Please Hold
Now Imagine 10 Years of This, People

When I See You Smile


I sat and watched Noah and Jason play in the sand -- digging holes and ponds and building bucket-castles. And I sat and watched them play in the ocean -- and I would realize that I was smiling. A big, goofy, squinty, involuntary smile. Every time I looked at him. I couldn't help it.


The last time we went to the beach, Noah was a baby. He couldn't walk or do much beyond shove handfuls of sand in his mouth or squeal when we dipped his feet in the water.

This time he could run and dig and splash on his own, just cautious enough to ask "Hole my hand? Hole my hand?" each time we'd take him down to the water. The beach was the most exciting, most fun, most greatest thing in the entire world, and the joy would sometimes bubble up over and he'd toss his hands in the air and scream. We heard him murmur "beach, water, ocean, beach" quietly in his sleep at night.


But sometimes, as I sat and watched, I still saw that little baby. The round little belly and the barest hint of chub where wrist meets hand. The excited babble of sounds and shrieks instead of words. There was something about wet hair and shivering lips that made him look so small, so vulnerable, so perfect.


He could play and swim and play for hours, and we watched and smiled, wishing we could give him more time here, wondering whether he's old enough to remember this trip, with his Nemo bucket and the big holes Daddy dug in the sand and the taste of grit in his peanut butter and jelly.

And when I wrapped him up in a towel and held him close while he shivered and struggled against his heavy eyelids, his head against my chest and his baby brother kicking from within, I promised to remember. And to thank him one day for letting me see the world for the first time all over again.




Beatiful. There are actual tears in my eyes. Amy, you have such a way with words and Noah is so lucky that he will have all this to look back on and read one day, thank you for sharing your lives with us.


Or beautiful even...HATE when I do that!


Really beautiful, Amy. Noah will treasure this one day. Thank you for sharing.


Precious, precious! Making memories!!


Oh mah gah. ***waahh!***

Seriously, I just got a teary.


Beautiful. Beautiful thoughts, beautiful images in my mind, beautiful family. Thanks for sharing.


Oh, AMY! You just made me get all choked up! Those last two photos, how he's sitting in the exact same position in both of them, *sniff*, where'd your baybee go, but look, he's still sort of your baby, WAAAAH!

P.S. Kaitlyn HATES the beach, hates the sand, hates the water. We're having tons of summer fun I tell ya.


Love, love, love those last two photos in comparison to each other.


That took my breath away. I love the line about "letting me see the world for the first time all over again" Every time I look at my daughter and see her make that surprised face, my heart actually swells. And to go from the shot of him on the beach now from the back, to him as a little infact from the back brought tears to my eyes. It is so cruel how it all goes so fast.


I may cry. So sweet!


Thats not fair, its really hard to explain to my boss why I am crying when I should be working on this file.


That's beautifully written. Glad you had a good time, in-laws and all.


Love the pictures. Although it looks like he dug all the way to China!


Thanks Amy! Now someone just walked by my desk and asked if I was pregnant again because here I am...crying for no apparent reason.


Coming from anyone else I think this could be really sappy, but from you it's beautiful and tender and heartfelt, and so peaceful and happy. Lovely.

And it gives me hope that we'll make it to that phase and have fun days at the beach as well, so thank you, from someone who is enduring the "eating sand" phase right now.


Thanks for making me ugly cry completely unexpectedly. Amen, sister.


This is the most beautiful thing I've read in a long time. I think I have to go to daycare right now and hold my little boy.

Burgh Baby Ouch!


Sniff, sniff, what? Oh no I'm fine, it's just these darn allergies. My little man is almost 15 months and it's hard already to see the snuggly little infant in him. And what's with all these posts on the innernets lately making me want to get knocked up again?!?!

Jill (CDJ)

Amy, that is just the sweetest, most poignant thing I've read all day. Thank you for sharing!

Mrs. Flinger

Jesus Christ, Amy. Real tears. And I'm not even PMSing.

I think I just saw my son in two years. And it hurts just a little.

workout mommy

oh no, you are making me crave another one!

great post Amy, I love the comparison shot


Thanks for letting me remember that the world can be like that.

Momo Fali

I am SUCH a killjoy, but have to tell you that Today had a segment a couple of weeks ago about the danger of sandholes...particularly being in them. Apparently they can cave in. Gak. Sorry.


So, so beautiful.


Wow. I am crying now. That is so perfectly, beautifully written. The pictures of him in such similar positions... so perfect.

Thank you for sharing him with all of us. Thank you for inspiring me to do the same, so that I will have this same gift to give my daughter.


I am getting so sentimental about #1 as the due date of #2 approaches. This just may have sent me over the edge!


So adorable! We had my godson at the beach with us this year and he is he same age as Noah. He loved every second of it, so I can truly picture the joy Noah got, and that you got from being there with him!

Momo Fali

And, for the record, this made me get all weepy. Hormones and adorable pictures don't mix.

Overflowin Brain

Wow. That's just incredibly sweet.

I can't wait for that point in my life.


Wow. Just beautiful.


Am speechless with awe, and blinded by tears. Amy, you are a magnificent writer. Thanks for this lovely essay. My own baby is 23 now, but he still has a crooked chin from the thousands of hours that chin spent resting on his bony little knee, as he built castles from Legos and sand.


How awesome memories are like that! I love it!


God. Cute. Adorable. Tears. Me. Thanks.


Wow. Reading that made me get all teary. It's amazing how fast they get big and how we look at them and always see the little baby they once were.

Kerri Anne

I still remember the taste of grit in sandwiches my mom used to make my sister and I while we spent weekends at the lake. I love that image, and those memories.


What a sweet post, and the pictures are absolutely precious. All of them.


So beautifully put. Crying now. Can I just copy all your thoughts like these and put them in my son's scrapbook? You say it better than I could!


Just saying. You made me cry here at work. Beautiful words.


So beautiful. I got chills reading this.


Started crying at the pictures. Must go kiss 1 month old daughter now.


I delurk every once in awhile. This is one of those whiles. You're a fabulous writer and an awesome Mom. Congrats on everything! Noah's the cutest!


He is so cute. Love this post!


If I say anything else, I will cry, so I will just say ... Man, that's a big hole!


What a beautiful follow-up to yesterday's post. I love the last two photos especially. I've said it before and I'll say it again Noah is one adorable baby and you are a talented photographer!

I think this post just kicked up my babylust a little... :)


Beautiful. Just beautiful. Sounds like you all had a great time at the beach.


Sappy? Yeah, definitely. But lame is up for debate. Either way, three cheers for beach memories!


OMG, I'm a teary mess after reading this. My chubby little baby boy turns one in a week and this totally hit home.

You rock!


Oh. What a sweet post. Add me to the list of those with tears in my eyes.

You are such a good mom.


Dang it! My eyes!
Seriosuly, beautiful post, very sweet.

Mrs. Elle

Those are great pictures! He's starting to look like Jason a lot!


This post is exactly why you deserve all your popularity and accolades.

And you seriously need to come to the beach house with us. That would be so much fun, two boys running along the beach.


Amazing how the curve of his cheek is just exactly the same. Beautiful pictures, Amy. I'm not crying, really.


Amazing how the curve of his cheek is just exactly the same. Beautiful pictures, Amy. I'm not crying, really.


oh my ovaries. so sweet, amy.


Oh, please stop making me cry at work! This post was beautiful and touched me to the depths of my soul. We spend several long weekends at the beach (and a weeklong stretch) each summer. My son is now almost 4.5. Each summer that we go he changes, he gets braver, he sees things differently. And each summer, my heart breaks a little bit, knowing how precious this time with him is, how a child only has a short time to be a precious child. How beautiful to have what I'm feeling put into words. Thank you for this.


What a beautiful post. Thank you, Amy.

ali, cheaper then therapy

gah. i love this.


Oh christ I do NOT cry over soppy stuff, and yet here I am, having just put my own baby Noah to bed, reading your post and actually welling up.

I never want to wish my son's life away, yet I cannot wait to get to where you are now.

Awesome. Just awesome.


God, I love the beach. So glad Noah does too! LOVE those two pictures-your preshus! Oh, and his hair? Totally looks adorable now. Not geeky little boy at all. His curls are winning the fight.


That was very sweet and is still exactly the way I feel about my 19 year old first born. It doesn't change.


(...Bawling my eyes out...)
I just found out this morning that I am having a little boy and reading this is just the prefect thing for my hormonal state. I can't wait to see all these things myself. Thanks for showing me how great it can be.


serioulsy tears in my eyes here! what a very touching post, those boys are lucky to have you.

Rick Bucich

Love those last two pictures; I can’t believe how well they match one another. Looking forward to taking my son to the beach, it won’t be the first time, but will be the first where he’ll be able to really play.


This post is beautiful! Totally tearing up at my desk..

Can't wait to experience the joy of children for myself... :)


There's something wrong with my throat. I can't swallow.

Channah @ Get a Grip, Mom!

Beautiful! My son is 6 months old, and growing so fast. I was just putting away groceries, and realizing, as I put away a sack of flour, that my son used to be that size. It was one of those "aww" moments, when I looked at the flour, and looked at my son, all 18lbs and 28 1/2 inches of him, and just smiled.


Beautiful post. Beautiful last two photos and how they match!


makes me sad to see these kids grow so fast.... but when things like this happen in my life, i'm so thankful that i took the time to realize how happy this all makes me.


Dang it, now I am crying at work.


That's beautiful...

I truly think that since he's had such an awesome time at the beach, he'll remember it. It's amazing what young minds can remember. My Little Man also loves the beach. What is it about little boys and beaches and buckets? There's something truly wonderful about that equation!

Glad you had such an awesome time!


Lovely. Very, very lovely, Amy.


* sniff *

All blubbery now. Love those last two photos!


Aaaannnddd....I'm crying.


Wow. Your way with words just moves me. It makes me impatient for motherhood even more.


Come on! You're making me cry :-) My baby boy is 16 months right now and developing into a little man overnight. We're pregnant with our second one right now too and I'm trying to cherish every moment of just being his mama.




very sweet. but dude, now I've got the song 'when i see you smi-i-ile, i can change the world who-oa, yeah i can do any thing' stuck in my head. thanks a lot.


Aww, that last part especially was soo sweet. *tear*


Beautifully written, Amy...and the pictures were wonderful too. You've once again brought me to tears...

rachel beto

I'm so glad the baby belly sticks around for a few years because otherwise I'd seriously be questioning if all that magic of the "firsts" ever really happened. (Though seeing a belly on a 40-year-old man doesn't arouse the same nostalgia.)


Way to make a pregnant lady cry!

That's just about the sweetest thing ever.


Cutest post of the day x10. It almost makes me want to make some babies, but don't tell the bf that or I'll be knocked up within the hour!


That was a beautiful post--what a lucky boy to have his Mom document his early childhood so beautifully. It is a gift to him for later in life!

just beth

The two pictures are so perfect. I do the same thing, the big goofy grin... I can't seem to decide which age I like the best, because they're always doing something wonderful.




You know what's the best thing about all that? I don't think you even realize how incredible and wonderful and stupendous it is that he so happily plays in the sand and the water.

My nephew does that happily now too, but only because he has gone through the same therapy as Noah. When my nephew was first labeled a sensory-issue kid, we had coincidentally recently taken him to the beach and it was sheer horror: touching sand and water freaked him out and he was inconsolably anguished by the whole experience, as if we'd made him attend a special party in hell just for him.

I can't express how that was for my family.

But after going through the same kind of intervention and therapy that Noah went through, and coming out the other side with the same flying oclors as Noah, makes taking him to the beach these days a pure pleasure. He LOVES it.

So, yeah, this was a great post and made me smile. For so many reasons.


That last photo did me in.


...feeling a little verklemped!


anonymous -- oh, but I DO. There was a reason we didn't take Noah to the beach last summer. Dirt, sand, grass...even mulch at the playground sent him into hysterics. I don't know what his reaction to the ocean would have been, but my gut tells me it wouldn't have been good.

Another reason we sat there with huge, ear-to-ear smiles on our faces the whole time, because sure, he's a quirky little kid, but mostly? Just a KID.


Ok, Preggos over here crying. As in tears streaming down my face. I just love the way yo still see him as your baby. Clarified something I've been feeling about my son lately.

Christina made me get all teary! Those last two photos are just perfect. You have such a way with words and as I'm getting ready for Aurora's 1st birthday it just made it all the more personal. I heart you.


Those comparison photos are amazing. There's the same little tilt of his head.

Asha {Parent Hacks}


My oldest is approaching 9, and I can't see the baby anymore. You will be so grateful for all of your writing here.


Simply beautiful. A friend once told me that one day he was driving his baby daughter to daycare and it was pouring rain. When he saw the look on her little face, he realized it was the first time she'd ever seen rain, and he was so moved he had to pull over for a moment to collect himself.

Isn't parenthood so hard and so wonderful? Thank you for sharing.


Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.

Off to figure out when I can take my boy (just turned 3) to the beach.


Gorgeous, Amy.


Maybe it's my pregnancy hormones, but that made me cry since I had a similar experience with my oldest recently.

Deb McGee

Thank you and Noah for letting this old lurker see things for the first time again, through both your eyes. Your writing has carried me through some tough times this last year. Thanks, Amy.

Deb McGee

Thank you and Noah for letting this old lurker see things for the first time again, through both your eyes. Your writing has carried me through some tough times this last year. Thanks, Amy.

Deb McGee

Thank you and Noah for letting this old lurker see things for the first time again, through both your eyes. Your writing has carried me through some tough times this last year. Thanks, Amy.

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