Six Years of You

9:00 a.m. Six years ago today, i was pretty much being ripped apart by a bowling ball. A bowling ball that was not numbed by any amount of drugs for a couple hours. Rollie, you were that bowling ball. And you were worth every second of the worst pain of my entire life.

By the time you came out, my pain was being managed and I was tired and so very happy to see you. I still grieve for those hours that you were not in my arms, but they had to make sure you were okay, and you being okay was most important. Six years going by makes it clear that all of those details and all of the guilt I poured over myself at the time was for nothing. You turned out perfectly and completely and totally YOU. And you are wonderful.

Alvin, Simon, Theodore, Rollie

I really feel like this was the year that you became a true boy, no longer a baby, or a toddler, or a preschooler. You started Kindergarten this year! You rode the bus for the first time! I was so terrified, sending my baby boy off with some person i have never met before. And that night, when i kissed you goodnight, you whispered “I want to ride the bus forever. I never want you to pick me up at school again!” You loved the bus. You still do.

Happy Rollie

You have learned so many wonderful things this year. You already learned to read way back when you were four, but now you are reading longer and longer books. Sometimes the words that you read amaze me. You sound them out just perfectly, and even use them in the correct context sometimes. I will never forget the night that I walked into your room and you were reading the Tales of Beedle the Bard. At five! I wasn’t sure whether to worry that it was too graphic for you, or swell with pride that you could read a real short story book, with few pictures! You are like a sponge with the reading and you retain so much. It amazes me. At school, you are ahead of the game – They are teaching letters, letter sounds, colors, shapes, and the like, and you can already read. I worry that you won’t be challenged enough, but when I see that you are still sensitive, and still on the same emotional level with the other kids in your class, I know we made the right decision. Plus, so far, you are not struggling with your homework very much, and that is a relief to me.


Yes, you have homework. We never had homework when I was in kindergarten, but a lot seems to have changed for parents and kids since then. I hope that your Daddy and I are making good decisions for you, but sometimes it is scary for us. We want so badly to give you all of the tools you need to be a happy and well-adjusted kid. You also started taking French this year, and you have an hour of it a day. i am hoping that you and I can have some secret French conversations around the dinner table. You are already coming home every day with new French vocabulary words. There are still things to learn, though: You still can’t tie your shoes and you get very frustrated when we try to teach you. And your dad and I have been pretty bad about helping you learn to ride a bike. We need to get on that.

Boy at Waverly

You have really turned into an active, energetic little boy. You learned to swim a little last year, but this year, I can sit out of the water and watch you, and you do just great. You put your head down in the water and you can jump off the side and swim back by yourself and swim the entire length of the pool! You dive for rockets, and you were so fun to watch at the pool this year, because you played with the other kids so well. This was also the first year that I could put a lifejacket on you and let you swim in the lake while I sat on the dock. You and Tiller swam for hours in the lake last time I was there. It was a joy to watch you swimming and playing the same exact games that Aunt Lisa and I used to play right there, too. You took your first ride with me on the Jetski this year – I think you were a little freaked out by it, but I am sure you will grow out of that soon and be scaring me with your fearlessness. I know I was terrified riding around on that thing with such precious cargo, but I want you to learn to have fun, and be cautious, but not fearful. I try to teach you that by example, but sometimes Mamas get scared, too.
Rowdy Rollie Rodeo
You played soccer last Fall and this spring and loved it. You are pretty good and we call you “The Cheetah” because you are so fast. Your team was called “The Dream Team Tigers” which we have really gotten a lot of laughs about. This year, you are playing soccer and t-ball (Go, RiverCats!) and I am really enjoying you learn to catch and throw and learn the rules of the game. Just last night, you made your first base hit and you played pitcher and got an out at first. I was beaming. The best part of all, though, is sitting in the bleachers in that moment when light and dark are just about even, then the lights on the field flutter on, and you and your team-mates are running around the bases, playing pickle and laughing (giggling, really) and I just see the joy on your face, and the fact that you are happy, and comfortable with who you are.
Boy Loves Tractor
I know that won’t last forever – that kids are mean, and you have to watch movies about bullying at school for a reason. I know that there will cliques and hurt feelings, mean things said, and unrequited crushes. I just hope that you will have a foundation given to you by your Dad and me that leaves you with a sense that you are a wonderful person, and that you have self-worth. I hope that you always have the strength to know who you are, to be your own person, and to do the right thing, even under difficult circumstances.

Rollie with Flower

10:00 a.m. I was still at Northside waiting for you to join us. The room was unlit and I was hurting, but it was getting better. Daddy and Aunt Lisa were there. The rest is a blur of visiting grandparents and MASH re-runs, until you came out and changed my world forever, at about 5:30, I think.
At about 5:30 today, we should be getting ready to head down to Turner Field. Your birthday party is Saturday morning at the pool, but we have kind of started a tradition of taking you to a Braves game on your birthday. Last year, Daddy and I surprised you with it, but this year, all four of us are going. Even Tiller. We haven’t told you yet, but I can’t wait to see your face when we do. It will be Tiller’s first baseball game, and I’m sure she will love it, but you will be the star tonight. I can’t wait to see you eating peanuts and hot dogs, and yeah, we might even get you a coke. It is your birthday, after all.

I love you, little buddy. More than you will ever know, at least until you maybe have a child of your own. And then you will ache with it, and swell with it, and wrestle with it. I hope that I am there for you when the time comes, because I am so proud of you and I know how proud I will be then.

Your Mama

Are you an aunt, uncle or Grandma or Papaw, who can’t get enough of baby pictures of Rollie? Here’s a set of some of my favorites.

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14 Responses to “Six Years of You”

  1. Tori says:

    Awww, I got a little choked up on that one.

  2. Dogwood Girl says:

    Good. I live to make you cry.

  3. Del Simmons says:

    That was just precious.. I don’t even know you personally (I followed a link from a friend on Facebook) but I got a bit choked up as well. A beautiful blog post for a beautiful boy.

    My little guys are 10 and 12 now, and I know just how you feel. My they do grow up fast, don’t they? Enjoy them while we can…


  4. Dogwood Girl says:

    Thanks, Del! Love it when people I don’t know drop in. . .

  5. Lauren says:

    Ok, preggers is crying. Admittedly it doesn’t take much. But this is a wonderful tribute to a great boy who my girls are lucky to know and have a as a neighbor and a friend! Here’s to the future!!

  6. Tara says:

    Damn it Anne, I am totally crying my eyes out! You are the best Mommy ever. Happy Bday Rollie!

  7. Dogwood Girl says:

    Lauren, we are so glad to have y’all for neighbors. Speaking of, our new neighbors are two males, one a plumber, the other a lawyer, and one of them has an eleven-year-old son. This was all heard through the grapevine, so we will see how close it is to the truth.

  8. Jason says:

    Happy Birthday Rollie!

  9. Lynda Wicker says:

    This is wonderful. You are an amazing Mom! Tiller and Rollie are so lucky to have you.

  10. Shannon says:

    I love your blogs. This one made me tear up. You are a fabulous mama.
    love to you.

  11. Dogwood Girl says:

    Thanks, Shannon! Love you, too!

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