It's your Mother. Trying to record history.
Let it quickly be said, I don't remember things well anymore.
If I think, "Oh, I want to write that down so I won't forget it" - I have exactly 17 seconds to do it, or it is gone. Not only is my short term memory terrible, but so is my short-term memory. Sometimes, at night, your Dad and I will lie in the darkness talking about you guys and say things like, "What was it that Lydie said that was so funny at dinner?" or, "That question Isaac asked, do you remember it?"
This is what middle age will be like for you too.
Enjoy having your wits about you. It won't always be so.
"Baby book" Entry No. 7 was fully two years ago. 27 months to be exact. That entry was written as Paige was leaving Haiti to move to America. Isn't it awesome how I am alllllmost doing these entries "three times a year" as originally planned and promised? ! ? Apparently I am not good at calendars, adulting, or keeping my word. I blame you. You make life so stinkin fun and busy and entertaining that two years fly by in a blur.
Since I last wrote specifically to you and about you, a lot has changed. You are all big kids. Britt and Paige used to be labeled "the big kids" - but now, that is all we have. There are no babies here. (hashtag thank you God for bringing us through)
We have a schedule and you take turns making lunch to take to school. You do dishes when pushed. You fold laundry. You feed the dogs and pick up their ka-ka from the yard. You are compact size human beings producing a little bit of work. It is truly a sight to behold.
It is so weird to me to think about all the years of doing everything for you. If you figure that everyone of you had about five years of complimentary butt-wiping services offered, it means I gave a total of 35 years of gratis service. The fact that some of the service was in tandem is not relevant to the math I am making up in order to congratulate myself right now. 35 years of wiping you, added to my own decades of self-service, I am accomplished in this area.
All of that to say, I like that you are all 7 years of age and older and I like how well you take care of your bathroom business without me.
This summer is basically all but finished. Noah and Isaac got to go the the USA for six weeks. You girls were great sports about being the ones that stayed home. We hope to make next summer your turn. We know if we don't, there will be a price to pay.
There are only two weeks left in your summer before you start the next school year.
This coming year will be your fifth year with Mr.Jimmy teaching you. We have been so blessed to have such continuity in your education. He has invested a lot in you and we are grateful and see the fruit of his efforts. You will enter 8th grade (Hope and Ike) 6th-7th grade (sort of between the two grades - Noah) 3rd grade (Phoebe) and 2nd grade (Lydia).
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Last Friday four of you had the biggest sibling fight of your lives. I know this is true because you said, "Mom, we have NEVER had a fight like that." Based on the facts I gathered, I think you were right. It was a doozie.
Isaac remarked, "I am glad that doesn't happen often."
Me too, Isaac, me too.
At first I felt so terribly sad about your fight. I could see why it happened and I knew enough about you all to know everyone prefers peace over the yelling and pushing that happened here. I could tell that you were all shaken up by how out of control things got so quickly. It felt like we tiptoed around for a little bit afterward, afraid of upsetting the forgiveness that had been offered.
When I stopped feeling sad about your fight, I realized something important happened. Something to celebrate. You all owned the part you played in being mean and making things blow up, you all issued sincere apologies, you all said the words "I forgive you." Even Lydia, who managed to stay out of that particular fight found some things to confess.
I probably do not even need to write about that fight. It will likely be one of those that you just remember into adulthood. Your auntie Tina and I have a quite a few of those. Right now, while she reads this, she is remembering the last really bad fight we had in 1994. It came to fisticuffs while we were getting ready to go to a birthday party for our Uncle Norm. I remember this, I was right and she was wrong.
Friday night, a few hours after the adrenaline and emotion of the fight and the repentance, we learned that your closest Haiti friends won't be coming back to live here this fall. Their Mom is sick and needs treatment in the USA. Delivering that news to you was painful. This is not the first time you've lost your friends here in Haiti. We spent the weekend taking turns crying for them and for us. Dad and I know it hurts and we know you wish you could control it all. We do too. Since we cannot, we just hope and pray you will remain open to loving and losing ... It is never the wrong choice.
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Okay, some specifics about each of you... In two years, things change, your height being chief among them. The tallness just ooozes out of you.
Isaac, as I write this you are just a month shy of turning 14 years old and you are 5'8" tall with a voice that seems deeper every few weeks.
The things that we have come to expect from you have not really changed. You like peace. You like harmony. Being a teenager has maybe made you slightly less willing to chat up strangers, you seem a bit less extroverted and a little more reserved. That's what teen years do to a person.
Part of the epic fight last week included you trying to break it up - you kept suggesting that "everyone should take a break from one another for a bit". I liked the sly part where you started recording everything that was happening for me to hear for myself.
Kids used to just fight it out and let the chips fall where they may. Now we have recordings and evidence. When I was 12, nobody could prove I called Tina the F word at the ice skating rink. It was my word against hers. You guys can all forget about that. Your lives are under assault of the modern social media and digital age and everything you say and do can and will be recorded and admissible in court.
Isaac, you are still very random in your curiosity and the questions you ask make us wonder what happens inside your noggin. This is not an exaggerated example, when adult you reads this, I want you to know your parents are infinitely awesome and patient to entertain several questions a day not too far from this one. "If Jupiter and a wild purple elephant that ate only a diet of syrup and pancakes collided in space and then crashed down to earth in an unpopulated area, do you think the elephant would live do you think that would be cool?" We sometimes just stare at you, unable to respond.
Hope, you are 13.5 and you don't hate us every day. As our third daughter going through this thing called 13, we understand the protocol and we don't sweat it- we are ready for anything you need to dish out while your hormones flare. Some days you wish you could disassociate from all of us, (which is totally understood) - but usually, the feeling passes. We just moved you out of the bedroom you have shared with Phoebe and Lydia for 7 years. We did this for the sake of their livelihood - as it seemed they were pushing you to end them.
You just got your braces off your teeth and you are stunning in all the ways. You still love to draw and are very gifted. Your voice is beautiful, but singing isn't as much your thing as art and reading novels is right now. You are a good little second Mom around here. We love watching you come into the biggest sister at home role. We all agree that you are done growing taller. Your 4'11" frame contains all the fierceness of your tall big sisters in Texas.
Noah, you are 11 and the deep feeling, sensitive comedian of the family. This July you got braces on your teeth.Your funny act is mainly a way to hide your big feelings. We watch you closely and try to be sure we are giving you space to express all the things and not just pretend to only be the guy that makes people laugh. One of the things I have noticed this year: You are the first person to come toward a crying or hurting person. While others may hang back, unsure of how to respond, you walk toward the hurting ready to hug. Most people that knew me at your age are very very freaked out at how much you look like me when I had braces and freckles and unruly hair.
Phoebe, you will be 9 in November. You love to read, play dolls, and watch movies. You no longer fear water, instead you are swimming like fish. I don't know what the other 7 baby book entries say, but your Dad and I find you to be the most mysterious of our children. You're hot and you're cold You're yes then no you're no You're in then you're out You're up then you're down You're wrong when it's right - Katy Perry doesn't know you, but she sings about you. I have noticed that when large groups do an activity or game, you are a late joiner. I have also noticed you are an early deserter. I don't know what that means, but it makes you unique and I like it. Lately, we pull you out of the mix of kids to be with you alone and that is when we really get to enjoy the real you. Sometimes this big family thing just BUGS you and we don't blame you for needing to get away and have all of our attention here and there.
Lydia, you will turn 8 in two months. The baby of the family turning 8 is so.very.whack. I don't understand it at all at all. You command and demand attention, nothing new there. Extroverted beyond the rest of us, sugar is still your first love. Similar to Noah, you enjoy being odd on purpose to get a response from your audience. This morning you watched a short video of Daddy arriving in TX to surprise Britt and Paige. You said, "Oh, I love that. They are so happy!" I said, "Some day Dad can come surprise you girls when you're big girls too." You said, "Naaah. He won't prolly, because Paige is the most special kid and I am just a random kid." It was so obvious that you knew you were pulling my chain and full of it as you said it. The look on your face gave you away. You are the spunkiest spunk of all - and we need you here for the laughter you provide us.
I am not supposed to write about the older girls. They've graduated out of this deal. So, just for keeping things straight later, I add these two notes: Britty is in Dallas going to PA school, already half way done. Paige is in Conroe starting her new married people Mom life and getting ready to go to Sam Houston University. They both chose such good guys, so we don't really worry about them.
They grew up very quickly. Too quickly. The holes they left remind Dad and I every day to savor each moment we have with the five of you still here under our roof.
We love you, we are so glad you are ours. XOXO
|Headed out of the driveway to summer school one July morning ...|
One of several songs sung to me at a concert you put on for me the night of my birthday.