It's hard to fathom that the little five pound preemie I helped my sister Sheila snug into his car seat in a Mayo hospital parking lot is now a guitar hero in the making.
I remember being in a tizzy the whole forty minutes home from the hospital, worrying that maybe I'd tightened the car seat's straps too much, and he was getting squished back there. To reassure myself, every few minutes I reached back and tickled his palm to make sure his tiny hand would squeeze my finger. (Um, yes, I was driving, too. I promise I kept my eyes on the road.)
Now the kid's hands are bigger than mine, and he's taller than me, too. That kind of snuck up on me, even though I've been to nearly every one of his birthday parties along the way.
Ian is fanatical about his guitar, and he plays hours each day. He already had an electric guitar, but in the last year, as his playing improved and his hands got stronger, he had really begun craving an acoustic instrument.
Even though he had chosen the model at the store the previous day, he didn't expect it to get it the party, so we had a great time watching him freak out when his dad surprised him with it.
He could barely bring himself to set the guitar down long enough to have his birthday cake.
(Of course for the official picture, he put on his teenage Joe Cool expression.)
My mom, though no fan of classic rock, would have loved watching him sit and strum the rest of the afternoon.
She was on our minds a lot this during the Saturday's fun. We always miss her when we're all gathered. Because Ian and Ann were so close--doting grandma and first grandchild--it's an especially harsh coincidence that she passed away on his birthday five years ago.
Those five years have flown by, but at the same time, it feels like ages and ages ago that we helped Ian celebrate turning nine. I expect the next five years will go just as quickly.
I'll likely be working as one of his roadies by then.