I don't know if it is the loosening of tight schedules, the magic of summertime, the growing social skills of the girls, or the consistent fostering of imagination, but the kids have been playing together. Without the TV on. Nicely. For long than five minutes!
I feel, again, like we have arrived somewhere I'd been waiting to reach. They colour, play dolls, pretend to be animals on parade, chase Summer, hide, wake their Daddy up, read books ... together! Usually Abby directs the play, because she is the oldest and therefore the de facto boss when I am in another room. Hailey and robin have become willing participants who worship the ground Abby walks on. I think they are just so happy to be included, finally. They have always played well together, but now their big sister is home to teach them things like wearing tea towels as turbans and walking in plastic disney princess heels.
And Summer. I may be pushing reality away with denial that she is growing. She hobbles along, chasing her sisters, even if it means they pretend she's the monster and run away again. She wants a sippy cup of milk when they get sups of milk at dinner. She wants a hat when they put on hats in the play room. She wants nothing more than to be part of it, which just warms my heart. This. This is what I imagined in those quiet, hazy moments after Summer was born and I could begin imagining life with four daughters.
With those pleasant thoughts, I leave you. Just for a week. It is summer vacation and time to check out, log off, disconnect from the world wide web. We are driving eight hours tomorrow to my favourite paradise by the sea, in Maine. It is the beach I return to in my mind when I need to calm down. When I began doing guided meditations as a teenager, this is the place I would imagine, listening to waves lap the shore, smelling sea salty air, feeling warm white sand. My family has been returning to this beach for three generations, now onto our fourth with my own little ladies in tow.