They squabble. Sometimes squabble is too mild of a term to describe what they do. The glass door of the shower shakes as they run upstairs to list their grievances and place blame. I escape to the bathroom or hide in my closet to find a quiet moment and count the minutes until I get a little reprieve. And then they broker some sort of peace agreement and play soccer until a too tall brother accidentally kicks the soccer ball into an unprepared sister. Or they play Minecraft on separate devices until someone sets someone else’s house on fire or the batteries simultaneously run out on all of the kindles and they can only find one charger. During those moments, I feel the weight of being their mom and summer vacation.
But then we go to the river and hang out on the rocks and I sit back and watch. I watch them help each other move from rock to rock and navigate the little pools of water. I hear them giggle as they throw rocks into the water and find baby ducks looking for their next meal. I look up and see the smiles and the eyes glistening in the sun and during those moments I feel the magic in all that it means that they are mine. These little personalities belong to me and make my heart grow and explode with love.
Because there are four of them I’m not the mom I ever thought I would be. The oldest had strict rules when he was little. He couldn’t watch TV with pushing or fighting. He didn’t know the word gun until he walked into preschool at age four. His diet was monitored closely making sure every bite was filled with the best possible food. And now number three and number four know more bad words than I do. Ethan’s diet consists mostly of ice pops somedays. They’ve watched Hunger Games(I know…Bad Mother of the Year Award!). But because there are four of them, they also have someone in peace and in war. And they’re mine, even if my idea of what that means changes each day. Some days we’re thriving and other days we’re striving to just make it through. And I want to gather them up and guard all their freckles and hold them in my arms for the rest of our days because I’m the luckiest mom in the world to be entrusted with these fearless little souls.