An ending is just another beginning  by jtsanto

An ending is just another beginning

Summer has arrived as your 365 project comes to an end, days elongated and winds warmed. It’s the climate I remember from the beginning of our photographic journey together, a season of bathing suits and water shirts, sprinklers and inflatable pools. But most memorable from this time last year was your laughter carried on those breezes, your hair wild and caught in gold light. Like today, it was a time of discovery and joy. Oh Diego, it’s been such a blessing to capture your change from baby to kid. You’re extraordinary, and I am not saying this because you are my son! If anything, my cynicism about myself prevents effusive yet unearned praise! I find I am wholly average as a person, a cog in the wheel of society’s obsession with working hard and conspicuous consumption, but you? You’re naturally inventive, clever, curious, passionate, funny, and already a lover of words and actions, of being wholly yourself and getting what you want. I attribute so much of what I find astonishing about you to your adventurous, bold, and shockingly intelligent mother. Like her, you seize life and make it your own. So many people allow life to lead them, but both of you follow threads of destiny that seem as if they could lead virtually anywhere. It’s all simply up to you. And, of course, as this was a photographic exercise, I am amazed by the visual of you. Whether at rest, in motion, slack-jawed by a YouTube video or laughing with Oso, you are one positively gorgeous child. Those giant brown eyes and their stunningly long lashes, the unpredictable crop of dark hair atop your head, your button nose, full lips, and long limbs. Just beautiful. But there’s how you move too! That inimitable way of running with your left arm curled toward your belly and pumping fast or the thoughtful, tentative way you study something new in your hands; the physical you is as impressive as the emotional and intellectual you. I suspect here too it’s mostly your mother’s genetics that make you so handsome as she is one of the most beautiful people I have ever seen, but I do see me in you as well, flashes of myself as a child that too was insatiably curious and endlessly talkative. Yet none of your countless positive qualities compare to the strength and purity of your heart. I have never known a love like yours, a love so honest and effortless that it flows from you in a torrent of fearless, unstoppable affection. The way you regard your older brother - himself too such a pure, gorgeous heart - or the way you lay your head onto Papa’s shoulder for a hug; they’re signs of innate comfort being a lover. And it’ll forever be how I define the core of you. Now it’s time to close our project together, but I know there will be no end to your singing or dancing, the fascinating way you mimic machine sounds with your mouth or flail about on the couch after a bath, wrecking your just-combed hair. There will be all this and so much more, and yeah, I will still be there with a camera a lot of the time because I am your dad and I love every stage you grow through, every expression of sweetness you share with your Mommy and each hug with your brother. I’ll still try to capture them, but I know full well it does’t matter if I don’t. Because you will be you regardless and I will be so fulfilled by you. At the end of your brother’s 365 I wrote about how Justin taught me to love someone before myself, that I learned it was possible to put another person ahead of my every thought and learn to give without hesitation. And while I do that with you too, you have taught me something else in your short time on this planet: how to accept love. That’s arguably the toughest lesson I ever learned, but I must say Diego, you make it seem so simple, so freeing. Thank you for the wonder you shared with me this past year. And thank you in advance for the lifetime of wonder that awaits. I love you, son.
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