It is another snow day and I couldn’t be happier. After lunch, I take Wallace upstairs to change his clothes and get him ready for a nap. I have him to myself for only a moment before the girls burst into the room and surround him with love and play silks. They were meant to be together, these three.
I am watching Ellen curl up in a cozy chair and flip through the pages of a new version of Harry Potter. Jeffrey found a hardback edition beautifully illustrated by Jim Kay, and it is magical.
There has been a lot of Harry Potter play around our house. Most recently the girls built a Hogwarts Castle out of blocks and clay, using marbles for the characters. The greenish marbles are Slitherins. The biggest pearly-white marble is Dumbledore. Dumbledore, Harry, and friends (and enemies) have inspired hours of play in this miniature, magical world.
And yet, when Ellen and I were looking back at old photos last night, she said, “I wish I could go back to then [meaning two or three years ago] . . . when Amie played with me.” Even though I see them playing together every day, I can understand how it feels different to Ellen now that Amabel has become an avid reader. Ellen often asks her sister to stop reading and “Play with me!” This is the only downside that I can see to Amabel’s reading — but it is definitely real.
Funny how I wanted Amabel to fall in love with reading for so long, but now I’m rather glad that it only happened recently. Just think of all those years of play with Ellen, uninterrupted by silent reading alone.
Piles everywhere. Dishes, laundry, books, papers. My arms are always full with baby. It’s so much easier to go into the bathroom, shut the door on the mess, and take photos!
Sometimes photography documents the chaos and sometimes it is an escape from the chaos.
I pulled out my old Olympus camera today with my old 5o mm lens — the camera and lens I used for six years before we got a Nikon. It was like finding an old friend! The auto focus is no longer reliable and everything is slow and a bit clunky. But I love how soft the photos feel. This lens captures a quality of light that I haven’t figured out how to replicate on my newer, fancier Nikon. I took photos with both cameras this morning and said to Jeffrey, “There is just no comparison.” He and I talked about it at length. What is it about this lens? Is it made of better glass? The colors look true to life in a way that is hard to put my finger on. Using this trusty old friend to take pictures of our little people made me happy all day long.
“Read to me, Papa!” she begs again and again.
He does all the voices perfectly. She can’t get enough.
This is my view most of the day: his sweet baby head. My heart swells with love for this little boy and the way he has fit into our family and snuggled into our lives. He is 14 weeks old now, and I find myself wondering what life was like 10 years ago when Amabel was this age. I go back to my journal from late 2005 and early 2006 — a little yellow spiral-bound book with a flexible plastic cover. I read through my often-inturped entries and remember the familiar ups and downs of those early months. Should I put her in the crib to sleep or keep her in the bed? How can I fit in computer work when she only naps in 45-minute increments? Is she nursing too often? My journal entries wander from the practicalities of life with a newborn to more philosophical questions. And I find passages from books that I was reading. Like this one:
“And this is the faith of motherhood — to trust completely the unseen within, the idea of divine, living love developing perfectly in its place, with all its needs met, in great peace.”
Where did that come from? I have not cited its source. But I’m grateful for that quote today, ten years later, with a new little one next to me.