Tuesday, November 6, 2007

In a Fog

My son walks around in a teenage fog.

Like most boys his age, he focuses on girls, music, MSN, television and clothes - not necessarily in that order.
Inside of my own head, I see him looking something like this.

It doesn't seem all that long ago that he was preoccupied with Sesame Street, Lego, riding his bike and bedtime stories, but those days are long gone, along with the pudgy little hand that used to hold mine when we crossed the street.

I started flipping through his baby book earlier today and found the unread letters that I used to write to him and his brother on each of their first few birthdays. They're unread by my boys because I had decided at the time, that they would be a gift to my sons when they get married.

Here are just a few excerpts from some letters to Alex:

Second Birthday:

• You take great pleasure in screaming at the top of your lungs just so you can then cover up your own mouth with your hand, and say "Don't do dat!"

Third Birthday:

• One time you watched as Jeffrey was having a hard time putting on his shirt. It kept tangling and bunching up around his neck. Finally he threw it down in frustration saying "dumb shirt!" You picked it up for him, put your hand on his shoulder, looked him in the eyes, and offered "It's not a dumb shirt. It just wants to hug you."

Fourth Birthday:

• You spent some time learning about rhyming words this year, and seemingly had it all figured out. One day, while rhyming was still fresh in your head, you went up to Jeffrey's grade one teacher, Mrs. Pattenden, and informed her that 'car crash' rhymed with 'teacher'. She smiled and told you that 'car crash' does not rhyme with 'teacher', and suggested you try again. So you did. "Accident and Pattenden." Couldn't really argue with you there.

Fifth Birthday:

• One day you stood in the front hallway opening the front door widely, banging it into the opened bathroom door. You were told to stop doing this, with the explanation that you'd make a dent in one of the doors. You shrugged, continued smashing them together and commented that if you made a dent in the door, all we had to do was call the dentist.

• You have a peculiar habit of taking your shoes and socks off the moment you come into the house. When asked why, a simple answer followed. "To do my fluffies." which was simply removing the sock-fluff that has accumulated between your toes.

Sixth Birthday:

• You learned a few lessons about finances this year, when much of what you wanted to buy on different occasions was met with a chorus of "Sorry Alex, that's just too expensive." Sometime later, at the school book fair you found a colourful little car that you wanted. Its parts were actually made out of usable crayon pieces. You were fully aware that it was a car, but I wasn't sure if you knew it was also a set of crayons. I asked you if you knew what it was and you said "Sure, it's a car." I agreed, and then asked if you knew what else it was. Your shoulders sagged and your head dropped as you groaned "Ohhh,.... expensive?"

• This holiday season, you took to singing and renaming The Dreidel Song. "Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I made it out of clay - Hey! Why don't they just call it a claydel?"

• At swimming lessons, you were reluctant to put your face in the water, but this didn't keep you from handing out advice to one of your pals who didn't want to open his eyes under water. "Just keep them closed and when you hear BUMP, that's when you stop."

• You had an ongoing habit of biting your brother when frustrated, and after much discussion, there was yet another bite. You lost your chance at watching TV for the day because of this. You thought that over for a bit, and said "I wish I had a 'rewind button' so that I could undo biting Jeffrey." I suggested that you could use your 'pause button' to stop and think about things before doing them. You dismissed the conversation with a sigh, stating "I should just have a 'fast-forward' button to get past this day."

I could go on, but if Alex reads them all here, he'll have nothing interesting to do on his wedding night...

Somewhere along the way, Alex traded in his Lego for a guitar and found a new focus - that of a serious musician. He's still a goof in most every aspect of his life, but he takes his guitar very seriously. I have tremendous admiration and pride for the way he spends hours working on, and learning new pieces. I have little doubt that he will find his life's path somewhere in music.

At seventeen, he still doesn't see around most corners with clarity, he thinks he knows everything, and he throws outspoken viewpoints at you just for shock value. But he's still funny, cute, talented and lovable, and he'll always be my baby.

Alex - without the fog.

Alex isn't the only one who walks around in a fog. One morning a couple of weeks back, I could scarcely see the houses across the street. I decided to wander around the park and take a few shots.
Click on the photos if you'd like to see them enlarged.

This is the view that greeted me as I entered the park at the bottom of my street. The fog that had settled in, allowed the leaves in the foreground to appear illuminated.

Just off to my left, this path fades into the haze.

In the lake, a single red leaf floats upon still water, which mirrors its image.

Around the bend, at my favourite section of the lake, the fog envelops the trees, casting a misty reflection.

Another day, this same area is alive with colour.

The same grouping of trees, taken from behind.

After a rain, water droplets collect on some leaves.


Frank Baron said...

Wonderful stuff! I love laughing at Alex!


That was a great idea, writing down those special memories. I was stupid and only made mental notes which, we both know full well, ain't worth the paper they're printed on.

Terrific pics too. I love how fog can make even the mundane appear moody and mysterious.

awannabe said...

Thats a really cool letter idea. I wish I would have done it when my son was still young and sweet. Now I try to tell him that his favorite show was Barney about 11 years ago an he is in total denial. Fortunately, he hasn't reached the "girl crazy" stage yet.

I love the fall pics too.

Anonymous said...

Wow--you packed so much awesomeness into this post it's hard to know where to begin.

Those anecdotes were hilarious, and made me (almost) regret not having any kids. Who knew? Kids are even funnier than cats!

But it ended so sweetly, too. It's easy to see that both Mom and Son are lucky to have each other.

And then to top it off with such glorious photos! (Were you lazy like me you really could have milked this for at least three different posts).

Amy said...

I love the excerpts of the letters! What a great idea. Alex's hair is awesome, do the girls love to play with it?

And, of course, fabulous pics!

Hilary said...

Thanks Frank,

"I love how fog can make even the mundane appear moody and mysterious."

Perhaps that's the secret behind Alex's fog too. :)

Hi Awannabe,

I know what you mean. At that age, they're in denial about what they loved just months earlier. Thanks for your kind words.

Thanks Crabby,

Kids sure can be hilarious and sweet.. often at the same time. I'll add to these one day with some quotes from my older son. There! I just turned this into another, future post. Thanks for the tip. ;)


I'm not sure I want to know the answer to that question.. but I'm pretty sure that they do. :) Thanks for stopping by.

the Bag Lady said...

Terrific idea to write those letters! And great photos...the ones I've seen so far. I had to stop them loading so I could leave a comment, but I'm going back now to finish looking at them!
Love Alex's hair, but then, I've always had a soft spot for musicians.

Hilary said...

Thanks Bag Lady,

So which instrument does the Cowboy play?

Thanks for visiting.

Reb said...

I love fog. Great post, Hilary, sounds like you are a good mom. I really like the effect of the first picture, making the leaves glow like that. You live in a very pretty area.

dmmgmfm said...

Wow, great photos! I remember the same thing happening with my son. How quickly they become men...


the Bag Lady said...

The stereo :)

Anonymous said...

It's funny how my mom thinks I'm going to get married one day, This isn't something against the female gender but I'm clearly wearing a shirt with baphomet on the front of it. Do I look like a religious person? At least I save all the money from the wedding day that I WON'T be having. There's just no point to it.


Hilary said...

Thanks Reb,

It's not a bad place considering it's plunked in the middle of a city. Thanks for the kind words.


In the blink of an eye.. sigh indeed!

Bag Lady,



About that last paragraph.. "At seventeen, he still doesn't see around most corners with clarity, he thinks he knows everything, and he throws outspoken viewpoints at you just for shock value."

I rest my case. :P :)

the Bag Lady said...

Alex - the Bag Lady is old and out of touch, and doesn't understand the baphomet reference. Could you please explain (in words of 3 syllables or less...)

Anonymous said...

To the bag lady,

Baphomet is a symbol for individualism and I know that's not exactly a 3 syllable word so I'll break it down. It's about doing what you think is right, regardless of how other people try and persuade you to think. I think it makes for stronger decisions. And it doesn't mean that I don't listen to other people and their advise but I guess I see the world a lot differently than many people. And I guess I'm a tad opinionated which I really should work on.

the Bag Lady said...

Alex - thanks so much for humouring an old "bag"! There's nothing wrong with being opinionated, as long as you are willing to listen to other people's opinions, too! And doing what you think is right is the only way to get through life.
Hey, Hilary - how'd you get such a cool kid?!

Hilary said...

Hey Bag Lady,

I think the answer would depend on what day you asked me that.

Worldwide1 said...

beautiful Fall series of Fall colors.I especially like the "single red leaf".

thanks for sharing.

Hilary said...

Thank you worldwide1. You've got some lovely photos yourself throughout your blogs. I've bookmarked and will return often. I hope you'll do likewise. :)

Virginia Lee said...

Pfui! My first comment didn't take.

Anyhoo, I said I see your eyes in your son's.

I also expressed my envy of your autumnal colors. Our drought and hot weather has prevented such down here. Thanks for sharing the lovely photos.

Hilary said...

Thanks Virginia,

It's rare when my own genes are noticed in my kids.

Thanks for visiting.... please come back soon!

Anonymous said...

Hilary, this post nudges me to call my son. He was much like Alex in his youth.

While going through some boxes of pictures and letters of my mother's recently, I came across some pages of a journal she had started when I was very little. It was quite wonderful to read her thoughts, which had been tucked away for nearly fifty years. That is quite a nice gift you have prepared for your children.

That picture of the leaf on the water is magnificent! As well as the other!

Hilary said...


I'm so glad you wrote what you did. It was that kind of scene that played in my head when I decided to write these birthday letters to my sons. Hopefully they will get something out of them one day as you did with your mother's journals. Thanks for telling me that. :)

photowannabe said...

Terrific memories. Your son sound like a dear teenager. the foggy pictures are just beautiful. Each one could be a greeting card.

Althea said...

It's all so pretty :)

Hilary said...


Thanks for the kind words. As for the kidlet, I'll probably keep him.


Thanks muchly. :)

Daisy said...

I have some things around my house that could use the help of a 'dent'ist.

Your pictures are wonderful.

Hilary said...

Thank you DaisyJo :) I have a number of them myself.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sweet and Salty said...

Hi there!
First, I want to thank you for visiting me earlier.
I love your post! I have three of my own and I have seen how quickly they grow. I still have a seven year old with pudgy hands and a sweet little voice, but the fact that my 11 year old was just like that once but no longer reminds me that it won't last.
I love the idea of the baby book! I wish I would have thought of that. I do take an awful lot of pictures and videos, though.

I'll be back to visit you more!

Hilary said...

Hi Pavel,

Thanks so much for your kind words.

The do grow quickly and there's no need to tell you to enjoy every minute of it because I can see by your blog that you already do.

Your kids are absolutely gorgeous, and your photography bright and colourful. You have a very enjoyable blog and I'm glad you came by to visit mine.

Stace said...

That fog makes me think of Budapest... except it was smog there, pollution. Very cool effect though.

I want children... eventually...

Hilary said...


I suspect you'll be a very cool Mom one day. Thanks for stopping by. :)

Anonymous said...

Alex says he's a "tad opinionated",wonder who he gets that from??
They had such clever sayings as little kids, I have a book with Jaime's "quotes" too, but sadly didn't do the same for Steph. They say boys are easier to raise than girls, I tend to agree "some" days, but wouldn't trade my two for anything!

Hilary said...


I have no idea who he gets that from. That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

And I think I'll keep my boys too. ;)

Stace said...

Oh, and Alex... I'm not religious at all (actually I call myself an atheist Satanist), but I've been happily married for almost a year now! It's not about religion, it's about making a committment. We were married by a civil celebrant, outside, no priests or churches involved, thank God! ;)

Hilary said...


Your last sentence made me laugh! I'll be sure to point Alex toward your comment when he gets home from school. Thanks for stopping by. :)

Anonymous said...

ya I've heard about that kind of marriage, I still don't see much of a reason for me personally to do it. The way I see it is, papers and documents don't make the committment. The people do and that's what matters the most to me.


Tink said...

I can't even tell you how much I've enjoyed these! I love the things kids say. I wish my Mom or I had kept a record of my brothers. I remember they had trouble saying certain things. Like Winnie the Pooh was Pinny da Who. But I'm sure there was more. Now they're gone...

I'm remember this when I have little ones though. :)

Hilary said...


I suspect you'll have a blogful of kidlet sayings and accomplisments when you're a Mom.

Thanks for the kind words. :)

Unknown said...

hehe! He seems to be a wise young man!