I take a lot of photographs of my kids. It's an attempt to try to stop time, or at least slow it down. It doesn't work, but I have loved capturing their childhoods. Like all growing kids, they are each their own wonderful at every stage. I love watching them create themselves.
Right now Oliver is 6, Chloe is 8, and our oldest, Elliot, will be 10 on Tuesday, the Ides of March.
Was it really 10 years ago that I watched these big blue eyes dance in the moonlight at 3 a.m. night after night? It doesn't seem possible. Yet, he can mysteriously circumvent the parent controls on his iMac to get to YouTube, so I guess this is really happening.
Besides being a future coder (or hacker), Elliot is a very sensitive and kind boy. His sweetness makes us so proud. He is usually happy, but when he's sad, he doesn't hide it. Drew and I couldn't ask for a bigger hearted, more compassionate boy. He is learning to understand his own emotions, and the emotions of others. If someone is crying—even if Elliot is the one who's crying—he will give a hug, or ask for one. He says, "May you have happy, please?" He has been known to literally push frowns upside down with his fingers. Elliot is autistic, but that hasn't stopped him from feeling a whole lot of empathy for others.
They say when you become a parent, nothing is different except that your heart is now walking around outside your body. These three—my heart.
Having three is fun, they learn so much from each other about the single thing that matters most in life—relationships. As humans, I suppose we all want our people to know how much we love them, and feel our people's love in return. These three are spending their childhoods creating sibling relationships that will last a lifetime.
Drew and I try hard to be good parents. We try to model for them what it means to care about others, what that looks like to give love and be loved in return. To share in others' joy and sadness. To ask for compassion when we are hurting, and give it when someone else needs it. To apologize and mean it when we are wrong or have hurt someone. To care about more than just ourselves. Parenting is the toughest test of patience, and if I'm being honest, sometimes it exhausts me. I do my best.
When I fall short in modeling the right thing for my kids—like taking the easy way out instead of taking a risk, or losing my cool instead of being the always-patient and completely understanding person I am (enter sarcasm here)—they call me out on it.
Well, let's be honest. Chloe calls me out on it. But it's good; it means they might actually hear me when I talk.
These three make Drew and me feel like we are doing a decent job. Not bad for two people who had no idea what we were doing when we drove away from the hospital and began this adventure 10 years ago.
Love you, turkeys.