One of the many things that I should have written about in this space is the fact that my sister-in-law gave birth to a tiny and adorable girl last week. I managed to show up at the hospital in that magical window where modesty is gone and acceptance has taken over so I was able to stay in the room during the birth. Despite all the scandal that an unplanned pregnancy to an unmarried woman not yet 21 caused, I cried when I saw my little sister-in-law choke up with those joyous sobs as she held her baby to her chest for the first time. It doesn't matter when it happens, whether the timing is right or not, it is powerful, that moment when your old life dies and your new one starts.
My sister lost her house, one of my best friends has lost her job of 10 years, my mother-in-law very well could lose her job tomorrow, and Jeff and I have been in a blur of constant moving, relocating all of our possessions again and again. We continue to work on our house, now onto the painting stage, just so thankful that we have something to look forward to when so many around us have lost so much.
Even though the lives of everyone around us seems to have flipped upside down and inside out, our little foursome keep on going on just fine. Work, and the house finishing process, the madness that is taking care of small children, the things we would like to do versus the things that need to be done . . . it's all an often frustrating but comfortably happy storm. I end up staying up late, like tonight, just to listen to music or catch glimpses of shows that I remember liking to watch when I didn't hear shrieking in the background. Or reading – books, YOUR blog, and yours too, and a million others as well. I keep telling myself “Write, Jenny, write now while the babies are asleep, write before that long list of things to write about in your head starts getting faded and lost forever, write” but then I look at the clock and midnight is so close and I have to get up for work in the morning. And slowly, but surely, all the things I want to write about are drifting away into never never land.
Faith, my sweetheart, is at turns wonderfully good and deliberately bad. She tells me that she wants to ask me a question, then asks how an elephant goes through walls, like walls of glass. I am flummoxed, of course, because how DO they? But she has the answer. They just lift up their trunks and knock out a hole of glass and walk through it. Then she runs back off into the other room until she has another question that she already has the answer for. She still likes holding my hand when she falls asleep and still wants to cuddle on my lap and still wants me to “hold her forever” and I don't ever want that to end. She is so proud of herself at the pool, wanting me to watch her jump off the stairs, she is energetically giddy when she's around other kids or when we act like kids by dancing foolishly or running around in circles outside. She reads with me and then tries to repeat all the words that I've just said while cutting her eyes at me, watching to see my reaction to her somewhat flawed reading. I, of course, am enthusiastic, which she adores.
She and James are fighting more now, over toys, over food, over my attention or lap space. He is talking, if you can really call it talking, although I can mostly translate. He's picking up new words every day, finally, but he still has an appointment this week for a consultation on the tongue clipping that he's bound to receive. I could go back and slap, or at least foot stomp, the pediatrician that he had at birth who didn't think that being tongue-tied would bother him and “let's hold off on clipping it until we see if it affects his speech”. Which his pediatrician now, whom I adore, says that it certainly does. He is all boy, reckless and fearless, jumping off of the couch, climbing atop anything he can get a grip on. He is covered in bruises and scrapes and has dirt under his short fingernails and is always pulling off his pants and then his diaper and running laughing through the house and occasionally doing things that should only happen in a diaper then running to me, concerned, and talking his strange James babble. He's got the sweetest smile I've ever seen, the cutest pout, and a surprisingly strong arm when he gets mad and hits.
They both walk into our room at night and climb into bed with us and fall back asleep. They are both doing new things every day, things I want to remember, some I don't, and I am really enjoying them this summer. It is the first time in years when I haven't had an infant or been pregnant, and it's such a simple joy to go next door to the pool and be able to put on their floaties and us all just . . . be. And swim. And soak up the sun. As adorable as my newborn niece is, this is what I've been looking forward to when I wanted to become a mother. To have this, our family, all able to enjoy the same thing at the same time, with each other.