Summer is finally here. It's still cool, most days, but after a long spring that felt more like early March, we are not about to complain. And honestly, I really like 75 degree days that end in cool, wind-washed nights. It's one of the reasons I live in the Pacific Northwest. If I wanted 4 months of sticky nights and blistered mornings I'd move somewhere else. Everyone that complains about our weather should, too. (ahem)
Auntie Sharon has beaten cancer. Almost. There are no words to tell our thankfulness. There have been too many stories and people in our lives the past 9 years that have not received this joyful news. Too many. We are so grateful and so happy and along the way have had some very interesting conversations with Penelope about death and dying. Two things I've learned as a result: when you absolutely believe that the divine presence we refer to as God is completely trustworthy, completely loving and ultimately and fiercely kind (as Penelope does!), you don't fear death or whatever comes next; and that I have yet to resolve my own theology or lack thereof around death and dying. But then, I am still recovering from childhood nightmares featuring in full-effect a terrifying god-figure that was male in the worst possible way and hell-bent (literally) on the destruction of everything that wasn't to his liking or current whim.
For the record, I am completely comfortable with never resolving my thoughts or feelings on this point. For me, it's enough to believe that if we are created in love and told quite pointedly in scripture that love is the whole point, then whatever happens next is love and lovely. This will sound ridiculously foofy to many of you. Love is pretty fierce, though.
Birdie sings. All day long, every song playing loudly or in the background. She sings East of the Sun West of the Moon, Favorite Things, Fly Me to the Moon, songs by The Weepies and Brandi Carlile, silly kids' songs, everything she hears. Her vocabulary is incredible. And Pea's wasn't shabby at this age either, but Birdie floors me. She counts (1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 18), knows all her colors, and can sing songs from PBSkids shows she's seen only one or two times. She also plays harmonica and makes up songs with words. I suspect she is a tad competitive with sister...
Penelope is 44 inches and 44 lbs at only 4 years old. She's as tall as the 6 and 7 year olds everywhere we go and has very 6 and 7 year old emotions. I have decided that I'm not scared of them at all, even though I often don't know what the right thing to do or say is, thanks again to my childhood where emotions of any sort just weren't allowed (dad took up all the emotional air space, let's be honest). I really think that if she and I can figure out how to communicate now, and if I can learn to hear and understand her heart now, then all the years and ages people like to scare me with (12, 13, 17, 21) won't be that terrible at all.
This post, by a dear friend's sister, has brought tears to my eyes today. Even though she is farther ahead in parenting and marriage and all that that means than I, my heart feels the truth in it so deeply. Her words have also been challenging and comforting to Jeffrey and me in the ways we've chosen to parent and live and I am grateful.