Do you want to know how to make me cry?
Send my grade three boy home with an assignment that asks for stories from his baby days, complete with pictures.
Because then, you see, I'd have to go into my walk-in closet, after the kids are in bed, and stand in front of the bookshelf that is bursting with photo albums. In the quiet -- without any little hands there to poke at the glossy pictures with their who, what, where, when and whys -- I can look for our story on those pages.
And even though it's still being written, there's so much worth remembering in the chapters behind us.
When I come to a photo of my son growing inside of me, I trace the swell of my belly with tip of my finger -- to connect to the feelings I remember so well: vibrant, excited, beautiful. And I want to lean into the girl in the photo and say, You have no idea. There is so much more coming. Gratitude, magic, surprises, miracles. You are one million times more blessed than you are in this moment. Lucky, lucky you.
I look at photos of my children before they were a foursome and I wonder if they knew there was another friend on the way. When I find the photos of big sisters with brand new brothers and big brothers with baby sisters, I'm certain they knew -- it's on their faces: Oh there you are, what took you so long?
There are also photos of family gatherings, and in them someone we miss so much. And I am reminded that the stress of pot lucks and rolled out sleeping bags and driveways filled with cars are worth it. That as much as the pizzazz of a birthday party with friends becomes an important part of childhood, family celebrations should never lose their place.
I see faces with less lines: the worrying kind and the ones that come from laughter.
And I feel so much affection and pride in the ways we have triumphed and held one another through the pages of this story.
I haven't put the albums back on the shelf yet. I feel like I need those reminders a little while longer. Life unfolds itself, in loud and quiet moments. Each of those captured moments are gifts, and if I could frame every single one, I would.
For now, I walk past them at the end of the day on my way to bed.
Lucky you, I say to them, lucky you.
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