It is one of those slightly ironic tragedies to find myself too busy to find the time to write, since it is only in writing that we have the ability to stop time. I watch my children turning into these wonderful, amazing little people, and in the back of my mind, the empty page haunts me.
I think too, though, that I would rather live in the moment and be truly With them, than observing and taking notes in my head and only be with them. I suppose this is what I signed up for too, I knew having babies so close would mean giving up my body for a few years – what I didn’t account for is giving up my time for a few years even longer after that. But even so, I’m able to carve out moments alone – perfect ones like this one, when the morning light is soft, and the heater is on to take the chill away – when everyone is asleep and the house is, magically almost, quiet. These are moments that get shattered in an instant, so I’ve learned to live in them – to soak them up and to let them fill me for days to come.
My daughter is a whirlwind, a firecracker, a total smartass sassafrass comedian. She makes up words to her own songs and dances and races around the house performing her musical ballets at the top of her lungs. She loves dirt, isn’t afraid of the big slides, or the big kids, and stands up for herself. She’s incredibly kind to her friends and impossibly loving with her little brother, who, with his short list of play skills, must be the least interesting thing to a 3 year old. She’s also sensitive, emotional, and gets upset about surprisingly deep things, like “growing.” She cried in my arms 3 nights ago at bed time, telling me she no longer wanted to grow. She had recently outgrown a pair of sandals – pink ones edged in bright green and covered in charcoal watermelon seeds – and it was like the weight of time and life hit her when she realized she no longer fit into her beloved sandals. Suddenly she possessed the knowledge that she would grow and change and have to leave things she loved behind. I told her that just this once, for tonight, she could stop growing. Because what is childhood really, if it doesn’t have a bit of magic. Magic is worth clinging to. And for what it’s worth, I’d buy a hundred pairs of those sandals if I could, in every size and then some – if it meant making her happy, keeping her safe from the heavy moments of clarity in life. Because that’s what (the heartbreak of) parenting is all about. But one thing I’ve realized since becoming a parent – nothing in life is worth doing if it doesn’t have the potential to break your heart.
My son is very much still a baby – drooling and goo-ing and haphazardly trying to move his body in ways to control those ever-flailing limbs. He is almost crawling and can scoot pretty well if he has something to grab and pull and push with his little toes. But even at this age his personality shines – another sensitive child for sure, but also the happiest, giggliest soul you’ll ever get the chance to meet. I’m convinced he wakes up every day in wonder of the world around him, excited to see what new knowledge will open up to him next. It’s hard to label a still-squishy being who can’t talk or walk and is really barely beginning to communicate as “positive” but oh – he is the very definition of it. I can’t wait to see the wonderful little boy he turns into. He claps and claps and claps, and giggles and claps some more. All while having a wide open, gummy smile that can (I dream, quite) literally light up a room. Especially if his sister is in it. He loves her so wonderfully, so openly, so encompassingly even when she is having a toddler-grade meltdown in his tiny ears. He is the calming water to her wild storm, and they are perfection together.
Let’s not forget my husband, the rock to which this family clings like moss. He is the center of the universe for the kids, he is the driving force behind the rotation of the whole house. He keeps us together, he is the perfect partner, the loving husband, the absolutely incredible father. He cooks, he cleans, he listens to endless, rambling stories about sandcastles and shushes middle-of-the-night cries. He is my everything. And to the kids, I think he’s even more than that. He is the universe.
All this to say, that lately – I feel incredibly lucky.