand as in previous years, I regret not spending alone time with my daughter so that we could contemplate on our future together, as father and daughter. Don't get me wrong, I did see that she enjoyed the waves and was very interested in what Gideon was doing - he was mainly trying to run towards the kids play area, which was not far off. So, this perhaps was a bit distracting and disabled me to feel the moment with my daughter like I first did with my son a few years ago.

Lucia, I want you to know that I love you and I'm looking forward to being there for you through thick and thin, and to be the main man in your life - at least until you start liking boys. Until then, just know that holding you in my arms makes me want to protect you forever from any harm. All I can do is try my very best to keep you from ever hurting, but I can't guarantee that life will not bring you pain. For now, just know that I will carry you until you can make it on your own.

Here are some photos from this year's trip. Enjoy.

Gideon has fun on his mind and is heading towards the play area, while Lucia and I try to get him to pose for our picture.

Lucia and I looking at the crashing waves from the safety and warmth of our 12th floor hotel room.

Gideon and I looking at the view.

I call this the "Mom" picture. I think this photo depicts Alexa well as "Mommy."

The girls.

Lucia is sort of hidden in this picture - she's the little pink bump on my left arm.

Alex and Lucia enjoying the crashing waves.

Gideon arriving to his destination of choice, the playground that was right on the beach.

Oh, and as the title indicates, Lucia says DaDa. I really tried to get her to say Mama first, but I guess Dada is easier to say.

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