Music and laughter and staring straight at the wall trying to relax, that's what we've been up to. A hundred things and nothing at the same time.
I skipped over folders of photos and went back a month or two to a set I took before the girls got their hair cut. Some weekend toward the end of October, I think. Sunkissed and fancy free, beautiful Ruby gets her complex thoughts onto paper.
This next set, I am obsessed with.
I've been more present lately, by my own concerted effort. It takes that and more to truly enjoy 24/7 motherhood. There are moments of pure bliss, a fast-forward section of my life's movie, against a soundtrack that would both break your heart and completely fulfill it. Those blissful times are fenced in with "all the rest" and it's shoulder-tightening what? I don't know... but it's a lot of cleaning and cooking and singing and then OH! I have to be somewhere!
Then there's this girlfriend of mine:
She sits there on the couch opposite me after school. Begs me to text other moms and arrange for her friends to come over. I'm not enough? I ask her with a grin. She sinks into adolescence and I bend toward her with great effort saying, don't change too much, baby.
I go and lie down with the older girls after the young ones go to sleep. Ruby is still slight and giggly, still 7. Grace knows and realizes planets more now, but adores her sister despite her age. I hope they will always fall into each other's arms in comfort and confidence.
This little one, with that refined face, has seen it all. She and I have a push and pull still, the one that started when she was a young toddler. We communicate on a very primitive level and it is often pretty rough going.
Lillie. One who like a river fills the earth's cracks and will not -- CANNOT stop. You can build a city or a dam or a damn continent and you know what? She will still cut you off at the knees because that's what kind of human being she is.
I learn along the way, and good for me, but it does not soften her deliberateness. NO. She doesn't change much, she just looks at me with a grin most likely thinking, great, way to finally catch on that I'M IN CHARGE.
Listen to me now, describing how tenacious she is and all I can do is stare up at that little button nose of hers and I can scarcely believe it myself!
And on we go. Spent Thanksgiving with my wonderful parents in northern California, had lots of beach days in between and went to Florida for a Smylie Christmas. I have a million photos and even more stories, but they are for another day.
I'm feeling incredibly grateful for those four little bodies, with their thoughts and personalities and oh, oh, the things that come out of their mouths.
Thank you thor making uth dinner mommy! Lillie says.
Ruby what do you want to be when you grow up? Jake asks her.
"I want to be loved".
Music is the only thing that could ever describe the beauty, worry and fatigue that is family and parenthood. With a half-melted heart and burning eyelids, I close this day with hope that I can just do a little better tomorrow.