In the back seat:
"Say cow, Charlotte." …. "Cow."
"Say goose, Charlotte." …. "Goose."
"Say pig, Charlotte." …. "Pig."
And so it goes, the two littlest girl's voices tinkling in the back seat.
"Say mom, Charlotte." …. "Mom."
"Say Grant, Charlotte." …. "Nant."
"Say hand sanitizer, Charlotte." …….. giggles. Too much too quickly?
I've been down to the youngest four children all week as the three oldest boarded a plane for EFY at Brigham Young University on Sunday. They fairly skipped from my car and camera.
I told them they looked too happy. "Joy in the journey, Mom!" Christian sang over his shoulder at me.
They'll be back tomorrow and I've not heard much beyond a quick text from Celia to inform me she'd been to tour her department of interest up on the campus. Her heart was all a flutter and she said she felt a second wind heading into this, her last and final year of high school, to push a little harder and make that thing happen if she can.
My heart flutters too, at her sense of direction. Like when a baby bird has peeked it's head over the edge of the nest so many times, it is ready to commit to that jump.
Go, go, go … wait … okay … go, go, go.
Last night, there was a text from one of her young friends to share with her his excitement over receiving his call to a mission in Australia for me to pass on to her.
Here goes another one, just like the other one.
He's sixth in line of a string of others we know. My girl practically disappeared for the last three weeks in the course of saying goodbye to her closest friend and confidant, off and gone for the next two years. He was a really great part of her story, I tell her, she's been lucky to have had that.
She'll bounce, for now, but someday I can see, one will take her with him.
With each call to serve, I see Christian's eyes a-glitter. Three short years and his time is coming.
Three. Short. Years.
I delivered Eliza's kindergarten registration to the elementary school office at 4:00pm on the last day of school. Pay no attention, the registration days were in February. I'm in denial.
Sifting through photos for Annie's middle school graduation slide show, the stories of each unfolded before my picture file sifting fingers.
How are the years so short?
Charlotte awoke and I lifted her from the crib. Frowzy haired with remaining pre-dawn haze, she folds into me as we descend to the kitchen.
Her legs seem to hang longer, their pudgy folds thinning. My arms wrapped around her back, feeling toddler muscles rather than baby fat. Why the sting of sudden awareness?
Grant has missed Christian like one would miss a left arm, though all the while, Janie has corralled him to movie nights, yard games, puzzles and cards deep into the darkening hours.
It'll be like this one day.
And though my heart seizes with a desire to freeze … to prolong the reading of this very good book of exciting chapter leading from one to the next, I'm loving the character development within it.
To see how they become.
One leap to the next.
Bit by bit.
From cow to hand sanitizer.
That's a fact.