5 & 3 & 1

They are 5, 3 and 1 year old.

This will never happen again.

My baby? She just turned 1 year old. We’ve had her an entire year. Is it possible that it feels like a lifetime and a minute all at once? Is it possible that I swear I just gave birth to 6lbs 2oz of beautiful blonde one hot second ago? And yet now she walks. She talks. She giggles. She sleeps on her own, in her crib. She eats steak. She has befriended the pets unlike any other in our house. She has a personality…and it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the roles each of my daughters play in our life as a family. And I happen to think they are very important. Each of them was born at just the right time, despite two of them being happy surprises:) Maybe that’s what makes me consider it more closely.

Bella brought us together as a family. True, Ryan and I were already getting married, but her arrival meant so much more to the beginning of “our” life. She gave Ryan focus, she gave me a purpose, she gave us the push we needed to step out into the scary world and start our own life. The next 5+ years were filled with oohs, ahhs, snuggles, spoiling rotten at holidays, bonding, and patience. Yes, most of all, Bella continuously teaches us patience. She is me down to her very core. Quick to emotion, stubborn and intelligent. She will find the loophole in your rule & exploit it. She watches your face and knows instantly when you need a hug. She wants your attention, she wants your approval, she wants to literally know you. She very much wants to be your friend, she finds you fascinating. She is wicked smart and so creative I stare in wonder as her mind works beauty with a crayon on a blank page.

Nika…she and I share a deep secret. She taught me to breathe. To enjoy. To trust. Her life renewed a purpose in mine. When I lost myself for a brief moment in time, she came out like a flash and all I’d held against the universe was forgiven in an instant: “It’s a girl!”. Another girl. A second daughter for a Daddy convinced of a son on the way. And while I lay still after intense struggles following her quick arrival, I watched Ryan’s soul light from the inside as his baby girl opened her eyes and stared at him for the first time. She gave him hope. While I cried out in agony, he held on to an hours-old girl and promised her he’d never leave her. They are both middle children- my husband and Annika. They are shit-disturbers. They are over things as quickly as they arise. She is hilarious, she is a satellite, she is immensely generous and expects little in return. She has brought laughter and forgiveness into our home. She is the perfect middle sister because she desires to be part of your group for a split second before she runs off to play with someone else. She doesn’t much care if you’re offended, she’ll figure it out on her own thankyouverymuch.

Maëlle began as a lesson in listening to each other. In short: we weren’t. Ryan and I could not get on the same page about when/if to have another baby. When I wanted one, he didn’t. When he wanted one, I was out. We called it a draw and said we’d revisit the issue in 6 months. Cue two pink lines and a surprise May baby! When we found out it was our third daughter, I felt all at once thrilled for myself (it was what I had wanted) and a little heartbroken for Ryan, who would never get a son. And yet, again I was not listening to him. He was not upset with having a third daughter. He was thrilled. He was nervous. He was anxious to meet her. To see which parts of her older sisters she carried and what new tricks she brought to the table. She has become nothing short of a beacon of light in this house. You just can’t help but smile at her. She wants to include everyone in her (certainly devious) plans. Loving, never discriminating, she is such an easy child. Her laughter comes from her chunky baby belly and she shares them with everyone. She’s a little bit shy, and yet so deliciously independent. Never wanted a part of baby food, she was gnawing on chicken before she had more than 2 teeth. Crawling by an astonishing 5 months, walking at 11 months, she says words so distinctive that perfect strangers can understand them. In a word: joy. Simple joy she has brought us.

 

Every parent thinks their children are the better side of perfect. I say mine may not be perfect…to you. But they couldn’t be more perfect for us. Each of them is exactly what we need, exactly our equal and our nemesis at any given moment. There have been no better teachers in our lives filled with schooling. And as I write this? I can hear my youngest, giggling with sheer abandon as my handsome husband is surely tickling her chubby chin with his whiskers. You must excuse me…there are smiles to be shared:)

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