My kids are growing up so quickly. There are more moments that I can count when I wish desperately to slow or stop time. I never knew before having children you could love another person so much. They frustrate me, they challenge me, they make me feel like I’m losing my mind completely, they break me sometimes but they are my heart.
Gracie and I were driving home from ballet the other night. Something silly happened and we just started giggling. And it became a little inside joke for us. It flashed in my mind at that moment…one thing that I really love about her is her sense of humor. That lead me to think of other things that I love about her, about the boys too.
Ryley – I love that he still has tiny blond hairs on his neck….the same blond hair he had in the NICU that I used to stare at and touch, because it was pretty much the only part of him not covered in tubes, tape, and wires. I love that his features are still exactly the same as they were on that tiny baby, then toddler, then little kid face. Ethan and Grace’s faces have changed so much, but Ryley’s has remained essentially the same. It brings me comfort. I love the gleam in his eyes that says he’s up to mischief. It makes me laugh at the same time it gives me warning. I love his confidence. I love his ability to make friends. He never seems to think anyone is going to dislike him. He can still walk into a room expecting everyone to like him, and they usually do. I love that he loves music. I love that he loves to read. I love that when he sleeps, he still curls his hands the same way he did as a baby. I love that he sleeps so deeply you could blast a trumpet in his ear and he would sleep through it. I love that he’s curious about politics, the economy, and world issues. I love his handwriting. I love how in tune he is to the emotions going on around him. I love his hugs and that he still loves to snuggle.
Gracie – I love that she is able to laugh at herself. I love when she dances in her room. I love that she sings in the car just as loudly as I. I love how versatile she is. I love the fact she is both girlie-girl and tomboy. I love her wit. I love her ability to dance. I love her ability to play goalie at a high soccer level. I love that she loves to cook. I love how she cares so much about those around her. She has a drive for perfection I can completely relate to. She pushes herself constantly. We never have to remind her to do homework or argue with her about finishing projects. She is the first to volunteer to run errands with me and with her dad. She is great with younger girls, easily able to get along with people of all ages. She is smart, but doesn’t make a big deal about it. I love she loves to draw. I love her love of paper to write on because I know she gets that to me. Some of my favorite times with her are on our drives to and from the dance studio. We get to talk, we get to giggle, and we get to sing together. Soon enough, she won’t like me for awhile, so I’m going to enjoy this time now. I love that she is me, to the power of ten. She has so much more confidence and strength than I ever did at her age. I love the smile that reaches her eyes.
Ethan – This boy has had my heart completely from the minute we knew he was completing our family. I love his laugh so much. We hear it more and more often these days, and I am so grateful. I love his questions which stump me more often than not. I love that he pushes me to find things out (so I can attempt to answer his questions). I love that his therapy has helped me be a better parent in general. I absolutely adore his love of animals. I love the way he still says “backyard” (it sounds more like back-a-yard). I love that his first real word was “excavator”. I love the way he sits when he’s reading or playing on his DS or iPod – we have a future yogi maybe. I love his double-jointedness and that he thinks it funny he can freak people out by holding his arms out. I love he still sleeps with his big stuffed Nemo and the Nemo blanket I made for him years ago. I love his brilliance. I love his ability to write stories and create comic books. I love his mad Lego skills. I love his vocabulary. I love to hear him sing along in the car, especially because we went a long time without hearing him sing. I love the look on his face when he realizes he *can* do something he was sure he could not. I love the way he says, “Yes, Mom” when he’s asked to help with something or finish a chore.
What I love most is seeing bits of me, Michael, and both of our families in these three gifts.