Harrison is 3. He sleeps on a little couch next to our bed. He calls it his special spot. Every once in awhile he’ll invite me or his mother to sit with him there. It’s an elite invitation. We general don’t sit there unless we’re specifically asked. He falls asleep in his special spot at night. Sometimes he will make it there until morning, but often times he will pop up in the middle of the night and lunge right between his mother and I. The two or three times I’ve actually woken up to see him do it are memories that will never burn out. His favorite thing is when his sister Chloe comes down the stairs. He gives her a big hug and bombards her with questions. My favorite thing about Harrison is his crazy hair.
Mara is 22 months. She sleeps upstairs with her babies. A doll, an elephant, a bear, and a dog all stuffed between her armpit and elbow with a death grip. She says goodnight to everyone in the house individually and kisses them before she heads upstairs to her crib. In the morning she doesn’t cry. She just yells mommy or daddy until one of us hears and heads up to get her. She’s usually standing up, leaning against the rails of her crib with a smile on her face when I come in. The lights come on and she slowly wipes her forearms over her eyes to hide them from the new glare. Then she talks and talks and talks some more until breakfast is ready. Her favorite thing is pointing at anything in the house, yelling what it is–over and over again–until somebody gives her the validation that she’s right. My favorite thing about Mara is the way she says ‘orange’ when she asks for one.
Travis is 12 and he is a wild card. He loves school (well, being at school) so I know it’s been tough for him to be on lockdown at home. He plays soccer but that’s on hold too. He has to deal with a lot of strong female energy in the house and sometimes he looses control and lashes out. Frankly, some of that is my fault for not being more of a strong male influence for him. But at his heart, Travis is strong and unselfish. He’s a listener, an observer, and he has strong family values. My favorite memories I have with Travis are the road trips we’ve taken together. We’ve gone on a couple of adventures and he loved it. When his grandpa (my dad) comes through town we have gone bowling and golfing together. Just the three of us. He loves being one of the boys. One of my favorite things in life is seeing Travis smiling or laughing.
Chloe is 14 and wise beyond her years. She seems to know when to slow down and when to speed up. Especially when dealing with her mother, which is something I have yet to master myself. She is independent and creative and has a super sweet side. She loves her brothers and sisters all of the time, hangs out with them some of the time, and every once in a while doesn’t want to deal with them. That’s the perfect mentality of a 14-year-old with 3 younger siblings and one grandma who acts like one. She taught herself how to play the guitar, excels at anything she puts her mind to, and I’m told she uses social media responsibly. Her future is all about what’s inside her bursting out. And I can’t wait to see what it is. My favorite thing about Chloe is her half disgusted, half holding back a smile face she has when I tell her a stupid joke. Her favorite thing to do is spew out all sorts of ridiculous conspiracy theories that make no sense. Most of them aren’t even conspiracies.