I stare at the screen through tired eyes, the same story playing itself out like muscle memory after every trip and subsequent return home... start to unpack, laundry, homeschool a lesson on writing letters, give extra kisses and hugs goodnight, trying to catch up on sleep, pick lint from my toes. And except for the last two, muscle memory is winning out, taking me through the motions, all while I fiercely try and find words worthy of my feelings.
I don't even know where to begin.
Thoughts swarm around through my head, unorganized and haphazardly, reminiscent of the mess of bags and suitcases still pouring out from the corners of my room where they were flung late Monday night upon my arrival home, as I threw everything out of my arms so I could fully scoop up my littlest little waiting up for mommy's return. And trying to filter my emotions right now is like trying to sort through the waterfall of clothes and random junk still smelling of the rainy gusts of wind and exhaust of downtown Chicago.
How can something so small, a number so seemingly insignificant, make such an impact and stir up such a whirlwind of feelings?
Since work was keeping me away from home on the actual first anniversary of my littlest's birth, my husband packed up the kids and crossed the 300 miles of pavement separating us so that at the exact moment we scooped up his tiny little body and I held him close to my chest for the very first time, at 1:51 am, I could do it again exactly one year later. And I did. I tip-toed my way to his crib tucked into the corner of a dark hotel room and pulled him close as I gently kissed his head. The scent of it never was sweeter, and I cried.
We celebrated, family style, with a night out on the town, shopping and ducking into one of our favorite Windy City joints for some gourmet mac-n-cheese, french fries and a cake of whipped cream made specially for the birthday boy. It was perfect.
As the lyrics to Happy Birthday slid from our lips, the memory of that day, the first day of the rest of our lives together, washed over me. It was sweet, and bittersweet. I'm proud of the boy he is already starting to become, a generous heart already emerging, and yet, that day, his Birth Day, the day so many things almost went wrong, but instead his perfect little cry and nestling his little body in close for his first nursing is something I never want to forget.
The rest of our time together (before daddy had to leave and left big sister with me for a girl's weekend), played out like a wonderfully scored movie, with high notes of the perfect popcorn and elated tones of splashing in the hotel pool to burn off energy before bedtime. We became lost in the architecture of the city, the tips of the buildings hovering under the clear blue canvas. The sounds of the taxis and buses, car horns and construction, voices and clippety-clop of shoes productively making their way from here to there all blended into our Brayden's Birthday Celebration soundtrack perfectly, like it was meant to be. And really, all was as it should be.
Homegirl busted out this pose all on her own when I called her name with the camera aimed in her direction, and I have no idea where she gets it.
There's more to come, because we'll celebrate again. BIG. Because there's no better reason to celebrate than life, than birth, and we like to do it big. So soon, when we're home for more than just a couple of days at a time we'll do it up Blue Friend and Family style. Plans are coming along.
And tonight as I rocked my little one-year-old just a little longer because I couldn't bear to part with him yet, succeeding to his crib, I felt it.
I remember those times on a school trip when the bus is filled with an overly annoying song, and we keep singing it over, and over, and over. And it's stuck in our heads ALL DAY LONG. Then, when you're supposed to be paying attention to the droning on about the gathering process of wheat, you're actually bobbing your head wearing a crooked smile as you try your best to keep from belting out the lyrics.
My heart feels that way, constantly wearing a big smile and bopping it's head to the beat of my two little ones, far past the end of the bus ride. And it's a song I never want to end.
The month by month:
You can read more about each month here.