another family vacation is coming to a close. tonight we laid in bed with Eli (the big boy pullout couch bed b/c he no longer will do the pack-n-play we learned this week) and “flipped” through old photos and videos on our phone. he told us who everyone was, where they were, what they were doing, etc. then he gave us hugs, told us “goodnight, i love you” and rolled over and went to sleep. as I slipped out of his bed, i silently shed a few tears (and then not so silently a few minutes later in the next room) over how much and how fast our little boy is growing . one year ago, we were at wild dunes and he wasn’t walking, we were barely off the boob, and he was still a baby needing attention 24-7. naps and feeding dictated our days. this year he has more independence than I’m ready for, asks (demands?) for what he wants, plays with other kids for hours on end, requests bike rides, pool time & ice cream on repeat, throws blowout tantrums (usually at dinner), sings along with us in the car, and has great dance moves for our little family dance parties. when people say it flies by, they really mean it. i feel like i blinked and here we are a year later at the beach with a little miniature man — not a baby. i can’t even begin to pinpoint my favorite memory this year — riding bikes with Eli in the pull-along carriage, watching outdoor movies and eating ice cream in the village, our rainy day dance parties on the patio, swimming for hours together, stroller walks on the beach, pushing the elevator button each time proudly, seashell hunts, (naked) watermelon eating, boat watching, turtle hunting, family photos on the beach (with a child who had not napped), watching Eli make friends with kids everywhere (dinner, the pool, the beach…eli has friends and flings all over wild dunes!), eating lots of “special” foods (French fry and ice cream detox when we get home!). the list goes on. but maybe my favorite memory goes back to the beginning of this post–laying in bed together at night, talking about our vacation (“I wanna go on vacation” is a phrase that’s been on repeat lately) and getting major cuddles. these sweet memories will forever be engrained in my mind (not the sleep deprived, tired-from-the-drive, sick-kid, cranky family we were when we arrived late Monday night). only the good memories will truly stand out as this has been a spectacular vacation.