i write so that i will remember

Yesterday my littlest woke me up before it was light, just like she does every morning, like she has every morning since I stopped nursing her through the night.  I pulled her from her bed, brought her into mine.  Her daddy lay still on her other side.  She was on her back looking up at the ceiling fan as it slowly rotated.  I curled into her and listened to her breathe.  Her small, perfectly chubby hands found my hair, my neck, my cheeks.  "Mommy, I'm ready for my milk and water and graham crackers," she cheerfully announced.  Snuggle time over.  Morning had officially begun.

We went downstairs, retrieved her snacks.  I silently cursed the dishwasher which had failed to complete its cycle.  Lu sat perched on the counter where she always sits while I do the morning chores - dishes, silverware, counters.  I changed the date on the white board to attempt to orient my grandparents to the day ahead.  I made tea.  Lu sang.

We went upstairs and read from our giant stack of library books.  Aida burst into the room, sleepy-eyed and smiling.  She created a spot for herself in the rocking chair.  Her daddy pulled himself out of bed and into his 6-mile-running shoes.  We read some more, and listened to Lucy as she pretended to go to the fair, and relived the best moments from the previous evening's carnival.  We got tired of waiting for Sister to wake up and Daddy to get home and make waffles so we went downstairs for a bowl of cereal.

Sophie galloped down.  We cleaned up cereal bowls and moved to the front porch to await the arrival of that running Daddy.  My favorite part of Saturday.  Each of my big girls huddled into my sides, knees bent and nightshirts pulled over goose-bumpy legs.  Lulee was on my lap.  We swung and sang.  It was raining, and it felt like fall.  I breathed in fresh air and exhaled thanks.

We waited.  Daddy came home.  He turned on some music (heavy on the synthesizers) while he stretched and Lucy hopped down, poised to begin.  Her favorite part of Saturday.  She hopped, and ran, and spun, and bent in half so that her head was on the ground and her face peeked at us through her legs.  She made faces and we laughed and laughed and laughed.

Inside for puzzles while Daddy finally made those waffles.  Mimi restarted the dishwasher again.  (I had a minor ridiculous freak-out moment.)  The girls ate a 2nd breakfast.  We putzed and puttered.

At lunchtime Aida cried about her head hurting and not wanting to eat.  She crawled back into bed and I took her temperature.  Fever.  And then, after such a sweet morning, I found myself holding onto her and a tupperware bowl as she retched and spit and cried.

And I thought about how motherhood - or the idea of motherhood - inspires so many fantasies, and about how during my pregnancies I had these (silly) visions of cutely dressed children in coffee shops, sitting nicely or playing cards while I drank my vanilla latte.  I haven't had a vanilla latte in years.

Motherhood is closing your eyes as you dump vomit from a bowl into the toilet.  It is getting your heart tugged and squeezed and stomped on.  It is poop all up in everywhere and it is trying with every ounce of self-control to stay calm and speak gently.  It is working to forgive yourself when you don't.  It is humbling and exhausting, and the best work I've ever done.  It is chubby hands on my neck and songs on the front porch swing and the ache deep within that says, "This.  Thank You for this."


a belated birthday post

These girls, these teeny tiny babies who rushed into the world on an August day

are now 6, tall and long-legged and funny, creative and loud but quiet, in Kindergarten and suddenly away from me more than they are with me, loving and lovable and quirky, beautiful and intelligent and exhausting.

Aida loves to create things out of crumpled papers and boxes and cast-off toys.  That "trash" in her room?  She's playing with that, and heaven forbid anyone tries to throw it away.  She leaves the sweetest notes on my pillow that say "Mommy. I love you so so much.  Love Aida" and they will never, never get old.  I love it when she comes downstairs in the mornings, usually a few minutes before her sister, hair disheveled and glasses off, rubbing her eyes.  She likes to be sung to and snuggled in those moments, long legs and all.

Sophie is still our fancy girl.  She loves sequins and rhinestones and dresses her stuffed animals up in the most elaborate costumes one could imagine.  Each one is beribboned and bedazzled.  All of a sudden she is a fluent reader and she perches on her bed with a stack of books and reads.every.word.  By herself.  She is a dancer and a singer and a dreamer, and loves to giggle uncontrollably with her friends.  She is gentle and dramatic and loves to cuddle her baby sister.

We celebrated 6 years of twin delightfulness 2 Saturdays ago with a unicorn pool party (don't all unicorns swim?).  The day of their actual birthday they took brownies to school to share with their classmates.  Lucy and I met them for lunch in the cafeteria and I marveled at how comfortable they already were in their new environment.  Grandmom had a special birthday tea party for their afterschool snack and then we Skyped with Nana and Grandpa and Auntie Cat and Timmy and Ginny and then we headed to McDonald's (always their birthday choice) to meet Daddy for dinner.

Then we came home and Sophie cried because her tummy hurt and 2 hours later she threw up more than anyone I have ever seen.  We officially dubbed her as having had "too much birthday" and will probably not return to McDonald's for quite some time.   Or forever. Which was perhaps an unexpected birthday present.

Happy birthday, sweet girlies.  Oh, how we love you.