Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Five Years Old

Dear JJ,

Yesterday was your fifth birthday - and since you and mom were staying in Canada to escape the heat, I took a few days off to travel up there - because I remember when I was five. Well- I don't remember the birthday, I just remember my brother, Ron telling me that I was five years old. 

When I put you to sleep the night before your birthday I asked for a hug, because it was the last night I could hug my four year old son. The next morning I asked for another hug- because it is the first time I get to hug my five year old son. I know it sounds strange- but your dad meant it.

What you enjoyed most was having friends over and playing with them. You loved that more than the gifts - and that is a great lesson. 

No matter where you go son, and you have - in five years gone over 200,000 miles - the things you will enjoy are not things - but friends (and sometimes family) - but mostly friends. So make a lot of them, and forget the things- just enjoy the friends.


Our attempt at a family photo on your birthday - seems you were having too much fun 
Our Favorite Game

The best part of your birthday was your friends- not the gifts

Not that gifts aren't cool

Some are really cool

Yes son- two can play at not wanting a photo taken
Waking up Uncle Peter with "cymbals" 

It can have consequences  - wrestling time!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Mom's shoe

Mom's shoe - left here when she was a little girl
Dear JJ,

We went to Norway for a family reunion.

When my mom was 9 years old, in 1937, she went to Norway to visit our relatives.

It turns out that when mom left, she forgot her dancing shoe in the summer home by the family farm. The place where they would take the sheep to graze during the summer. So they nailed her shoe up and said when she comes back they would give it to her.

When my grandfather would go back, he would write a bit in a note and stuff it in the shoe, and finally in 1997, mom got back and she and dad wrote in the shoe. They went again in 2007. I had heard this story growing up. Now I got to write in the shoe - for the first time.

Wanting a connection with our past is part of the human condition. Part of the reason this "older" dad writes this to you. Somehow that shoe represents that entire past of our relatives - and writing in it seemed to fill some destiny. I know, most have lofty thoughts with destiny - but trust me, the best destiny is feeling connected and loved - like you do with us, and now with your family in Norway


Nothing like fresh fish - with Cousin Silje and your new best friend Eline

And even though you didn't speak the language - you found a new friend, a cousin, you could play with and while we are all eating at the family reunion - always good to have conversation

In the summer cabin - things are "rustic" - but like your dad, you do your best thinking here

Inside the shoe - a note from my grandfather, Eric Otnes - and every

time he came back - another quick note

You two invented your own language  to talk.

In the background is the Stabur, built in the 1600's it is where salted meat would be kept, and cheese would be made.