16 August, 2017

The End of Summer

Someday when my big kids are at school and one or both babies are napping, I will try to sit down and detail the many events of the summer.

But for now, what I want to remember most years down the line are the feelings of this summer.

Steven has never worked so hard or so long or with such determination and awareness, and it is so inspiring to me to keep on trying. He is tan and I don't think he's ever been more handsome! He followed the kids around the neighborhood on his longboard last week while they sold lemonade door-to-door, and spends the evenings after the kids are in bed talking to me while we watch the fireflies in our backyard.

Gage is becoming a man. He is quick to ask if I need anything and to take charge and tenderly care for his younger siblings. He can't put The Hobbit down, and has downed gallons of orange juice. He would wear the same shirt every day if he could, and yesterday when we sorted through his clothes in preparation for school, he said over and over, "Thanks, Mom, for organizing my closet. It's going to be so easy for me to find good clothes for school!" His front teeth have grown in white and big and sensitive to cold, so he is wary of ice cream bars. I love laughing with him. He beats Steven in Monopoly Deal every night before bed.

Last night I broke down and cried about Kjel leaving for school. My heart ached that so many afternoons of her life were spent with me dozing on the couch, pregnant, while she watched Olivia or Backyardigans. Steven tried to console me, but the truth is, there just wasn't enough time with her. She is part of me in a way I can't describe and I have never before considered homeschooling so seriously. I can't bear to be away from her. Every day she gives me some kind of present and makes little beds for me with paper and crayons and pillows fluffed up and a blanket folded down. When Will got a bleeding owie yesterday, she didn't need to be asked - she just jumped up, got an icepack and a drink of water for him, and silently handed me the things I needed. She is an intuitive nurturer, leader, and creator of beautiful things.

Will is rarely Will - he is usually a giraffe, a robot named Bot, an airplane named Jet, or a dinosaur. "Tan I sit on or lap?" is a commonly asked question and I try to always say yes. He hates it when Merit naps and says over and over again, "Tan I go say hi to Murrit?" We babysat some friends earlier this week and Will was the only one who could get the youngest one to smile. He tickled her belly and asked her to say "Will" and when she did he grinned his contagious smile and said, "You did it! You said ME!" He is less snuggly and more busy than before, ALWAYS in a different world, always imagining. He idolizes Gage and laughs like a maniac with Kjel. He is pure sunshine.

Merit is one very loved baby. With her big belly sticking out over her skinny legs, her hair in a ponytail on top of her head, and some kind of snack in her hand, she is happiest when she's allowed to roam the backyard barefoot. She loves to climb up on the table and stomp around, she hates being lifted down. She loves olives and sometimes eats more for breakfast than the rest of us combined. No matter how rotten she has been, when she's tired and I take her up for a nap, she curls her little head into my chest, sucks her thumb and hugs her orange blanket close. I would be a very rested, very lonely mom without my #4. I can't imagine life without her and that big, toothy grin of hers.

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