Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Adventures of Jackson & Nicholas

I'm not homesick. I don't feel the urge to return to the States. No itch. No pull.

Sometimes, I get a hankering for Chipotle. I miss the burritos.

Actually, only once a week or so. But I could've eaten one every day. (Photo courtesy of
No regrets so far about living as an expat. Except for moving to a country without Chipotle. (Note to self: if moving to a new home, calculate distance to nearest Chipotle, not to exceed one mile.)

I do, however, miss people. I miss my family. I miss Kate's family. I miss colleagues from work. (Heck, I miss having colleagues.) I miss friends. Everyone feels distant. Even the folks who lived far away and/or I hadn't seen in ages, I now feel that distance more acutely.

So when we got a special book in the mail last weekend from our super awesome friend Kristen, it tugged on our heartstrings. A lot.

Sweet, thoughtful Kristen. We've known her and her husband, Stephen, since Kate started vet school in 2005. They're two of our best friends. So when we had Jack in June 2011, and Kristen had her son Nicholas in October 2011, the boys really had no choice but to be friends.

The book arrived last Saturday, and it has been read multiple times a day. Just this morning, I was asked: "Daddy, you please read my favorite book?"

Book cover. The boys are enjoying a food truck rodeo in downtown Raleigh.
When we got the package, Jackson took a few seconds to process that there was an entire book about him. Oh, and that other kid. It was a little mind-blowing.

Sweet, thoughtful Kristen not only documented her own kid's life, she was the de facto official photographer of our kid, too. Without her, there might be embarrassingly large gaps of time for which we would have had no pictures of Jackson. I teased her about it -- I'm curmudgeonly like that -- but she wisely ignored me.

Our conversation probably went something like this: "Why are the boys posed on the couch?" "Oh, Brian." "I don't understand." "Go away, Brian."
And now sweet, thoughtful Kristen compiled a book of those photos, obviously timed to manipulate us into missing her and Nicholas and Stephen. Well played.

Attending Sam and Trish's wedding.
Hiking in the Appalachians.
Jackson had no trouble identifying the people in the book; not a pause needed to identify Nicholas's grandmother and grandfather. But mostly his commentary is: "That's Nicholas. That's me! That's Nicholas. That's me!"

Even on pages where there isn't any doubt, it's a refrain of: "That's Nicholas. That's me! That's Nicholas. That's me!"
We got Jackson's shirt (reads: "Absolute Zero / -273.15 C / is the Coolest") in honor of moving to Glasgow, home of Lord Kelvin and the Kelvin temperature scale.
Celebrating Jackson's second birthday, just two days before we began our lives as immigrants.
Really, isn't sweet, thoughtful Kristen awesome? I mean, even setting aside that it was obviously just a ploy to get mentioned on this blog*, we've loved the book.

You get precisely one guess as to what Jackson was saying to Kate.
Many thanks to Kristen for her sweetness and thoughtfulness. Do I have a way to reciprocate in kind? No. I'm curmudgeonly, remember?

But I'll think of something.

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  1. Yes, my evil plot to make you homesick and get mentioned in your blog was a success!! ;) Seriously though I am so glad y'all like the book--I had a great time making it and only got teary-eyed a few times.