I can see the photo in my mind: the one of Everett wearing a similar striped shirt and the very same beige overalls. He is carefully picking Christmas ornaments out of the box and "helping" me decorate the tree. He has a string of pink beads around his neck -- the ones he used to insist on wearing every single day. His cheeks are fuller than they are now -- still round with that glorious baby pudge. It is his second Christmas, but the first where he can really start to get a sense that something special is happening. He is in awe of all of the pretty, sparkly things that are coming out of the boxes and up onto our walls, or mantle, or the branches of this tree that has suddenly appeared in the corner of the room.
It is Christmas time, and my heart is full. Our last Christmas in our first home. Our last Christmas as a family of three. My sweet one-year-old boy closely examines an ornament, his thick, dark lashes falling softly on his cheeks. My heart swells. I reach down and cradle my littlest baby, still just a bump under my sweater. My heart smiles. Life is good.
And now, less than a year and a half later, here we are. A new house, a second baby, and a mama who doesn't know what she could have done to deserve all of this. Those outgrown clothes get a second life, pulled from blue storage bins and hung in a closet once more. My boys each have a brother -- a lifelong playmate, rival, confidante, and friend. I watch it all come to life before my eyes -- all those dreams I dreamed while I was pregnant with Caleb. I watch them make each other laugh. Play together. Squabble over the same toys. I watch their friendship grow.
Sharing clothes. Sharing childhood.
My darling boys. My heart grows and grows for you.