A Letter to My Girls 

  
Dear Darling Daughters,

Words can’t begin to express the joy that fills my heart when I watch you play.  There’s a closeness you have that I pray you will keep forever!  Once I worried about adding another baby to our family, and I find myself in that place of contentment and happiness again.  How could life ever become better, sweeter, than it is now?

This morning I snuck downstairs to start making breakfast while you snoozed happily away.  I don’t worry as much about leaving now that you have each other to keep company.  I cooked, cleaned the kitchen, mopped, and then you, my sweet big girl, appeared.  “I was sleeping,” you said, laughing, “and then Josie woke me up!”  Together we went to get our smiling happy baby ready for our day.

Tonight we sat together looking at photos as I prepared Josie’s paperwork for her American documents.  We exclaimed together over photos of our first baby learning to “read.”  We watched videos of you crawling, eating spaghetti, laughing… And, in a matter of minutes, we watched you grow all over again!  Time passed before our eyes, and while you were busy, your daddy and I talked.  We talked about life before you–how young and skinny we were. We talked about the stories behind the photos. We talked about today:  “Mama, I love you,” you said.  “I love you too, honey,” I replied.  “That’s music to my ears!” you fired back with a sweet smile.  We talked about you playing with your friends and trying out your Spanish for a while.  We talked about you being “too busy to play caballito with Josie.”  

Ahhh… My heart is so full! My cup runneth over!   

Sweet babies, I look forward to what tomorrow might bring: your sweet giggles, the cuddles and kisses, and the memories being made.  I know that tomorrow there will also be a point where my frustration will rise as my patience slowly fades.  I hope that isn’t the moment that you or I remember.  Even as I write this, I remember a moment last week. While grumpy, I managed to keep an even voice as I corrected you.  “Okay, mama,” you said, “I can do that.  Thank you for talking nice to me.” 

You, my girls, are growing before my eyes, and I want to remember every touch of your hand–holding onto mine as you nurse, grabbing my face as you kiss me goodbye…again…and again…  I want to remember the twinkle in your eye when you ask for pancakes.  I want to remember the grunt you let out as you demand attention, and the fullness of your smile when you receive it–pushing up onto your hands, ready to crawl. I want to remember the way you talk to yourself as you play.  And those moments of you together, when you ask me for the millionth time what your sister said with each coo she emits. 

You, my dear, sweet girls, are the sun in our day.  Shine on us.  Let us revolve around you a bit and collect your warmth.  You help our family grow.  You give us light and life.  Shine on, sweet girls.

Until tomorrow, sleep tight in my arms.
Love,
Mama
   

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Pure Joy

There may be no greater delight than…

  • Watching my girls giggle together
  • Seeing them cuddled next to one another with arms slung above their heads fast asleep
  • Hearing the old one talk to the new one 
  • Hearing the new one coo at the first one
  • Dreaming of the fun they’ll some day have–telling secrets, sharing sorrow, growing in love

  Ahhh…how sweet it is!
  

The Places You Shouldn’t Write

I am a literacy coach.  It is literally my job to promote reading and writing.  I love seeing the way Ale is growing as a young reader and writer, and I try to encourage her to “write.”  I rejoice in watching her fine motor skills develop as she, now purposefully, grips her pencils.  I bought crayons long before she had the strength to make them show up on paper.  She has had notebooks for years that we carry along for busy hands.  She has an art box from my dreams overflowing with colors, stickers, and scraps of paper for her to glue.

Unfortunately, in our family, it has become a common question: “Ale, where can you write with that?”  She always replies, “Only on paper!”  That’s because we’re discovering all the places that we shouldn’t write, and our list grew again today:

1). Walls.  Beware of the quiet child with markers.  Watch out for sneaky glances as three year old hands hide markers in the folds of her skirt while backing out the room.  And finally, if someone tells you to stay as she runs the opposite way, you should follow.

2). Tables.  Just because your paper is on the table doesn’t mean you should write on the table…

3). Couches. The couch has its own rule book.  Food and drinks aren’t allowed there.  Play Doh is also on the list.  Shoes aren’t welcome anymore either.  

4). Books.  This is hard to explain.  It IS paper.  There are pictures.  Some books are for writing.  Others aren’t.  Most aren’t.  So, back. Away. From. The. Book. With. Your. Markers! 

5). Babies.  Don’t do it.  Of all the places you’ve written, this may be the one I least expected.  You shouldn’t write on babies…

This is what I came home to this afternoon, with an excited three year old telling me she “painted” the baby.

My Brother-In-Law

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Once upon a time, my brother-in-law was just my sister’s boyfriend.  I remember it like yesterday…

Sidenote:  I’ve written about my sister before.  She has a heart of pure gold (except for the little black corner where punching-your-sister-in-the-gut lives…)  She has been through her share of country song experiences, and we’ve even written a country song about her experiences.  Luckily “My Husband Is A Lyin’ Cheatin’ Whore” isn’t the title of this song.  If there was ever someone who deserved to be loved and treated like a fairy princess–she’s it.

Enter Jacques Cousteau.

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Love is Patient.  Patience is plentiful in his petit french heart–hence the reason why he was so longsuffering with Little Sister (Me).  I found it humourous that he is from France.  I proceeded to call him every French name I could think of.  I ran out after Pepé La Pew, Jean Valjean, Napoleon, and Jacques Cousteau.  I also used up all the French I remember from class (“Zut!” and “Ferme la bouche!”).

Love is Kind.  As their relationship continued, so did his patience.  I drank up all his fancy coffee.  I slept on his couch.  I went “shopping” in his kitchen cabinets.  I complained about my hairy pup niece (whom I love dearly).  I watched his tv, used his internet, and held nothing back.  He kindly accepted me and the key I had to his apartment.  When I quit my job, he encouraged me and allowed me to spend every waking moment camped out on the couch.

Love doesn’t envy.  My sister has been loved.  She has a husband who cooks, cleans, does laundry, shops, and most important–accepts her family as his own.  After all, Jean Marc didn’t just (have to) accept me as his new sister–he has a whole slew of new siblings, nieces, and nephews.  In our family, that means that sometimes the girls get to hang out without the boys.  That means that sometimes the nieces and nephews sleep with the aunts.  That means that sometimes, you steal away with the Mama Bear to have supper without your siblings.  They say when you marry someone, you also marry their family.   It’s a good thing he has accepted us for the crazy nuts we are!  I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts…

It always protects…  Recently we all got fired up over an experience that Jenny and Jean Marc had.  Someone was oh-so-ugly to her–and who stepped in?  Jean Marc to whisk them away on a magic carpet back to the sane side of the river (Oh, why would you ever CHOOSE to live in Maryland?).  Despite the fact that my sister is fierce, it is always nice to know she has someone to look out for her.  After all, I’ve lived with that chick.  If you don’t buy her groceries and fix her food–she doesn’t eat.  

..always trusts…  A word of advice to my brother-in-law–don’t act like you don’t trust that girl.  There’s no one more loyal than she.  And you totally don’t even get points or sweet compliments for this.  It’s a given…always hopes…  Despite the fact that your lovely lady has muttered nothing but disregarding statements about marriage…always perseveres. Which brings us to now.  Here’s to fifty years, you two.  Much love!

Bon appetit!  (My third French saying…saved the best for last!)

P.S.  Apparently I have zero pictures of you…and about a billion of my bratty sister.  Hopefully the next fifty years will remedy that!