Cowboys in Pink (they adopted the girls' hats)
I pause by the doorway to listen. They use the word brother in every other sentence and I laugh.
"You got your hat, brother?" "Hey brother! This way!" "You okay over there, brother?"
None of our other children used familial titles like this. But when these two call each other "brother" (instead of their name) I have to smile. It feels like a throwback to our Mormon pioneer days, a quirky term of endearment that both cracks and fills me up.
Every time I hear it I think how grateful I am they came barreling into the world together.
Yesterday I decided to take photos of my favorite time of day. Wake-up time.
I love pulling these sleepy-heads out of bed before dinner. I love the smell in their room. That sweet, sweaty, clean diaper smell. I love the way they flop onto my shoulder as I carry them into the living room. I love looking into their glazed eyes as they melt into the seams of the sofa.
I usually squeeze myself right in between them, pull one blonde head under my arm, and then the other. We sit there together, a threesome. No one moves much as I smell their sun-bleached curls, caress the soft silkiness that is fading from their skin. They're outgrowing that baby skin. Before long their toes and palms will feel differently. And they won't say, "I want to hold you" (translation: "hold me"), like they do now.
Spence can sport a pretty good nap-afro.
So I asked Gordon, "What will I do when you get so old I can't hold you?" A prospect all three of us can't quite imagine. His answer was matter-of-fact. "We still little Mommy!"
Yes you are, my darling boy. But not for long.
You see, getting big is an invisible process. It happens so surreptitiously we suddenly find ourselves there, not really sure how it happened. But I'm glad the change is subtle. Maybe I will mourn it less. Because heaven knows I'm going to miss you little, as much as I know I'll adore you big.
Occasionally, the path ahead opens up to me, wakes me entirely, like a flicker of lightning in the distance. And I see who my children will become. It shakes me into loving them now, feeling content to cuddle long after naps, swoop them into my arms and kiss them crazy, soak up spilled milk, get knocked off balance by spontaneous head butts into my thigh. These are precious days.
In June we celebrated the boys' 3rd birthday. It was a small gathering of grandparents, two cousins, and my sister-in-law Shirlee, who just moved from Malaysia back to the states. I did a poor job of taking pictures that day. I only have a few of the boys and none of our thoughtful party-goers.
The boys dutifully closed their eyes in anticipation of a big surprise. (Spencer above, Gordon below.)
"Blue for me! And red for you, Gordon!" Spencer said.
They've been riding the neighbors' plasma cars for months now. We figured it was time they had their own.
Grandma Nae and Poppa Jim bought them some new dinosaurs. Now they can both take care of a T-Rex, feed it baby dinosaurs, and snarl over territorial domains.
Mom actually likes T-Rex too. He's been known to make guest appearances at the breakfast table, take people's orders and serve bowls of cereal. (I do a pretty good dinosaur imitation, especially when I don't get enough sleep.)
They clapped their hands when they saw the baby dinos on their cake,
glanced once or twice at each other for the sake of coordination...
"We brothers are three!"
And life with our used-to-be-five-under-five has shifted. Things are getting easier. We're becoming more mobile. We move across the pool parking lot less like a train led by a double stroller engine, and more like an amoeba. My ten small feet are finding paths of independence, doing more and more on their own, and it is good.
Looking back, I wonder how we made it this far. By the grace of God, I tell you. By the grace of God. And the kindness of many wonderful people.
Happy Birthday boys!
Spence, your gentle heart and spontaneous kisses make me melt. I appreciate the way you share, run when I call, and love. Gordy, your bright eyes match your spinning mind. I can't wait to see where your energy takes you. You two are true brothers. Rarely without each other. And I'm delighted you prefer it that way.