charlotte | father's day weekend.

 these guys.

these guys.

on thursday, i received a text from T letting me know she told luca i'd be there to wake him up on saturday morning and his response was, "yay! because she's my best girl in the whole world!"

he has now referred to me as "my favorite her" and "my best girl" and, oh my heart. obviously, i am honored to hold these titles, even for a moment. (because, let's be honest, there are other moments when he finds it offensive if i so much as glance in his direction.) being an auntie has been my favorite role to date, and one i try my best at. at almost four years in, seeing my nephews every four to six weeks has become a non-negotiable. i say "become," because it hasn't always been. there has been a lot of trying and practicing, and i don't talk much about the sacrifice it takes because i don't think it's worth mentioning (as i would, and do, make the trips anyway), but make no mistake, it's no small thing. hearing these comments from luca feel less like a badge of honor and more like a nod in my direction. i see you.

this is charlotte, june 2017.

luca is three years; jack is nine months

on saturday morning, T texted that luca was awake and as i walked down the hallway toward his bedroom, i could hear him whisper-yelling from inside, "auntie!"

when i opened the door, i was greeted with a goofy, excited smile and a tight squeeze.

that would've been enough. if i drove seven hours for only that moment, it would've been worth it. especially because there have been many times when i've gotten luca out of bed the morning after i arrive, only to be greeted by him asking "where's daddy?"

real life with toddlers, y'all.

we spent saturday morning at the pool, where luca swam with only one floatie (as opposed to his preferred double floatie situation) in the deep end and jack slept in the stroller and peed out of him swim diaper. because, apparently, they aren't supposed to catch pee? (ew.)

on the way there, i realized T was piled with stuff while pushing the stroller. she's a mom. she packs all the things and walks to the pool with her two kids by herself on the average day, and having me there didn't change her routine. as i followed behind, carrying only my phone, i laughed and asked if i could carry something.

"you can carry me!" luca said, at the same time T said no.

at one point while swimming in the deep end, luca kept trying to get out to get his diving rockets. i kept telling him he couldn't use those in the deep end and he kept telling me i could dive for them. "you can take off your sunglasses!" he said.

i did carry him on the way to the pool, but i didn't take my sunglasses off or dive for the rockets.

(these last couple photos of jack remind me of this one i took of luca.)

the rest of our day (and the trip, in general) was spent casually, just the way we like it. my parents came over. we played with the boys. we ate. we took photos.

luca is almost four. in fact, the next time i see him in person, he will be four. it's always been crazy to think about, when you put a number to it. but i can get on board with it because almost-four means he's conversational and funny. he has good ideas and is incredibly thoughtful. he is intentional about his words and his actions, but you don't have to wonder what he's thinking. he'll tell you, and it'll surprise you. he always thinking and remembering and making connections.

he and my parents and i were all sitting on the couch and laughing about how we all fit when my mom pointed out how cold i must be. "look, the hairs on auntie sarah's arms are sticking straight up." she said it, probably, because it looked funny. but luca hopped down off the couch and crossed the room saying, "i'll turn the fan off for you!"

when jack is upset, luca tries to distract him or make him laugh. he's aware of what jack can't do or have (like climb the stairs or play with small toys), and steps in when he notices. he has his moments, of course. sharing is hard, at almost-four.

jack, at nine months, still loves luca, but he's also really into his dad. when he notices lee walk in the room, forget whatever else was going on; lee is who he wants. lee, or any object that isn't actually a toy. kitchen items, water bottles, luca's empty apple sauce pouches. if he's sitting in his stroller or high chair, these are the things that will keep him entertained, but sitting still is not what he'd prefer. he wants to crawl and explore and pull himself up and practice walking by holding your hands.

unlike luca at nine months, you really need to keep an eye on jack and follow him around at all times. however, exactly like luca (at nine months and almost-four), jack also isn't really interested in solid food.