It's 8:30 am.
I woke around 7am when theHotness kissed me goodbye on his way out the door to work. I love the way he smells of soap, toothpaste, and cologne when he leaves out to face this big.bad.world for us. I laid in bed for a while longer watching the light reflecting off the lake dance on my bedroom ceiling... how does it dooo that? Then I rolled out of bed, grabbed my red rove- you remember the one? The one James insisted I have last Christmas and promptly told me about once they came in from shopping?
I walked through my house... the warm cypress woodwork, the fresh grey walls, the cold tile leading down the hall to James' room. I crept up to the top bunk and started kissing and smelling his head. He is all knees and elbows but his cheeks are still chubby. His fat cherub lips still pout when he sleeps. I nuzzled him until he finally woke to shrug me off. "Momma? Daddy never does that,' he says to me in his brand new morning voice. "I know, Love."
"Why you do that?" he asks sort of annoyed. I sigh, trying to pick out the best reason for loving my children to death... I couldn't settle on one good reason, so I launched into something like: it's because you grew inside my belly for 9 months. It's because I lost all reason when you were born healthy and placed into my arms. It's because you are my proof that God is faithful and full of grace. It's because I watched your pensive face melt into your first smile. I felt the knobby ridge of your first tooth peek through your gummy smile that day in the bath tub. Your first step. The day you found my lipstick. The way you'd lick the top of your daddy's head when you were on his shoulders. The way you'd belly.laugh in your sling when I'd smash garlic when cooking your dinner... I watched you leave me to take your first bus ride. I held my breath as you finally returned to me that afternoon... All of this. All of these things. And all the things that will ever happen from here on out with you. It's endless. That's why.
By this point, we were thick into the decision of what to wear for Free Dress Day. I had several well coordinated outfits laid out for scrutiny. Naturally, none made the cut. As usual, he wanted to wear his T.Ball sliding pants and one of his football or soccer jerseys. All of which are too small for him to leave the house and go out in public. *James has grown 7 inches in the past 2.5 months. Yes, seriously. James, you don't know this, but you have 3 NFL authentic jerseys and a professional soccer jersey coming your way for Christmas. With these gifts I fully understand that I'll never get you to wear anything else ever again... I'm sure you'll be on a strict 4 outfit rotation for the rest of your life. But at least I will have the satisfaction that you will be wearing clothes that FIT. All of this in hopes to avoid the next teary FreeDress morning when I have to explain again why you can't wear your France soccer jersey to school. (Carmen, remember that jersey?) You've worn it weekly then daily since you were TWO. It has seen a good run, Dearest.
Then after 5 more minutes of prep time, he was running out the door to catch the bus. Book sack bobbing up and down as he jogged down the driveway, across the street, then a quick pause as he gave his bus driver a High.Five.
The past two days I've been sadish. I'm coming off an incredibly successful and busy mustard.seed.photography year. There was no way I could expect the overwhelming response to my work. It's been amazing and I've grown so much professionally and personally. I'm 100% grateful for it all! But I'm a touch tired. I'm anxious to pause MSP work so I can recoup some much needed family time. I still have some lingering work... but for the most part, I won't be producing new work until January. I'm anxious to refocus on my family and this season. Just a mini.holiday respite.
Which brings me to the fact that each year that passes, my boys get a year older. James will be FIVE years old in 19 days.
Maybe because he was my first... or the fact that I had a high.risk pregnancy... or because he followed a miscarriage... or because he was born at the most nostalgic time of the year... I always get emotional around his birthday. It's not a marked 'sadness' but it is an overwhelming sense of gratefulness.
My life changed the day he was born. I became myself when he was born. Then I think about where Marcus and I were when we became parents. Our love. Our hopes. Our finances or lack of. It makes me swell up inside. God gifted US with James... and our lives have never been the same. Everyday is filled with an unconditional, tangible Love that we never could have expected. And that Love became Jackson... and will become our daughter as we make our way to her. As a woman, nothing has ever compared to the Purpose I feel tending my nest and my bitties.
And when I reflect on this transformation and the Hope that I feel moving forward raising up these boys... I am undone. For a spell. A day or two.
I'm hoping a weekend steeped in family festivities with my three boys will help my aching heart.
Peace, love, and gingerbread.