Happy Birthday Little Man!

I read an intriguing article suggesting I write blog posts for a specific person. Not a type of person or the proverbial, “ideal costumer,” but an in my real life,  breathing person. Of course, I write for you, but identifying my ONE real life person stumped me. Ian over heard this conversation and said, “you write for me, Mom.”  Like most kids under 52 inches tall, he doesn’t have much income, but he does have a point. So today, on his ninth birthday, I’m writing for him.

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Happy birthday buddy.

Nine years ago today you made me a mom. I wasn’t really mom material. I hadn’t planned to be a mom. I wasn’t supposed to be a mom. But, you had different plans for me.

Thank you for that.

Buddy, before I became your mom I thought I knew what parenting was about. I thought I knew exactly what to do and how to do it. I undoubtedly knew what everyone else was doing wrong with their children. I should-ed on a lot of people thinking I knew better. If they would just…

I knew nothing.

I could tell you that I’ve loved every minute of being your mom and that it’s been a blissful experience. But that would be a lie.  It’s been long nights and longer days. It’s been messy and sticky and gross. You’ve pressed boogers against the wall and stuck things in places they didn’t go.

But I’d do it all over again. Well, most of it anyway.


You came into the world your own person. You had opinions and preferences and will power from the womb. I was baffled by your early independence. You squirmed when I wanted you to lie still. You pulled your arms out of your baby burrito when I had so perfectly tucked them in. You were awake when I wanted you to sleep.

And that was only the first week.

One day you were a six pound, seven ounce tiny bundle of baby and the next, you woke up a nine year old boy.  I’ve attempted to etch each moment into my permanent memory, but so many have slipped by. I have over 50,000 images to prove it.

I don’t have enough memory space.

You tell me you’ll always be with me. But I know the truth. I know you’ll grow older, get chest hair, and want friends and space of your own. You’ll no longer settle for time with just mom and dad and the friends we enjoy being around. You’ll trade your costumes for clothes your friends say are cool.

It’s the way life is meant to be.


As a parent I’m making things up as I go. I’m figuring them out just like you. You’ve never ridden a bike before and I’ve never taught anyone to ride. You struggle to try new foods. I struggle to figure out how to get you to eat. You protest doing things you’ve never done. I torment over how to motivate and encourage you.

Every single time.

Some days I feel like I have this parenting thing figured out. I find the right words to say. I find the right tempo for our day and patterns to our routine. I find the way to nudge you into trying something new and Icelebrate my awesome parenting. And then things go south. And I’m reminded how much of this stuff is not me figuring things out at all. I’m reminded how much of parenting isn’t a me, but a we. Not a we made up of your dad and me, but a we created by you and me and dad.




I can’t solve everything. I’m learning that. It’s not my job. Things will be rough and messy and unexpected. No matter how hard I work, I’ll never be able to help your brain see words the way mine does. You’ll never use my strategies for remembering spelling words or for sounding things out. It’s not my fault. It’s not yours. It just is. We are wired differently.

We’ll figure it out together.

Eight was a big year. You jumped off a diving board and had your first sleep over. You were interested in coding, moving making, Legos, the Wii, and how things work. You gained maturity. And humor.  And thank goodness, your jokes got better.

Most of the time.

Ian Mother-Son Dance-5355

This is the year that parenting experts say you move your focus and value development from your family to outside influences like friends at school. I’ve got to tell you kiddo, that terrifies me. Did I get it right these last nine years? Did I instill anything? And how is it at nine years old I am already worrying that I’ve lost the ability to impact who you are?  I think I’ll put the “experts” ideas exactly where I put all of the parenting books I purchased between birth to two years old.

I’m glad the city recycles.

You are an incredibly awesome kid. You show empathy toward the people in your life. You have a gentle, kind spirit mixed with a stubborn, I’m going to get my way attitude. You have a huge imagination and a quick wit and memorize facts about things you love.  You are like your dad and you are like your mom, but more importantly, you are like you.  You’ll still hold my hand when we walk across the street and you’ll snuggle next to me in the evening.  You are my favorite thing to see in front of my camera lens.

I think I’d like you even if you weren’t my own kid.

Nine is going to be a good year. Big things await you Buster Brown. You’ve got things to discover, places to explore, and experiences to experience. I’d create a list, because, believe me, I have ideas, but I know better. I know you are going to do this thing on your schedule.

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You always have.

From the moment you were born I’ve been overwhelmed by the feeling you are leaving me. I get it. That’s supposed to be my  goal, raise a good human and set him free into the world. Don’t go too fast though buddy. Okay?


Happy Birthday Ian! Thanks for making me mom material, even if I’m still figuring it out!




  1. Lisa Shireman

    Ok. There should have been a warning to this blog post. Warning: 2 Kleenex post ahead! I’m dripping over here. Sniff, sniff. Very touching, Katrina.

  2. Deirdre Harger

    So real and so true. Great commentary on being a mom and also a retrospective of Ian. Thanks for sharing.

  3. What beautiful, heartfelt words! I think every parent understands exactly what you’re saying. From what I’ve seen and read about Ian, you are doing an excellent job as a mother! He seems like an awesome kid! Someday, when he’s grown and famous, I can say I watched that kid grow up through cy365! Happy bithday, Ian, I hope all your birthday wishes come true!!

  4. ajordan

    Happiest of birthdays to Ian!! Thoroughly enjoyed your post today – it was such a lovey tribute!!

  5. Barb in AK

    Happy birthday, Ian! I’ll try to post something over on facebook to you 🙂
    Hope you had a great day!

  6. Happy birthday, Ian! Hope you had a fabulous day!

  7. Well written. it put a lump in my throat. you need to scrap this. Happy birthday Ian!!!

  8. britanee walker

    Happy Birthday Ian!!

  9. Hava Happy Happy Birthday Ian!

  10. Jodie Stahl

    Happy Birthday to Ian!! This is such a beautiful post Katrina! You definitely put into words what we all feel as mothers!

  11. Happy Birthday, Ian!

    Katrina, I love your post! I just typed my daughter’s name, Katherine, instead of yours, a parent slip-up I’ll probably keep on making…

  12. Carolyn

    Happy Birthday Ian!! Love what you wrote Katrina! So many times we think we have to start out as a perfect parent but that is impossible! But being the best parent you can be is what you strive for. You are doing a great job of that! Have a wonderful day Ian and family!

  13. amanda tea

    happy birthday Ian. hope your day is just as awesome as you.

  14. Faith Haynesworth

    What a beautiful tribute not only to your son but to motherhood in general.
    I hope you have the happiest 9th birthday, ever!
    P.S. I left a birthday photo for you in the gallery 😀

  15. Deanie

    Ian – happy happy birthday! Through your Mum’s lens and writing, many people have watched you grow up into the amazing young man you are now! I can see from the awesome article above, that you mean the world to your Mum and Dad, and always will – whatever comes your way. Katrina – this post had me almost crying – with laughter as well as sadness – childhood is such a short space of time and goes by so fast, enjoy every minute. Thank you so so much for all that you do, and will no doubt continue to do in the future. Again Ian, many happy returns!

  16. Sally King

    Happy Birthday, Ian! 🙂

  17. Deborah Lapoint

    Happy 9th birthday, Ian! I know this year will be full of exploring, experimenting, and loving life! It’s really fun to see how you’ve grown through all your mom’s photos. You are a real inspiration to her! I look forward to seeing lots more photos of you in times to come.

    Katrina, I loved reading your birthday tribute to Ian. I want to share your parenting wisdom with my daughter who’s a new mother. Thanks for sharing your time, hard work and abundant talent with us.

  18. Rhadonda

    Happy Birthday Ian!!!! It’s been great seeing you in all the photogrs your mom shares. You are a handsome young man and very creative and sweet!!! Have a great day or I say celebrate all week!

  19. Kris B,

    Happy Birthday, Ian! I wish you and your mom and dad the happiest of days today. May your day be full of smiles…with at least a few in front of the camera. I’m sure that you have leaned by now that that is what makes your mom happy. And when you are grown and on your own, she will have all those photos to look back at. Having them might save you (maybe) a lot, or maybe just a few, phone calls and text messages from mom and dad that say things like, “What are you doing?”, “I love you.”, “I miss you.” when you are out with your friends and on your own.

    You have a great mom! Thank you to you and your dad for sharing her with all of us!

  20. Sharon Billings

    A great BIG Happy Birthday, Ian!! Your mom really wrote some awesome words about you. Make sure she and Dad do what “you” want today. 😉 But please be sure to let Mom take a few pictures. We love to see you and what you are up to!

  21. Hi Ian, today is my best friend’s birthday too, it’s a great day to have a birthday. Wishing you an awesome day! Happy Birthday to you!!

  22. Briony

    Happy Birthday Ian!

  23. amy quinlan

    Happy, happy 9th Birthday, Ian! Enjoy your special day! So very glad you were born as your existence clearly inspired your mom and in turn has inspired countless others in this photography world! Katrina….you articulate motherhood beautifully…you brought many tears to my eyes! I share in celebrating this day, also, as our daughter turns 13! So many blessings to be grateful for!

  24. Jackie

    Happy Birthday.! Nine is a great age to be. My baby boy turned 30. Now I have a grandkids who I follow and photograph. Thank you so much for helping me learn to take better pictures of them.

  25. Leah Burgett

    Happy Birthday Ian!! Katrina this was awesome!! I love it! You are a great writer!

  26. Sally Rieger

    Happy birthday, Ian. We almost share birthdays as mine is tomorrow. However, I’m celebrating tonight with my husband, one of my sons, his wife and new baby. So I’m excited. Remember, the family and/or friends are more important than the gifts! Haha. Well, maybe, someday you’ll recognize that. Anyway, have a great day and I know how your mom feels about being the mother of a boy. I have two sons and three grandsons. They are special people.

    Love from Texas.

  27. Happy Birthday Ian. Thank you Katrina for such a great post, it lifted me too this morning. I remember so many of those feelings, I still have them. My boy still holds my hand if we are walking together, he phones from wherever he is, he takes photos for me and sends them from his phone, he still makes me laugh and I know he loves me. He is 25 and about to move in with his lovely girl. I pray I have done enough. Let them go and they will return. Much love to you and thanks you for CY365. I am still playing along this is my fifth year. x

  28. Linda Stroud

    What a beautiful tribute to Ian…and to motherhood! Wishing Ian a Happy Birthday and a most wonderful, adventurous year!

  29. Happy Birthday Ian!
    Have a wonderful ninth year, filled with adventures.

    Katrina? This made me a little teary xoxo

  30. Vicki I.

    Happy happy birthday Ian!

  31. Happiest of birthdays, Ian! Enjoy every moment. As the mom of a 31 and soon to be 34 year old, your words resonated with me in so many ways, Katrina. May this be a wonderful year for you, your husband, and Ian!

  32. Michele

    Wishing Ian a very Happy 9th Brithday ! Beautiful and uplifting words, Katrina. Reading your blog post started my day on a positive note.

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