Thursday, April 23, 2015

Playing Favorites

Paul had to work late on my birthday, so, as I always do when he works late, I piled the kids into the car and took them out for dinner. We had barely got on the road when Nicholas piped up from the back seat.

"I love all my sisters, but I have to say that Evelyn is my favorite."

Chloe took exception to this statement. "What?!?!?!" she shrieked, probably louder than necessary. "What do you mean Evelyn is your favorite?"

"She's my favorite sister because she's really loud, but in a good way, and she laughs a lot, and she poops a lot!"

I couldn't help but instigate: "You think she poops more than Chloe does?"

"What?!?!?!?!" Chloe shrieked again from 18 inches away.

"She poops a ton! I really do love all of my sisters, but Evelyn is my favorite."

Nicholas is winning at big brotherhood.

Young and Wild and Free

Each year has a day like last Saturday--that first really beautiful day of spring that fills me with energy and plans for our outdoor space. Although I should admit that last year had no such day. I was too shell-shocked by the tiny, squalling creature that had just launched herself out of my body and into my life. I could barely brush my hair, much less plant flowers.

This year that squalling creature was big enough to toddle around the patio, chasing basketballs and licking rocks while I cleared out the winter stash of weeds and dead leaves from my little flower bed, and Paul mowed what has become less of a wild acre and more of an actual lawn. Paul finished mowing and moved on to some other yard-related task, and I stopped keeping an eye out for Evelyn as she toddled around after her dad.

After a while, I noticed Paul standing near by...but not Evelyn.

"Where's the baby?" I asked.

"Off in the field, following the dogs."

"By herself??" Duh...

"Where is she going to go?" Paul replied.

I swallowed a brief flash of panic and acknowledged that yes, the fence would keep her in. But it wouldn't keep rocks and bugs and dog poo out of her mouth. It wouldn't keep her from falling down the slope and stabbing her eye out with a stick.

But I let it go. I've always known that it will be a struggle for me to let Evelyn be as independent as I know she will be. I want to protect her from every harm and hurt, but at the same time I want her to have the confidence to roam free and be herself. I can't project my fear onto my fearless little girl.

Evelyn spent most of the weekend outside, eating dirt and falling in the grass, and helping her dad build a really cool sand box. On Sunday I even let her roam around barefoot for a bit, just like I did as a kid (ok, as an adult too...).

Paul mentioned not so long ago that in one of the first pictures he saw of me I was standing on one foot in the tulip fields, the other foot caked in thick, brown mud and lifted high for the camera to see. I wouldn't mind being that girl again. And I would love to let Evelyn be that girl, too. Dirty, and a little wild and free.


Forward facing in the big truck for a trip to the Man Store.
She was so excited to see EVERYTHING.

Supervising Dad's handiwork.

A bench just her size.

This sand box is the coolest thing ever. Thanks Dad!


It's not that I feel old, despite the ever-lengthening crow's feet that crease the corners of my eyes, creep down my cheeks and invade my smile lines. I'm too young to feel old, right? My grey hairs are still somewhat hidden (I think), and my butt is where it has always been. No, I don't feel old.

For some reason, turning 33 has given me pause. Jesus was 33 when he died. The second pastor of the church I grew up in was 33 when he took over lead pastorship from his father. Strange comparisons for me, I know, but it makes me think that I should have accomplished something big by now, if I ever mean to accomplish anything. Right now my biggest accomplishment is getting out the door with mascara on, and Evelyn fed and in a matching outfit.

I guess I feel like a big ball of wasted potential. The possibility was there, but the motivation was lacking. I didn't finish school; I didn't seek out a career path or specialized training. I let life happen as it came to me. And now I look at the people who work around me, who are so knowledgeable and confident in their positions, and I feel very small. On the one hand, it's ok to sit where I am at the bottom of my ladder, forwarding e-mails and entering data. Work is not my life and I don't want it to be. On the other hand, as I have said, I could have done something big.

Who knows...I'm only 33. There is still time for education and career path changes. For now I have children to raise and a mortgage to pay. Now to find a way to be okay with that...

Thirty-Three...Not so bad