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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

How Did You Get Here?

"Did you ever wonder how you got here?"

Biggest Brother asked me that today under Marble Arch. We were having a Pret picnic. So glad to be out on a perfect spring day, we were watching the girls chase. Big Brother happily munching his sannie next to us, Biggest Brother and I sat side by side quietly like old pals.

All of the smalls are currently felled by a bug or two so I called an audible. A do over of sorts. Short of having a do over of a weekend, we got a beautiful Monday together to recover. To nurse everyone back to health, rest, disinfect. Finish homework. Begin celebrating Science Week with a science show in our pajamas on the couch.

I always tell the kids when it comes to fighting off illness, that I'd much rather it be me. But being down and out together is bonding. A siege mentality sets in. Us Versus Them. The smalls know I'll rise to be their Nursemaid Extraordinaire and they seem to be genuinely appreciative.

We've had plenty of together time to ruminate. About important things like the marital status of "the Professionals" (single) and how "Phineas and Ferb" got Perry (animal shelter). We've finished reading a mystery together, shared a few dramatic readings of favorite lines from new books, and had fits of giggles just because.

His question came out of nowhere. I wasn't expecting to have an existential conversation with a 9 year old over a salad and BLT today in the middle of London.

Biggest Brother went on to say that sometimes he looks out his bedroom window and sees black cabs and double decker buses and wonders "how did I get here?" Kind of a "why us? why me? what's next?" sort of thinking.

Probably not entirely comforting, but true - I told him I feel that way lots. He knows this so I didn't go into these details, but sometimes I catch them and feel like I must have missed a few years because they've changed before my eyes. Big Sister has long, thin legs where gushy ones were mere minutes ago. Her body is that of a little girls'. Baby Sister plays baby because we all know she's not one anymore. She is older now than her siblings were when they became someone's big brother or sister. There is no leaning or crouching down anymore when Biggest Brother and I talk. Despite his penchant for striking muscle man poses, Big Brother is comically skinny where his delicious belly was just protruding.

How indeed, Biggest Brother.  How did we all get here? (And as always, back to me...) How did I get so blessed?  How are you all mine? How is it that we're on this adventure together? Where will it lead?

It is hard to say, My Lovey. Impossible, really. I hope though, that you'll always tell me your questions, I hope that you'll always whisper secrets and giggle with Big Brother at night, I hope that you'll always play absently with Big Sister's hair, and I hope that you'll always gladly hoist Baby Sister (as you did so often this weekend!) whenever she announces she wants to "hold you!" One day she won't call it your "wap" but she'll likely always want to sit on yours. I hope so.

Yours is a great question shared by so many. I do know this: Life is a mystery. Daddy and I seem to think lots of it makes sense in retrospect, but often seems a bit fuzzy in the present. I think that's where faith comes in. I wanted to listen to you more than talk today, but someday I'll tell you about how all of us were so lovingly knit together. Over generations of family and friends.

You are such a special part of this world, Biggest Brother. You've been the king of our castle since you arrived and you are gracious about that. You are loving, kind, gentle, funny, talented, sweet. You are greatly loved. I'm thrilled we're going places together.

You arrived into our family because we were just that blessed. That you see the exciting world around you, and at 9, wonder which part of it is yours is very dear to me. And I've been your biggest fan since I started writing to you in 2001. Here's another love letter.

PS: I'm not just writing this because Daddy was away and we quite literally would have never made it out of the house to get to the park (which we needed so desperately) this weekend if it hadn't been for you. You tied small shoes and zippered little jackets, then had your siblings line up on one side, their vehicles on another while you directed one lane into the lift and another down the stairs! You crack me up!

You can be a little man in so many ways. But you'll always be my little boy. No matter how you got here. Or where you're headed next.

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