Tonight was a special night for the Lanman. A few weeks ago, a letter came home with him notifying us that his artwork had been one of fourteen pieces chosen by his art teacher to represent his school in the district art show. We were so excited. JP because he is actually very good at art and me because I am very very not. I had flashbacks to my elementary school art show (Houston's Rodeo Art competition) and my failure, despite trying SO HARD to copy the teacher's art piece exactly, to ever have a piece even close to nominated. The art would be displayed at the downtown branch of the public library for 3 weeks and there would be a special reception honoring the nominees on April 8th. We were in and we were pumped.
We decided to book our favorite sitter for the girls (girls! will I ever not get a little thrill saying that? it hasn't worn off yet) and take Landon out on the town for some art viewing, ribbon receiving, and special dessert eating. Upon hearing our plans, his first comment was, "Wait, so I don't get to be home with Claire and Cora and the babysitter?!!" We really had to play up the ice cream angle to get him to stop being jealous of his sitter-watched siblings.
JP had to coach until right before the reception ended, so Landon and I drove in together, parking at my office and walking the two blocks to the library. He loved walking through the city and told me that his Kindergarten teacher had promised to stop by and he hoped we'd see her. And as luck would have it- she was the first familiar face we found. JP ran in (literally) 5 minutes before close and the look on Landon's face when he saw his dad jog across the giant room absolutely epitomized everything about why we're both on the career paths we're on right now. Control over our schedules and making events like this, even if only for a few minutes, are everything.
Landon's art teacher was also at the reception and he had many sweet and complimentary things to say about our little boy. As anyone with kids knows, there is very little better than the high you get when someone else says something nice about your child. Particularly when that something nice is thoughtful and genuine. It is lovely. And not because it says anything about you, but because it says so much about a little one you've loved and cared for since he was a tiny non-breathing non-sleeping infant.
They are so much and so much yet unknown when you're holding that tiny baby. I mean, who knew our surprisingly premature and problematic baby would end up being able to draw so well?
Or that he'd love his little sisters to pieces? That he'd absolutely adore Kindergarten? Or that his Kindergarten teacher would adore him? That he'd be more sociable than you and your husband combined times a hundred? That he'd handle new and unknown situations with aplomb? That he'd love running, the color orange, and the flaming hot cheetos that you find (and have always found) absolutely revolting?
Sometimes I think the best part about being a parent, besides the hilarious things kids say and the way you and your spouse can laugh about them as you fall asleep hours after the kids were put to bed, is discovering the tiny person you made. We're only 6.75 years in, and have a long way yet to go, but it has been a joy to discover our baby Landon.
And though Landon missed Claire and Cora, I think he had a good time being an only kid with us tonight. I know that we enjoyed getting to spend a short time focusing only on him and his achievement- not just with regard to his artwork, but this whole year. Kindergarten has been such a wonderful time for him. He's always loved daycare and school, but mostly because of his love for other kids. This year we got to see him love it for the learning itself- the thrill of learning new things, knowing the answer to the question, doing well at something and being recognized for it. It has been a joy I can't describe to see him fall in love with school the way I loved it. And a relief for JP who never loved school but always wished he did.
We got home well after Claire's bedtime, but she raced out of her room when she heard the back door open and immediately jumped into Landon's picture. An intrusion Landon was only too excited about.
Sometimes I worry that Landon gets overlooked in our day-to-day. He's so easygoing and mellow and genuinely loves his sisters and family so much, and being the oldest already makes it easier to put more responsibility and blame on him. But then I step back and think- he's doing okay. He's an atypical oldest child in many ways- he's not Type A, not particularly rules focused, and while he is happy to bring home smiley-face marked papers, he doesn't seem to see those papers as an extension of himself. In other words, he isn't me. He isn't JP either. He's Landon, and though I spent his first several years speaking for him, he really isn't an extension of me anymore. He's himself, and it's an absolute pleasure (well, 98% of the time) to get to know him as he gets to know himself.
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