Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Halftime



Not sure when this happened - 



but today our Jolie turned nine. 

From a parent's perspective, I think nine is the most monumental childhood birthday, because it means we are halfway done raising her. Nine years ago today, she was born. Nine years from today, she will be an adult. As I told Jack, to put it in his terms -- The clock has run out on the first two quarters. Today is halftime. 

Like any committed coach, I think halftime should be spent reviewing the early plays of the game, and contemplating strategy for a victorious finish. So here goes - 




Jolie first joined our team as the most difficult player ever drafted. Colic, allergies, reflux, chronic ear infections. She spit up buckets, never slept for more than three hours at a a time, and screamed so often she was constantly losing her voice. Some days we didn't know whether to call the pediatrician, or an exorcist. 






By age two she completed her physical training by outgrowing most of her ailments, and was ready to be pulled from the bench and onto the field. Her helmet took the form of perfect blonde ringlets. I treasure my memories of Jolie's first quarter, because all the coaching was one-on-one. Jack and I were living a simple student life, and it completely revolved around our firstborn. We marveled at every play she made, and cheered on every step she took down the field. There is no counting how many hours we spent reading her books, pushing her on the swing, or following behind as she splashed along the Santa Barbara coast. 






At the end of the first quarter and into the second, Jolie was selected as team captain, as we drafted 3 new players into the league -

 #2, Leah Jane - 


#3, Calvin James - 


and #4, Eddie Jack - 



This forced her to take a salary cut, and her personal training hours were scaled back significantly. But, she quickly and naturally took on the role of star defensive player, always guarding and protecting the younger three.

Jolie calls the plays instinctively. In the mornings, when she hears Eddie cry, she scoops him out of his crib and entertains him while I take care of the others. When it's time to get on the bus, she helps Leah up and down the giant step, then walks her to class and won't let her leave without a kiss goodbye. After school she sits at the table with Cal and helps him practice his letters.




Not a day goes by that Jack and I don't wonder what we would do without Jolie in the league. As team owners, we have a hard time saying no when it comes to contract negotiations. Without even the help of an agent, her demands are almost always met - whether they be staying up late to watch Wipeout with Dad, signing up for hip hop lessons, or money to buy her own pink lemonade at Cafe Rio.

As we run toward the tunnel to celebrate her birthday, if a sideline reporter were to stop and ask how I'm feeling about the second half, I would say I'm optimistic, and a little emotional. Then I would go on a rant accusing the scorekeepers of speeding up the clock, because there is no way it has been 9 years already. 












13 comments:

Susan said...

TIME OUT! I need to dry my tears!

Anonymous said...

I second that Mom! her masterpiece perfectly describing our perfect Jo Jo
Aileen

About Us said...

Happy birthday, Jolie! She's such a beautiful girl, Katie. And I love that I get to watch her grow here on your blog.

Jane said...

I am already homesick for the Erb kids, now I am shedding tears to see them. We love our gorgeous Jojo!

Kristin said...

Happy Birthday JoJo! You are absolutely perfect in every way. We're counting down the minutes (12,960!) until we get to see your beautiful face! xox

Lexy and Jared said...

Happy birthday, Jolie! You are one precious cookie. And my compliments to the chef. (I'm no good at sports analogies.)

Allison Hansen said...

Thank you for so tenderly sharing your beautiful life! Hugs, sweet friend.

Daneille said...

Oh, my! I'm so glad you shared all the play-by-plays. In my amazement at how beautiful she has become, I'd forgotten how adorable and precious she WAS! I love all those little ones so much. Too bad they're getting big so fast. I do remember when Jack was 9 1/2 years old and I told his dad he was already half gone. (Missionary age was 19 back then.) Now my first granddaughter is halfway grown - crazy! Luckily I can see all of you soon and imprint more of my own memories!

Daneille said...

Oh, my! I'm so glad you shared all the play-by-plays. In my amazement at how beautiful she has become, I'd forgotten how adorable and precious she WAS! I love all those little ones so much. Too bad they're getting big so fast. I do remember when Jack was 9 1/2 years old and I told his dad he was already half gone. (Missionary age was 19 back then.) Now my first granddaughter is halfway grown - crazy! Luckily I can see all of you soon and imprint more of my own memories!

Lisa said...

I know there's some dude out there called Coach K, who leads the basketball team at Duke and is super famous. That guy may make gazillions of dollars, but I'm convinced that YOU are the real Coach K. (I'm not sure if there's a famous Coach J, but I'm sure Coach J (Erb) is better than him, too!)

Oh sweet little Jolie. Now a big grown-up little lady! Happy Birthday! One of my earliest memories of Goleta Valley is when Steve and I sat at the back of the Chapel, surveying our new ward, and then seeing this *adorable* curly-haired blonde toddler walking down the aisle to go to the hall with her beautiful mother. (There was no disciplining going on, so I'm assuming this was a potty break.)

Also, as we read this post, Steve said how much he loved Home Teaching your family and preparing the lessons especially for your kids. By the way, have you ever forgiven him for teaching the false doctrine that Minnie and Mickey got married in the Temple? :)

Katie and Jeff said...

I love this post! She is so sweet and a perfect reflection of how amazing her parents are! Miss you!

Anonymous said...

Katie, I hope I can see your "team" when you are in Utah. Your family takes the cake!
Love,
Aunt Carol

Kristin said...

Happy late birthday Jolie! You are so amazingly clever and I can never get enough of ready your posts. Jolie is one special person and I feel just as blessed to know her as I am to know you and the rest for your family! And I better stop now before I start bawling because I am going to miss you guys SO much!!

Humpty Dumpty

My dad passed away 16 years ago, but I still consider Father's Day an occasion to celebrate. I plan a favorite dinner and pick out ...