Friday, December 5, 2008


"Don't come ovuh heew, mom. It's stinky." I had just walked into the kitchen and at that, looked over to where Donovan was casually laid out on his belly on the sofa, chin cupped in his hands, knees bent and feet crossed in the air. The way he just huskily threw that out there as he watched (his sometimes daily) Robin Hood made me stop and stare.

Sometimes when I'm holding Gemma, I whisper in her wee delicate ear, 'Who are you going to be?' I look at her sparkly eyes and her round cheeks and her button nose and wonder how she is going to evolve. I've wondered this about all of my kids. Looking back at pictures of Ainsleigh when she was small, I can totally see the "big Ainsleigh" in those smaller, babier features. Donovan's eyes have always held a mischievous glint to them. Of COURSE they look the way they do right now, but looking back, it's easier to see. Looking forward, it's still a wonder.

Last night I was helping Ainsleigh with a project for school. She had to pick a country she is descended from and write a few things and draw pictures. We I chose Norway. I got out the book my Uncle Morrie wrote about our ancestor who left Norway for America and showed her the pictures of the homes, churches and land. While she was at school I found the information about the food, housing, traditions, etc. As I was helping her outline what she was going to write and draw, I made crude little sketches to help her remember. A fish, I can do. Meatballs, easy. Lefse (a potato pancake), a little tricky, but doable. Goat cheese. Hmm. I said, "I don't know how to draw goat cheese." Ainsleigh adopted this very reassuring and mature voice, "Oh, it's easy, mom. You could just do, like, a triangle. Go ahead." I drew a triangle. "Right. And now you can add little circles for holes. You know - like Swiss cheese. Goat cheese doesn't look like that, but people will know it's cheese if it has holes." Ok. So I draw two circles and then a half of one, thinking I'm being awesome in the details. But then I pull back and realize it looks like I've just drawn a triangle frowning face. "Heh," I laugh, "It looks like a frown!" Ainsleigh patted (PATTED) me on the back, shrugging, then nodding knowingly said, "It's ok, Mom. It take practice to get good."

With Gemma, I still wonder, but I look at Donovan and Ainsleigh and they are giving me more and more sneak previews to the people they're evolving into. And it makes me both happy and sad. Happy because, really, I think they're going to be awesome people (totally unbiased assessment, natch). Sad because...

I remember my mom talking about the "golden years" of being a mom and having kids. If I'm not mistaken, it's when I was somewhere between 8-9 (sorry Becca and David), Allison was 5-6, Jeff was 3-4, and Laura was new. I used to think it was weird because, first of all, we were missing 2 kids. Second, was she saying that I peaked at 9? But now I get it. Right now, my kids are MINE (and Joel's - but let's face it - more mine). They depend on me (and Joel) for just about everything. As they get older, they'll grow up and out and become independent. And that's good - I know that.

But it also brings life lessons more challenging than teaching to share and taking turns and deciding which character bandage to put on a skinned knee. It's a learning experience for all of us. And I guess that's the point. Watching them grow and wondering what kind of person they will be, that's the fun. Sometimes it's frustration. But it's my fun and my frustration, and I'm grateful for that.

As I kind of jolted myself back to the moment and walked out of the room, taking Donovan's advice to steer clear of his area, I knew this was just a shadow of future-Dono. Just as I saw how encouraging and enthusiastic Ainsleigh was while doing her project. And then I went and got Gemma out of her bed, and as she did her excited rapid in/exhale with a tiny thread of drool emerging from her lower lip, I decided I was just going to enjoy not knowing who she's going to be. She'll show me all too soon.