Monday, May 27, 2013

In the Middle

Our Memorial Day weekend was the perfect mix of doing things and not-doing things: biking, having friends over for dinner, celebrating my dad's birthday, going to a graduation open house, gardening, reading, running, lounging in jammies, cooking and baking, relaxing. And though today's chilly rain wasn't the perfect end to the weekend, weather-wise, I think we're all heading into the week relaxed and refreshed.

At the graduation open house - our babysitter's, the first I've been to in years - I realized while talking with her mom that Annie has lived with us now for about half of the total time she'll likely live with us - a little punch to the gut on a gorgeous spring day. She's right in the middle of her life as a child growing up in our house. I stood in a big backyard near a white tent as I said it, patting Annie's sun-kissed head, but I thought about it off and on for the rest of the weekend, as she and Jemma both did things that seemed both "big-kid" and "little-kid," proving that they really are in that in-between sweet spot of childhood.

Sometimes, they're still little ones. On Friday afternoon, they walked home from school to find us unpacking some new patio furniture and they immediately seized on the big cardboard box it had come in. Before I knew it, they'd constructed a functional door with a jump rope, cut windows, decorated it with markers, and spent time eating snacks and blowing bubbles in it with friends for the rest of the night. On Sunday morning, Jemma squirmed and whined and laid her body over me like a noodle all throughout church, and on Sunday afternoon my brother hung her upside down by her feet and made her helpless with laughter. Tonight, Annie asked me to paint her toenails before dinner and both girls danced a self-choreographed modern dance for us before their showers, complete with matching costumes, fans, and lighting. Jemma cried over a broken keychain and over gum. Annie threw a fit about going to the garden store and brought a stuffed animal along in the car. They constructed an outdoor fairy garden and can still fully immerse themselves in the world of magic. A million little moments of being little.

But then sometimes I can hardly believe how big they are. Jemma helped Jason string up patio lights - holding the ladder, fetching tools, genuinely helping instead of "helping" the way a toddler would. She read three Ivy & Bean books this weekend. Annie helped make dinner on Saturday. They clear their plates after a meal, spread cream cheese on their own bagels, put away their own laundry. When we stopped into the brewery for Jason and Trevor to play a couple quick guitar songs together Sunday night, Annie said she wanted to play, too - and she calmly blew the whole place away with Styx while Jason sang along. We can take long family bike rides now - no training wheels, no bike trailer, just the four of us pedaling around town to smell the lilacs and play at the playground and get ice cream.

They have two weeks left of this school year, and I'm in denial. I'd like for them to stay in third grade and kindergarten for a long time. I'd like for them to live at our house with us for zillions more years, instead of just ten or so. As we kick off this summer, though, I'm going to try to keep them right here in the middle for just a while longer.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, this made me cry. They are with us for such a short time (even if some days feel like they drag on forever!)