I've been thinking a lot lately about life and where I am and where my family is. I suppose that's the nature of "mid-life" - as hard as it is to believe (and even harder to admit!) I am here so soon.
No one could have told me how much I would enjoy this time, when the kids are independent and headstrong and taking baby steps into the adult world (brought back to reality by young ones who still beg to be tickled and who still must use a timer in order to begrudgingly share Wii time).
I sat and drank coffee with Neal-16 this morning, talking about life and what I think he's good at (listening and talking to people) and dreaming with him a bit about what the future holds for him.
Interestingly, Annie-9 and Ruthie-7 joined us at the table. Ruthie was preoccupied, darting back and forth to the pantry looking for hidden Christmas candy, and interrupted a few times to ask if it was okay if she had some (she knows the answer is usually yes when I am distracted and talking-smart thing!). Then she sat down with a sucker (where did she find that?) and drew in a notebook and pretended to listen, but we all knew it was just about the candy.
Annie, on the other hand, sat right up at the table and participated animatedly. If it annoyed Neal that a nine-year-old was in this discussion about his life dreams, he didn't show it. She piped in with her ideas and memories, and, even though they revealed her still-concrete stage of thinking, I wondered at her...When did you learn to make conversation like a miniature adult? This is the second time in two days this has happened. Last night the two older girls were talking about the youth group, and Annie included herself with them (yes, and I admit the conversation was after 10 p.m., the hour at which all things are just getting underway for teens). "I think if I were in youth group, I wouldn't want there to be a bunch of games. I want to be learning about the Bible and about Jesus." And how old did you say you were?
This encourages me, after a day of mediating Wii disputes. Ah, yes, all growth is definitely not linear.
Tomorrow Libby will be 13. It seems like yesterday she was nine, just beginning to venture into the world of the big kids. She has the vocabulary of a college professor combined with an insanely dry sense of humor. Sometimes what she says will hit you much, much later. With one minor exception she could be described as hyper-responsible, something I suppose is inherent in her position as The Middle Child, and as her mother's daughter (in the discussion of the youth group last night, Libby was making notes - probably in outline form - on her phone, if that tells you anything). We're working through that one together.
No, growth is not linear, but it is definitely a joy to watch. I love you!