And sometimes, okay, confession, a lot of times, my mind goes there. Eagerly desiring it. When my babies will be independent and I can breathe and maybe just maybe read a book at the pool instead of chasing one, two, three little ones.
When I went there in my mind. Five years down the road, I missed this. Where I stand right now. Rocking Lincoln before every nap and bed, snuggling singing our favorite songs Amazing Grace, Three Little Birds, and Come Thou Fount. Playing peek-a-boo with a book I gave him to distract him while I get his pajamas on. Listening to Naomi say the funniest things in her sweet toddler voice. Watching her pretend to nurse her babies and jump jump jump when I'm holding her hand. See, Audrey is almost there. Her independence is blossoming every single day like a wildflower in an open field. Heck, somehow she talked me into letting her get her ears pierced at four years old. [And she has reminded every single day when to clean her ears. I knew my sweet rule-follower would take to heart the directions the ear lady gave her. Ear lady? I don't even know. I can't come up with a better term.] I can tell she is teetering between being a full blown kid and holding onto being little for a tad bit longer. She still uses the word "boo-boos" when she gets hurt, and I won't tell her any different, because it keeps her that small that much longer. She still sleeps with her blankie, and she can do that as long as she wants. At the same time she can make her own peanut butter and jelly, crack her own hard-boiled egg, and open and close all the baby gates, which comes in handy. I can tell her to go get ready for the day and she comes downstairs in her own attire of choice and hair done, which mainly includes wearing at least six different clips. She is writing stories in her own language and already pretending to do homework. But wasn't she just born yesterday?
Time is fleeting. And five years will be here tomorrow. And I'll be wondering where the little years went.
So today, I take in where I stand. Babies clinging to my legs. Carrying sleeping toddlers up to their rooms after a morning at the park. Packing a household when we leave for even a day. Watching the giant smirks that appear when we chase each other endlessly outside. Always carrying wipes and diapers around, with a few goldfish mushed in between in my purse. Buckling and tightening carseat straps, kissing head bonks, and fulfilling snuggle requests before bed. Pretending to be a fairy chased by an evil dragon, or having a little car zooming around on my arm. These are the years. The hard, exhausting, surprising, beautiful years.
Tomorrow is not promised, but today, where I stand right now, is what I have.
Our reflection in The Bean in Chicago last week. That pretty much captures where I stand pretty well, or I should say where I lay. Chaotic love. Just the way I want it.