Tomorrow ... my once three-pound babies will turn eleven-years-old. ELEVEN. We're now solidly in the throes of tweendom and I'm in awe thinking about where the time has gone?
As these children become older and more independent, time doesn't seem to be slowing down ... in contrast - it just keeps moving faster. Long gone are the days when I'd gaze at the clock dreaming of nap time. Now, because of the lengthy school days - and after school activities (including but not limited to homework, soccer, dinner, and showers); my time with the children seems so fleeting and so, so precious. Except when they're fighting with me over homework. Which is still almost every night. But I'm trying to focus on the positive.
For as long as I can remember, our most special time of the day is bedtime, when I'll sit with them, on the edge of their beds, in their dimly lit rooms and recount the events from the day. Sometimes, I feel like I hurry along our conversations because it's late - and they need to sleep - or I'm zapped and I need to put my feet up.
But whether a brief two-minute conversation, or more lengthy twenty-two minute conversation ... we'll talk, and pray, and I'll run my fingers through their hair and tell them - every night I tell them - how much I love and adore them and how incredibly GRATEFUL I am that they blessed my world.
No truer words have ever been written on this blog: I really am the luckiest person alive.
Tonight Charlie and I spent a few hours after they went to sleep, blowing up 48 balloons, which we strung around the house. Ever since their seventh birthday in Virginia, we've made it a tradition to decorate the house on the eve of their birthday. Because when 50% of your family celebrates the exact same birthday ... it deserves some festivity.
These lists have been hanging up on the fridge for the past few weeks, since perhaps early September, but I took a photo of them tonight, so I can memorialize their birthday gift wishes @ 11:
William's birthday list - he really wants an X-Box 360 and Marvel Superhero games. Also, Jurassic World X-Box games. Because if there is one thing that he and his little brother love to do - it's to talk / play / breathe / dream about anything and everything related to superheroes and dinosaurs. Add a video game to that mix and you've got the recipe for 8- and 11-year old male euphoria.
William would also like Love, Hope, and Peace throughout the world. Oh, and a Nerf Sword. So glad that was listed after his charitable desires.
(Ankit is our Indian friend, through Compassion International, that we've been sponsoring for the past six years. I'm happy to see that William is thinking of his pen pal, on his birthday. Although I suspect it has something to do with me repeatedly telling him, "It isn't always about what *we* want. It cannot be 'me, me, me!' We must think of others, and what we can do to make the world better." This is evidence he's hearing at least a little of what I'm saying and for that, I rejoice.)
Elizabeth's birthday list - a phone, a baseball mitt, roller skates, colored pencils, get ears pierced, cowboy boots, new tennis shoes, visit her best friend from Virginia - Rosie - and get two new guinea pigs. I haven't written about it yet, but in July, we made the very difficult decision to leave our two guinea pigs, Barack and Georgie (also known as James Brown and Einstein; Chocolate and Oreo), in Virginia. The day before we pulled out of town, I came to my senses and realized that driving 1,500 miles with two guinea pigs AND the rambunctious dog in the middle of summer, was infinitesimally more than I could handle.
For as much as I loved our guinea pigs ... I didn't love them that much. Nor did I love them so much that I'm in a hurry to replace them anytime soon. If soon = 90 years.
Carolyn's birthday list - a real baseball bat, cowboy boots, a walkman, and then a lot of time spent together as a big happy family. Going to the movies - fishing - and having my Mom and Jim visit. My favorite birthday wish of hers is that we "Drive around Texas and give money to the poor people."
I think this wish stems from a situation last year, when we were on a road trip, and saw an elderly homeless man near a traffic light, in the pouring rain, holding out a cup. We'd stopped at the red, and reached out the window to hand him some food and money. That gesture was a highlight of our children's trip. I'm so glad to see that the memory of how good that small act felt in her heart, stuck with my sweet girl. But pray tell, how do we find all the poor people in Texas? And where does all the money come from?
In regards to distribution - do we just roll down our windows and throw it out?
Clearly, there's still some logistics we need to work out.