the one where mom and i have a day.

i don't know why i felt the need to title this like it's an episode of friends. but my weekends in charlotte, outside of birthdays and holidays, all kind of blur together, so it feels appropriate. this is the weekend my mom texted and asked if i'd come early so we could have a day, just the two of us.

the thing is, i go to charlotte once a month to see my nephews. so i can watch them grow, so they can see my face without a screen. so i can know who they are, and they can know who i am.

it's a bonus that my parents live about three minutes down the road, because that means i get to see them once a month too. the trick is, though, to not let all of our time together be shared time. because if luca's asking me to chase him, the answer is yes. if he roars in my direction, i'm roaring back. and if jack wants to tell me something in his sweet baby babble voice, i'm listening. we all feel this way, like those boys are the trump card.

and so, sometimes it's good to have time in charlotte, without them. it's good to have uninterrupted conversation, while sitting in chairs (as opposed to the floor, with legos and rescue bots lined up at our feet). it's good to have them to come home to at the end of the day.

our day together was largely based around this idea of taking me to an art gallery. because i love art galleries! she knows this about me. what my dad knows about me, on the other hand, is that i could do without all of his side-eyeing at the art. so while he was invited to join us, he chose to sit this one out.

on the way home, my mom commented that she thought he would've had fun with us. and i laughed, because i could hear his voice in my head from a conversation we'd had a while back.

me: remember that time we went to an art gallery for my 18th birthday?
him: did you enjoy that? i thought it was hideously boring.

it still makes me laugh out loud to think about. at 18, i had no idea! i dragged my whole family to this museum. i wore a tiara. i had so much fun with it that i didn't think (or maybe didn't care) to notice if anyone else having having as much fun as i was. but years later, the truth comes out. and you know what? looking at art does not have to be a thing my dad and i do together. and that's okay.

my mom, though, was up for the adventure.

it turns out, the art gallery was located on a street with lots of artsy things, including the green. which is, as described by google, a "petite park" with a literary theme.

it was art and words, and not what we originally came for. but we both agreed it was the best part of our day.

we had lunch at a restaurant next door, visited another museum, and then headed back.

on saturday, i spent the morning at another park. a playground park. (the weather in the south during "winter," y'all.)

this is charlotte, in february.

luca is three (and a half) years, jack is five months.

holding hands and taking car selfies. two of my favorite things, although the car selfie struggle is real these days.

taking photos at the park when the sun is in your eyes and you just need a nap is also a struggle.

luca and i played tag, made a new (4-year-old) friend named kinley, went down the slide (him), and went on the swings (him pushing me).

things i learned about luca while playing at the park: he is kind and sweet and patient and friendly. he would stop and wait if another kid was trying to come down the stairs as he was trying to go up. he would randomly stop and say hello to other kids (girls, mainly) and say "i'm just saying hi" when they looked at him in confusion.

and when i said i couldn't climb on the playground with him (because i'm a grown up and don't need to be taking up all the space), he told me, "you can! be strong." and then, "remember, jesus is always with you." i love that this is his response to fear – for when he feels afraid, and what he shares with others when he thinks they feel afraid.

on the way back (or on the way to church, i can't remember) is when i took all these closeup photos of jack's face. because i am obsessed with it, and that scrunchy nose and that open-mouth grin. and those eyes! they are blue, with some green? hazel? brown? it depends on the light? whatever it is, it's my new favorite color.

THIS is why i sleep at T's house. so these faces are the first ones i see when i wake up. for the morning snuggles and book reading that lead to games of hide and seek and pillow fights.

later, my parents stopped by. i said goodbye to them, got in some play time and snuggles with my nephews, and drove back to nashville.

PS. luca, on the left, at 5 months and 5 days. jack, on the right, at 5 months and 4 days.