Uncategorized

Sacrifice

If I had the ability to order my perfect day, it would involve line items like waking up at 7:30am (completely well-rested), a 20 minute siesta around the 2 o’clock slump, a scalding bath before bed, and dedicated time to write and sew.

Truthfully, as I contentedly raise little humans, I am glad to get just one of those things worked into any day.  But the past few weeks, as our kitchen project has us living out of suitcases like gypsies, I haven’t seen any of those things, much less had to time to dream of them.

Somehow, this week has still been restful.  A forced period where you can’t do much home maintenance, even if you wanted to (it’s hard to cook when you don’t have a sink, without a dishwasher, it feels futile to eat on anything but paper plates, and there’s no use in tending to carpet that is going to be ripped up in a week).  So many things have been chopped from my plate this week, and as long as I can ignore the chaos it is creating for a little bit, I can find my respite.

The only time of day i find myself ravenously hungry is about half an hour after all the girls fall asleep.  It doesn’t matter if I ate dinner half an hour ago, or at all, I will crawl the walls trying to find something to satiate my hunger and slake the thirst that assails me then too.

During the day, I never really feel a pang of hunger, though sometimes recognize an odd feeling of dizziness or nausea and know that it’s probably time to eat, but come about 8-8:30pm, you will find me in the kitchen, decompressing over a bowl of cereal (the perfect bedtime snack because it speaks to both the hunger AND the thirst.)

It is Lenten season.  A time of reflection and preparation we did not observe in our homes growing up, but something I was introduced to in college. (and I think it has since broadened much more outside of the Catholic tradition).  It’s a hard one to explain to the girls. “Instead of getting something everyday, (like Advent), you have to give something up!”

N and I typically “give up” the same thing, to keep company with one another and hold each other accountable.  It always brings up interesting discussions about discipline (we both approach it very differently), temptation (once again, very different), and creates a warm feeling of what we have to look forward to when our period of fasting is over.

I try not to talk about it too much, publicly, because in many ways, doesn’t this defeat the purpose of a Biblical fast?  But for the sake of penning the experience, I can tell you that this year, as well as most other years (I tend to skip the years that I am pregnant, as I feel pretty self-righteous about what I am already sacrificing), we are fasting from sugar.

Lodged right after the saccharine holidays of Halloween, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day, we are ready for Lent to slow down our ramped up consumption of the unnecessary filler that has become all to common place in our home, due to the above.  Because sugar is so addictive, it is really hard for us.  Embarrassingly so. And my body reacts as if it is going through withdrawal, with headaches, and night sweats, and scheming.

But if you can hold out long enough, you will turn the corner eventually, and the offender will lose its dominance in your life.  That’s the goal, anyway.  Going without sugar changes your palette and even your tolerance for it.  I am now enjoying foods that once would have tasted bland, but now are satisfying in other ways because they are fatty (like an avocado), or naturally sweet (bananas, carrots, almonds). And to the contrary, sweet foods that I could have easily passed over in the past (a store bought cookie), suddenly make me weak in the knees.

I have a fondness for church message boards, the kind you see with the illuminated backgrounds and black, blocky letters (always capitalized).  I always read them. Down here in the Bible belt, they are all the more common too.  The punny ones make the smile, the eyeroll inducing ones send me snitching back to N.  The Bible verses make me think, and the obviously flawed doctrinal ones make me cringe.

I appreciate a church that can keep up with a weekly rotation of it.  They will not grow weary in their diligence, and my driving entertainment value is thankful for their efforts.

There is one I have passed often this week.  It doesn’t have a verse or sinners in the hands of an angry God mini-sermon, just a punchy “Sacrifice, Sacrifice, Sacrifice”.

That’s it?  I thought as glanced over, hastily eyeing it on my way to school pickup.  Sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice.  I AM, I thought as I first read it as a command.  I am sacrificing so much.  YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW MUCH I AM SACRIFICING RIGHT NOW.

I drove away, disappointed, thinking perhaps a word of encouragement would have helped me feel better about ALL THE SACRIFICES I AM MAKING RIGHT NOW.

But the next time I felt a little slighted by the girls, it suddenly welled up in my brain.  Sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice.  Like a drummer pounding out a beat. The next time I lost (several hours of) sleep, sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice, a quiet rhythm in the lonely dark.  The cookies, the novel I can’t quite finish, the me time.  It’s all on the line and often gets slashed, usually in order to give importance to something else.

So is the call to the mother, and may we be more sanctified because of it.  Easter is coming!

-smk

Hello, Old Friend

Sometimes I feel as though I am the last person I know who keeps a blog.  I know it’s unfashionable to do so anymore (to be replaced, understandably, by much quicker forms of storytelling, such as Instagram and Snapchat—both of which I am a user and fan), I still believe in its value; but I also just as often find myself wondering how much longer will this space still be here for me?  Will my motherhood muse let me continue to tell her stories?  Will I later regret my moments of vulnerability and my lack of control over who and when can peek into my little window?

I guess when I contemplate these things at length (like the ~three minutes a day I get in the shower), I still feel it’s valuable for me to do so, both as a way to relate stories to my family and faithful followers, a catalogue of easily accessible memories for my girls to access one day, and also as a way to stretch my writing muscles and keep them from atrophy.  So here I (still) am, and plan to stay for a while, despite my silence as of late.

Speaking of which, it has been too long since my last update; I intended to share Sibby’s birth story nearly a month ago but we’ve had quite the series of events that interrupted it.  And now  I am just sitting down to write after an absence of nearly as long.  My writing, due to some of these events, has been regulated to snatches of time caught around nap and bedtime when I’m not rocking or feeding a baby.  And now that I no longer have a huge belly to hinder me, I’m also anxious to get back to sewing.  So that is also competing for my creative time that seems to find me far less these days, but is always welcomed with open arms and dismissed with a satisfied sigh.

Honestly, today has probably been the first “normal” day I’ve had with my trio since bringing Sibby home six weeks ago.  N’s summer came to a quick close and not having him around, I often feel like I am barely keeping my head above water; but I AM keeping my head above water and starting to feel some of the benefits of treading by myself.  A rhythm is starting to form and I’m giving myself a lot of grace as I navigate this minute, but very important season.

All that to say, settle in for some stories to come, all of which the microwave forms of social media cannot touch,

-smk

This is what a baby does to me 

I’m writing this post at 5:26am. Not necessarily a godforsaken hour to all of you, but to me it’s just another hour in the day. Right now there are no boundaries between night and day, no hours that are kept untouched from my presence being needed. And in sixteen days, I’ve become totally accustomed to it. Right now, this is my best thinking time.

Three newborns later, I love having a newborn in the house. It slows me down to a glacial pace, when I am otherwise a multitasking maniac, desperate to accomplish it all. I’ve been able to savor this pace because it comes with the mindset that if only lasts for a minuscule season. Plus, I spent months preparing for it. Some of the things I set in place run like clockwork without me intervening, others get ignored for this season, and then the remaining tasks get job shared by willing friends and family. And for once I feel totally pleased to accept their help. This is what a baby does to me. 

Other things on my mind at this hour: 

Bea has a cold right now with a wicked cough that I desperately hope the rest of us don’t catch, mostly for the sake of the baby. So far it has been a few days without anyone else succumbing, no small miracle considering the drink sharing that goes on around here. 

It is really humbling to accept a meal from a friend. But, oh, what a gift. The time it took to plan it, shop for it, prepare it, and deliver it just as the dinner bell is ringing…this is not something that goes under appreciated. So far we’ve dined on soft corn tortillas filled with brothy, Mexican spiced chicken , baked chicken on a bed of sticky rice with tender broccoli and cauliflower, and campfire style hamburgers with sides of roasted potatoes and corn on the cob. This week we’ve been delivered thick pork chops with sweet potatoes and apples in a cinnamon infused glaze and an updated Shepherd’s pie with sweet potatoes and green peppers in place of their traditional cousins. I want to write all of these ideas down so I can add them to my often rut deepening repertoire.  

One thing I find myself itching for each day is a creative outlet. I’ve lost myself to the baby, with bliss, but I find myself spending nap time online window shopping for new fabric and dreaming up a project list for when my time isn’t as sparse. Thankfully this blog allows me some measure of a creative outlet, and one that is easy to do whilst holding a snoring baby to your chest.  

I also need to get out of the house once a day. An evening walk or an afternoon in the sun is an easy fix for this and ices the cake for an all around enjoyable maternity leave.  

-smk

Exhale 

You know when you’ve reached the end of a long week and you can finally exhale on the weekend? That’s what last week was; the final push for N’s doctorate class (his final FINAL class is next week!!! {after 9 years of hard work, not including the 4 years of undergrad}), the extra hours he had to put in at work, leaving pregnant me and the girls trying not to grow tired of each other’s company after several days keeping company together in a row, and finally on Friday a labor scare that sent me to the hospital (which keep in mind is an hour drive away) and that I left for within 20 minutes of discovery. (Thankfully baby is doing just fine and there were no signs of labor whatsoever). Phew.
It was the kind of week where we looked forward to going out to dinner on Saturday but both preferred takeout so we didn’t have to actually go out.
We did that day finally tackle some organization projects that cleared up some much needed space in the house and perhaps may be the very thing to satisfy the little nesting bug that’s been biting me lately. The entire drive to the hospital (referenced above), I kept thinking, if this baby is going to come now (or I’m on bedrest until she does), I’m okay with that. Sure there were a few things left undone (and wet laundry in the machine, meat thawing for dinner, and two little girls I was making plans for on the way down), but I felt totally peaceful about the timing. And that was strangely reassuring.

Of course, anytime in May is most preferable, both for her health and mine.  It will be good for me to have the next month to mentally prepare for labor, have N wrap up some even more loose ends at work, and get through flu season (I really want the girls to be able to visit at the hospital).
We’ve got six or so weeks left, Lord willing, maybe a little less, maybe a little more. Things are starting to wrap up, take shape, order themselves nicely. I’m ready, but I’m not ready. But I’m ready.

(so is this belly)

-smk

Baby Name Game Clue #2: a rose by any other name 

We are on vacation and typing posts on my phone is both stressful (I’ve had many a draft “disappear”) and I hate the flow (it just doesn’t appear the same way on my phone as it does on the computer).  But, I want to stay on track with the clues so I’ll go ahead and give the second one today.  I just don’t have a very good story to go along with it.

Clue #2: her third name will be a color name 

I’m sure you will recall, if you’ve been around for my other girls’ given names, that we like to use a color name as a placeholder in the third position.  We do this because we like creative names but we don’t have the gumption to use them as first names; plus the use of color names is a nod to my artistic background as well as N’s art appreciation.  We like that all of our children will have this trait in common too.

I can count on my hand the number of times I actually have to write the girls’ second middle name on a document or form so they are incredibly underused, and perhaps a bit indulgent on our part, but we enjoy the common, colored thread running through our vein of names.

The bonus hint I will give you this time is that we searched high and low to find a name that isn’t in the same color family as the other two.  MG has Veridian (which is a blue-green but considered in the green family) and Bea has Aubergine which is an eggplant purple.

I wanted this baby to have a color that wasn’t either a green or purple. The problem being that so many of the names I loved fall into these two camps: Ivy, Iris, Wisteria, Violet, Chartreuse, etc.  BUT, I did finally find one that fit the above categories and that we both love the sound of with our other two names.

Stay tuned to find out next week more info about the format of her name ☺️

-smk

Clue #3

32 years, 30 weeks 

Whelp, it’s my birthday again.  Another one snuck up on me, despite having an extra day to prepare for it this year. I’ve had some time this morning to reflect as any good birthday should cause you to do.

Today:

Today it is rainy and warm (for this time of year at least).  The trees outside are starting to bud and I think we’re in for that early spring after all.  You can’t be too wishful for such things in Indiana though, as seasons aren’t really safe from colliding into each other until they’re really over. 

I’m tired.  I thought for sure I would have nesting energy at this point but instead I feel overwhelmed by little tasks that need to get done, and little desire to remedy that. In the afternoons, my true free time, I am catching a nap as often as possible.  

This baby is one of my sleepier babies too.  Her movements have become more gentle as she has grown and although I feel her often in the day, it is usually not until late at night that she is the most active.

This pregnancy has definitely taken its toll on me, mentally, physically, and otherwise.  I can definitely tell a difference between being pregnant at 32 vs. 26.  I may have been born under spring but I’m no longer a spring chicken. 

This Month:

This past month was both long and short at the same time.  It was packed full of doctor and dentist appointments, play dates, and extracurriculars.  Maybe that’s why I’m so tired?  Usually February finds us hibernating and playing vigil until the days lengthen and Lent is lifted.  

Birthday withheld, I’m always excited to flip the calendar to March and dream of warmer days, spring break, and setting our clocks back to the correct time.  March always brings an excitement with it. 

This Year:

This year has been…interesting.  I don’t really know where it went as I don’t have much to show for it other than a swollen abdomen.  

I don’t think this has been a learning year for me, neither hard working not particularly restful, but more of a slow growing one, learning more about myself and confronting some weaknesses.  No major life lessons learned, no faith testing trials, just little battles with faint scars and small victories.

There’s a lot of unknowns coming up this year but I feel ready to face them.  If age is just a number, then I don’t feel a day over 32.

-smk 

Cool as a Cucumber 

Today marks 28 weeks and the start of the third trimester.  That means I’m two-thirds done with this pregnancy! At most I have 14 weeks left, but potentially a lot less. It’s definitely starting to feel more real….

…as well as look it too.

While baby is now responding to my voice and is apparently able to dream, I am starting to become more and more aware of my larger size and growing belly.  Strangers are too as this month I’ve received my first “out of the blue” pregnancy comments, always a fun milestone to cross off.  I don’t mind these as the ratio of good comments far outweigh the insensitive ones, and I soak up the wisdom and wistfully loving looks given of the older generations.

Some of my complaints include rolling over in bed, getting up from a seated position, easily becoming tired, and running out of breath a lot.  I definitely don’t have the energy I did last month and could nap again almost every day if time allowed.  Honestly most afternoons, I feel just plain lazy.  I know this is just a passing phase though and nesting energy will hit soon enough.  When it does I will use it to my advantage, but until then, I am taking the time to rest according to my body’s demands.  Starting at the beginning of this pregnancy, I intentionally  cut back on outside stress and commitments and I’m so thankful I did, especially right now.  I’ve had more than one person remind me that stress is not good for the baby (or myself, really), and I’m thankful for the ability to mitigate it as much as possible.

Conveniently, Bea and I seem to be on the same schedule: go to bed early, but stay awake until late, wake up a few times a night and then for good bright & early, naps required in the afternoon. I don’t know when she’s going to drop her afternoon nap but I’m thankful for every second of peaceful rest I get and crossing my fingers it either ends soon or lasts well past Mayby’s newborn stage.  I just don’t know if I can try to “nap when the baby naps” as well as try to teach Bea the importance of quiet afternoon rest time.

With my other two girls, I only experienced a little bit of heartburn, just enough to make me hope they were growing hair (old wives tale).  This time it’s been a lot more pronounced, not to the point where I’ve medicated, yet, but uncomfortable for sure.  I’m praying she comes out with a head full of black hair.  In my humble pregnant opinion, salsa, tomato sauce, and chewy sprees are the best hair growing tonic I’ve found.


I love feeling her move around as it is always reassuring.  Her movements are a lot more energetic now and I can even feel the subtle ones too.  The weirdest sensation is getting numb spots on my stomach, almost as if it’s falling asleep.  I usually get these when I’m up and moving around; perhaps she’s found a nerve?


Based on her movement, if I had to guess, I would say she is transverse with her head slightly angled down.  I get so many, well actually all, sharp kicks on my right side.  It is rare to feel anything but little jabs on my left.  She still has plenty of time to go head down but I’m praying she does in the next ten weeks as no doctor will naturally deliver a transverse baby.

Next week I have my glucola test and I graduate to bi-weekly appointments.  Even though my doctor is an hour away, I enjoy these mornings with the girls.  It was a special time for MG and me last pregnancy and it is becoming that way again as the girls know what to expect each time and also learn a little more about the baby as well.  I’m certainly enjoying my car- seat free arms as well as stroller, diaper bag, and heavy-baby-carrying free hands as well.  Although I can’t wait for her to hurry up and join our family already, I know, just like last time, I’ll look back and relish the days when “it was so easy”.

I can’t remember if this plagued me in the last two pregnancies at this point but I’m having some fears over the baby.  This time I don’t fear the delivery like last time (although maybe that will come as it nears), as Bea’s birth was my redemption birth, my confidence booster. But I do fear something happening to this baby.  Every day feels like another step taken, closer to meeting this baby, but also harder to let go of her.

It feels too good, and slightly unfair, that we would get not one, not two, but three healthy girls to take care of.

-smk

P.S. here is Bea’s pregnancy cucumber update 

A little love story

A little love story for your Valentine’s Day…

N was quarantined in the spare bedroom, sick with a virus that I desperately hoped not to catch.

I thanked the good Lord as I heated up leftovers.  The thought of cooking a dinner from scratch for just the three of us sounded so unappealing and would have stolen my time to read books with Bea; which I find myself doing more routinely now that she can sit still for long periods of time.  

We blessed our dinner and MG made sure to add in a special prayer for Daddy while I covered behind her with silent pleading and house scrubbing.  The girls liked my leftovers tonight so that accounted for one less battle I had to fight and left room for leftover Super Bowl treats from our party the night before.  

MG was on a high.  She’d come home from school, dance, and piano lessons, to a new bath toy which she had earned from a motivational chart.  She wasn’t allowed to open it yet, just look at it though the plastic. While I emptied the dishwasher, I answered 1,000 questions about it.  After the questions started to repeat themselves in a cyclical whir of a 5-year old brain, I had to remind her that I didn’t have any more answers about it than she did.

We cleaned up the kitchen and then played in and cleaned up their kitchen.  I was then treated to a ballet and at the end, instructed to throw roses at pink leather shod feet.

I gathered the girls upstairs and started a bath.  Capitalizing on the excitement of the new toy and that Bea had taken a 3+ hour nap that day in the name of “the time has come to gather all Sweet Mama Makes’s paperwork for our tax guy”, I let the bath time run long, hoping it would tire them out to my level of tired and create fewer bedtime battles I’d have to navigate singlehandedly. 

The water eventually ran cold and we warmed it up.  But when lips turned blue and skin turned pruney, it was finally time to exit.  The lotion, ‘jamas, hairbrush, toothbrush routine was mercifully expedited because we had to be quiet “because daddy was sleeping.”, and the girls will do anything attentively so long as there is a ring of newness to it.

We stole away to the sister room and finally laid heads on pillows.  The girls each picked out a book, Frog and Toad for the eldest, lift-the-flap for the youngest (poor second child, most of the flaps had been torn off three years prior)  I picked up the Bible reading next, which is something Daddy normally covers, but felt confusion, not knowing where he’d last left off.  MG said, “let’s just read my favorite story” and pointed to Goliath.  This has been her favorite story since…never.   

I was kind of shocked at how graphic this retelling was.  I was apprehensive it would give her, the most sensitive of imaginations, nightmares.  At the end she said, “in the other Bible we read, David takes a sword and chops off his head at the end.  I guess that would make blood go everywhere.”  Fears put to rest.

I kissed them both and inhaled their freshly bathed scent, the perfume that launched a 1,000 mothers. I said goodnight even though I knew Bea would reappear in my peripheral in about 6 minutes, give or take.  

I went downstairs to tidy up and finish up a project and counted 10, 9, 8,7….

I watched on the monitor as MG rolled over and tucked herself in.  I panned the room searching for Bea.  I finally spotted a little, wet, top knot sticking up from the stairs outside their room.  Upon further inspection, she was reading a book by the light of the hallway lamp. I suppose I couldn’t be mad about that.

But a predictable ten minutes later I heard the attempted, yet failed, silence of tip toes coming down the first, and then second flight of stairs.

I looked up serendipitously as she poked her head around the corner.  

She knows she’s not supposed to be downstairs.  She knows she is learning to stay in her big girl bed. She knows this means she will have to sleep in her crib instead.  But she just can’t help herself.  As I carry her back up, I feel for her, somewhat.  Her self-control is just underdeveloped.  And being in a dark room next to a snoring sister is just so….boring.  Her big girl bed is my “last chapter and then I’m done”.

It was a late night for me as I worked out a few frustrations on my project before willingly setting it down.  It’s hard to walk away on a negative note and not have it chase you for another 24 hours until you can pick it up again.

 As I made my final rounds, picking up fallen dollies from beds, clicking off flashlights, closing up books, I noticed that Bea was still awake. Lying down, but awake.  I reached out my arms to her and she came willingly, pressing her weight against me like only a lover of physical touch can.

She is still doughy, like a baby.  When I squeeze her, she is fleshy, not bony and muscular like her older sister.  Sometimes I just can’t help myself and grab for her because her skin feels so good and her limbs are so healthy in a way that I am ever more aware I will never be again.  All that good skin, wasted on the young. 

She usually gets annoyed with my pinching and kissing, but at night she is warm and melty and will languish in my arms so long as it prolongs her banishment to bed.  

I pressed my head into hers and she pressed back.  I whispered, “i love you” and she whispered something non-sensical back.  I laughed because it was more “hot breath” than words and it tickled my neck and ear.  Then she laughed.  And I thought “I’ve never felt more love than I feel in this very moment, on this very day.”  And that thought occurs to me 1,000 times every single day.  

So is a mother.

Not your typical love story, to be sure, but one any mom could write given an hour and a moment of reflection.

-smk

Nesting

Nesting strikes us pregnants in different ways, at different times, I think.  My version this week has been to triple, yes triple back up my favorite photos from the years past.

It’s one of those jobs that I’ve been putting off for a while; it’s boring, it was low on my priority list, and it nagged me, but not enough to commit hours to it.

Then finally the nesting bug bit hard and I began the digital slog through the weeks, months, and years of our past (nearly) ten years of memories, to make sure our top favorites were in one, always accessible, easy to find space.

I made a strong effort to be very selective in my choices, because I hate the glut.  Just the idea of trying to find a specific photo from a chasm of an endless seclection makes my heart quell with a little anxiety.  The old method was queue up computer, retrieve external hard drive, plug it in while praying it’s not been corrupted or unintentionally erased, or some other horrible scenario.  Pick a year, pick a month, and begin wading through the thousands of selections.  All the while wishing you had done it better to begin with and vowing to change as you move forward.

Years 2013-2014 were particularly brutal.  It was the year Bea was born and my phone seemed to know no bounds of a delete button.  It just snapped, snapped, snapped, recording each fragmented moment and, in the great misfortune, didn’t take the time to sift through them later.

That’s one thing I’ve gleaned from this historical comb, I hope I am a better picture taker as the years go by.  Not only in composition, but also in editing, and knowing when to stop with the shutter button.  Because 100 photos of the same seated baby does not a good photo shoot make.

Another thing that was impressed upon me was how darling our girls were.  I mean, look at them.

   
   
  I try not to brag on them (superficially at least), too much, but looking back on these photos makes my buttons pop just a little.
And the strange thing too is that I knew they were beautiful, unique, little creatures at the time but somehow, knowing their personality, and composition in full, and seeing glimpses of their futures in their faces, somehow makes these old photos more relevant and beautiful, and treasures worth preserving with utmost care.

-smk

Home Days

This year, as I’ve mentioned before, MG has school two days a week which involve waking up before any of us are ready, rushing through the morning routine of breakfast, dressing, and detailing; all the while I  feel like a constant time minder, chirping “hurry up”, “do this next thing”, “let’s go”.
The three days she doesn’t have school, we have a more relaxed morning, but I do like to go to the gym 1 or 2 of those days, and also schedule play dates and office appointments, which means we are once again leaving the house in pursuit of something.

That leaves only one or two days a week where we don’t have somewhere to be.  Seeing that kindergarten is just around the corner, I’ve made a conscientious effort to slow down on these open days before our lives are much more dictated by the school calendar.

Embracing this seeming descent to the end, I’ve taken to letting MG (loosely) decide the schedule for those days and I’ve learned so much about her by giving her this freedom.

Nine times out of ten, she chooses to have a “home day”. Her requests often suggest pajamas all day, a few minutes of shows, favorite books to be read, care-taking for her “babies”, a picnic lunch (of course denied in the winter), and some alone time in the afternoon while Bea sleeps.

That’s a schedule I can readily agree to, but for my own sanity, I always have some sort of “sub plans” if I feel the game of “baby” lingers on just a little too long, or I can no longer stand to read the same book for the fourth time that morning, or I feel the words, “I’m bored”, on the verge of little lips.

Last week that hat trick was blueberry muffins, the week before it was play-doh princesses, and this week it was manicures.

Giving MG this freedom to choose taught me that she’s a homebody, that she prefers pajamas to clothes,  and that she still wants me to give her some direction with how to spend her time.  But I’m also learning more about Bea by spending this more dedicated time with both of them.

In the past few months, we’ve watched our baby become a shadow of her sister.  Still fierce and independent, sure, but when it comes to new situations, she turns to MG as her teacher and then carefully models her behavior.

When I asked the girls this week if they would like me to paint their nails, MG said yes enthusiastically; while Bea watched MG’s response first and then carefully nodded her head too, I’m sure not really knowing what she was agreeing to.

MG led the way to the bathroom and then sat on the step stool while she waited for me to supply the paint.  Bea fussed as she tried to also find room on the stool for her bottom, not sure if there was an alternative.

MG picked out one color for her toes and a different one for her hands.  Bea watched her decide and then chose something similar but slightly different.

I told MG to fan her toes out while I worked on them first; Bea carefully mimicked MG, then  withdrew when she realized it wasn’t her turn, and then carefully arranged them again just so when I turned her way.

If I asked MG a question, Bea repeated the answer before I could ask.  Just like a pole-parrot, it was coming out instinctively.  Not in an effort to define, but an effort to learn.

It’s in these times, when something is new and foreign, I realize how much learning Bea does from her older sister.  It’s not me she is seeking to imitate, but her older sister to whom she gives her full attention.

In twenty years, I presume I won’t remember much about these “home days”, other than what I can find in my brief notes about them.  If that’s the case, then I want to remember the background noise of the washing machine, which seems like it is eternally churning through it’s cycles on these days.  I want to remember the feel of little bodies trying to climb on my person during a story, the peachy scent of their hair close enough to taste.  The smell of the crock pot promising an easy dinner. The relative silence of hungry mouths appreciating a good lunch. The way stretching  limbs and wayward elbows feel from the inside of me, reminding me that she, too, is already a part of our days.  The way a little sister, soon to be a big sister, looks to her older sister in moments of question. 

 And I know I don’t have to write this one down because I will surely remember, that these were great days indeed.

-smk

1 2 3 5