We are all growing here in the Z Family.
As surely as the neglected weeds out back and the set-aside to-do list on the table, we are all growing both inside and out, every one of us.
There is a little boy who is most assuredly not a baby anymore, growing steadier feet below him with every cautious step behind him. A boy who is still quiet and calm, chill and loving; whose love for his little sister has grown as well, into a most beautiful series of kisses on foreheads and chubby hands holding petite long fingers.
There is a baby who recently decided that she shall grow up perhaps too quickly, that she will stand up tall and take more and more steps each day; whose blue eyes, just a shade or two lighter and brighter than her big brother’s gray-blue eyes, see everything, take in everything. She absorbs and repeats one-syllable sounds (“Ack” she calls to her Big Brother each morning!) and is as equally fiercely independent as she is needing to be reassured comfort with squeezes and hand-holding. One minute she looks up at you, tears streaming from her eyes, and the next, she takes off, you already a distant memory for that blue-eyed babe on to her next climb or daredevilish move.
Their Daddy has grown, too. He has realized that it’s never too late for change and, on Monday, will be embarking down a new career path, which will bring few short-term rewards but hopefully many for him and his selfless ways in the future. You should see the way he watches his kids now, the way he remembers to thank his wife for the littlest thing, the way he makes great effort for a simple gesture.
And the Momma. She has had a very busy few months of growth. She has had to step away from some things in both a figurative and a literal sense. She has had to de-plus one love temporarily (that’s you, my lil bloggity-blog) in order to build and grow a new one. She took a chance and hopped on a plane and spent 24 long days away from her family, home and passions in order to walk independently in a strange city and yes, in order to do that growing thing.
And now we are here.
Scott and I are ready to watch our little ones do all the growing for us for a while now and are making the most of every day.
It all came together for me this week.
I was sitting in our yard on the warmest, sunniest day so far this year (Thanks for joining us, Spring!), my eldest pouring dirt in his lap with childish squeals while my littlest ripped leaves up into a box in a corner of the yard. I had been researching one thing or another for my photography business when the sun warmed my hair just right that it stopped me, right then, right there, and poured such emotion over my heart, I wasn’t sure if I should do a Crazy Woman Dance right then and there for the elderly neighbors to enjoy (and to cause them to call the cops on behalf of my poor children) or simply burst into tears and cuddle my babies close. I did neither.
I just took it in, promised myself I would continue to build these moments, to take time out for myself now and then, to feel the warmth of the sun on my head. Oh, and to wear sunscreen. A sunburn would really kill the moment.
So we have been growing here.
Addie is 21 or so pounds and just a few weeks away from her first birthday. (HOW can that be???) Her hair is look in front and short in the back and turning lighter as it comes in (perhaps another blondie?). We get asked all the time if we cut or style her hair. She took her first steps last week — the record is seven at a time, but she’s doing those bits of walkin’ more often throughout the day. She has a long torso and short legs just like her Daddy and her brother. Although we still her that she looks like mini-Momma, more and more I see her brother’s face, especially when the two of them are laughing. They sound the same when they cry and they definitely are impossible to tell apart during giggles. She is stubborn and hard-headed and loves to test the limits already — currently with eating dog food and pulling down the toilet paper, but soon I’m sure it will be with curfew and clothes and boys. Groooooooan. She has her first two teeth coming in on the bottom and will go to anyone, no matter how old or how strange they are to her.
And the Z-Man. Man, this boy just blows me away. He will be three in early August and I can’t understand when he went from a baby with DS and we went from scared parents to this moment we’re in where we have truly come to terms with his life and ours and we embrace every opportunity and relish every accomplishment. We have only three months left with his therapists and my eyes well up with tears every time I even think about these pseudo family members leaving our lives. They have been in our house every week since Zack was three months old. They watched his highs and lows, admonished us when we needed it and celebrated us when we deserved it. They’ve seen us change jobs and gain a baby and they have seen it all — our best and our worst. Zack is doing very, very well. He “gets” it, if you know what I mean. He understands when you tell him something, he understands when you ask him something. His gross motor skills are something we are all shocked by and proud of, they’re so fabulous. His communication is still severely delayed. He has all but ignored our attempts at signing lately and while he can make the best animal noises and every now and then repeats a word (this week it’s been “Come!” and “Go!”) we still have a long way to “GO!”. He still absolutely loves his books, anything to do with animals and is enjoying the open-door opportunities to should “Car!” when something drives past our house.
But those moments when it’s the two of them together, that’s when my heart is stretching out past it’s boundaries. Every bath time with splashing and sharing toys and giggles and every playground trip with dirty shoes and dirty hands and exploring tiny tunnels, my heart strings soar.
We talk often about whether or not we’ll have another baby, and at this point, we simply just can’t decide. So for now, we are enjoying our two babies. Pretty soon, I know I’ll have to stop calling them “the babies”, but seriously, let’s all just acknowledge that they may very well be “the babies” in 30 years. (If that’s the only way I embarrass them, I think we’ve done pretty well).
It’s not always easy. And it’s certainly not always perfect. Heck, I used Addie’s body to hold a restaurant door open this morning while carrying her, her brother and a diaper bag by myself. And then there was the time I sacrificed a yard stick, cell phone and broom all for the sake of editing just one more photograph.
But we have grown into this beautiful, connected, cohesive, solid little unit of four. We have grown into the Z Family I knew we could be, the family I always wanted for myself and dreamed of for my future. And now that future is here. I’m loving every minute and running outside into the sun every chance I get — even if there are chores to do, photos to edit and OverTime to earn.
Life is short, way too short.
And I’m not done growing.