Liberty mentioned, via passing conversation today, that she’ll be seventeen in four years.
I kinda gulped. My baby! Pierce is four. His birth feels like yesterday. Four years is but a moment.
It gave me pause, because the days seen so long, but the years are so, so short. I feel like I need to make a checklist, so as to not forget anything I need to teach this dear girl, before she’s grown and gone.
Then she went in, played dolls with Elliot, and picked out matching outfits for her, Elliot, and the doll to wear. Just because she loves her baby sister.
Then she made a supper, without help and with barely a word of instruction.
She washed a load of laundry, just because it needed to be done.
And I realized – I’m working myself out of a job here.
Day by day, working alongside my children, teaching them what I know; they need me less and less. They’ll be far more prepared for adult life than I was, merely because of how much we work together to make our days go smoothly. There’s always a meal make, a meal to clean up, laundry to do, a diaper to change. I was one of two, and the youngest. This world looks far, far different.
Eden’s eleven. She’s an expert bathroom scrubber. She loves to cook. She makes my coffee every morning… ie, she provides my sanity in a cup.
Sterling is nine. His bedroom is rarely anything but neat. He prefers all things outdoors and helping with anything I need outside.
Ruby’s seven. She carries Stellan… all eighteen or so pounds of him… like she’s done it all her life. She loves him and he loves her.
Charlotte’s five. She reads like she’s an adult. She’s an expert dishwasher loader.
Pierce is four. He can clear a table of dirty dishes like he’s done it all his life… because he has.
Elliot’s two. She’s a minimalist… when it comes to work. She loves to get things for her daddy. She doesn’t love to put things away. But… she’s learning. She has six older siblings to watch and learn from.
It’s a strange place, to know my house can function for a day or three and nothing will fall apart.
At least until they out of groceries and no one is old enough to drive to the store… or the floor needs to be mopped. No one seems to volunteer for mopping.
I think it’s good and right, to work together, play together, and learn together. I’m so thankful to do this motherhood thing in a large family world. There’s an abundance of opportunities teach, to serve, to learn. It’s exhausting often, to be sure, but watching them do things like my thirteen year old digging through doll clothes to find just the right doll outfit for the two year old’s liking, then dressing the doll for the thirty-sixth time that day, because the two year old can’t help but strip that baby doll to naked every 45 seconds… it speaks of service, love , compassion, and patience.
And maybe a spoiled two year old. But I digress.
We got groceries today, and Stellan needed to nurse right as we got home. By the time he was finished, the kids had the van unloaded and the groceries put away. While I haven’t ventured to to the basement to see if the shelves maintain their proper order, I’m betting they do.
The kitchen floor though… while the evidence declares that they’ve learned much, recognizing a dirty floor is a skill they’ve yet to master.