This week, Kyle is "friend of the week" at preschool. It's designed to help the children's self-esteem because they are spotlighted that week. It also increases confidence since they get to stand in front of their class and share about themselves. It sounds a bit like psychological mumbo-jumbo, but let me tell you that Kyle has been waiting for his turn to come ever since the schedule came out in October, and he's been thrilled to go to school each day this week and participate in a different component of the program. Monday he had to bring in a favorite book, an item for show-and-tell, and a poster with pictures of himself -- which meant that I spent most of the day Sunday going through random pictures I had in drawers and clicking through my online albums.
I didn't even recognize baby Kyle. He doesn't look like the same child to me, and what's worse, I don't really remember him from those early years. Oh, I can remember that when we drove here from Texas when he was three months old that he grew to hate the car, and that even then I could see that streak of stubbornness as he angrily cried and yelled at the injustice of being confined in the car. I remember, but I can't see that bawling red angry face.
Well, maybe I can. . . .
Images of Amanda bombarded me. She's such a big tweenager now and often looks more like an adult than a young child, but as I saw pictures of her at five or six with her baby brother, I was amazed. She looked like herself of course, but seeing her through the filter of the Amanda I now know provided a different perspective.
Her arms and face were fleshier and stubbier. Her eyes definitely gleamed with that happiness that young children have, unencumbered by responsibility or self-doubt, and yet in one of the pictures the six-year-old looking out at me wore exactly the same expression I might have seen on her face earlier this week.
I can remember a friend of ours giving Amanda a hard time about talking so much, and then loving the unapologetic response that the four-year-old offered, "Oh yes, I talk aaaalllll the time." I remember that even though her exaggerated antics on her baby brother's behalf sometimes annoyed me, it always made him laugh.
Kyle seems so big and child-like to me now, but I know that when I look back at pictures of these years, he too will seem fleshy and babyish in comparison the boy he will become.
I'm thankful for pictures, but I'm even more thankful for memories.