More often, and at what always feels like the last-minute, I try to grab my camera to get some shots of the kiddos in action. And always, always I’m so glad I did. Looking back, my favorite photos are the spontaneous, in the moment shots. But a good old-fashioned posed picture is just as precious. I love pictures so much because they capture what sometimes words can’t express. You can’t help but see the distinct personalities, feelings and features of each child. And isn’t it amazing just how different each sibling is? Together I’m certain that these four make up the sweetest little family I could have ever imagined.
Henry. At eight he no longer sees himself as a little boy, but isn’t quite as grown-up as he’d like to be either. He still finds so much comfort in the safe cocoon of our family but is just starting to spread his wings and establish an identity separate from us. It is both heartbreaking and lovely. He is so, so brave and I know that this school year has not been easy for him. His days are a swirl of love, responsibility, the need to distance himself and the pull to protect his brother. It is a lot to ask of one little boy.
Charlie. This has been such a year of growth for Charlie. His speech is taking off and if all else fails there is no doubt that Charlie could beat anyone in a game of charades. He will pull out all the stops to make his opinion/wants/needs known. He has also become so aware of his limitations. His frustration is real but his tenacity is greater. Those traits serve him well. Little dude is also mastering scissors and getting pretty darn good with his colors. Oh and he’s never met a sweet treat that he didn’t like.
William. He is healthy, praise God. He is all spunk and sweetness. He is smart as a whip and stubborn as a mule. And funny, he’s really funny. He is my little buddy, afternoons are ours – eating lunch, doing chores, and puttering around the house together. He’s obviously not the baby of the house anymore but in a way I think he will always be my baby. I sort of wish I could freeze him in time right now.
And Caroline. My daughter. Daughter. Someone spoke that word to me the other day and for some reason it just hit me. We have a daughter. Isn’t she lovely? And she squeals! High-pitched little girl squeals. And she talks and smiles and coos. She also knows how to wear a serious expression. She is alert as can be and always on the look-out. With three boys flying through the house who can blame her? She is sweet and she is spicy. She is opinionated yet laid back. She just might be the most relaxed of all our children. This is something I never would have said four months ago. Go figure.
The more I write and ramble I realize that it’s difficult to separate my story from the story of my children, or at least the story of their childhood. My hope is that through all of these photos and ramblings my children will one day look back and see how grateful I was for each one of them. I hope they see a mom who loved them unconditionally, stumbled right alongside them, prayed over their mistakes, laughed often with them and did her best to hand her mountain of worries over to the Lord. I hope they see a mom who was far from perfect, but loved them so much.