Harper is no longer a near lifeless (albeit cute) blob that roots, coos, and sniffs out her surroundings. She is beginning to discover the world around her in small bursts, in bright doses. She sees a toy dangled above her and bats her hands to grasp it. She giggles at her sisters’ funny faces. She smiles when I enter the room.
As she begins to see, so do I. I notice an oddly shaped shadow, a shifting reflection, flickering colors from outside a window. With each new phase, she’ll see more and more. Little by little, she’ll discover what she can touch, grab, pull, hit, and put into her mouth. Each time she discovers something new, I too, get to see it as new.
I’ve been through it all before, of course. I’ve placed brightly colored toys above little, black crib. I’ve made all sorts of silly faces and obnoxious sounds. I’ve paved pathways for toddlers; frantically collecting spare coins, hair clips, and candy wrappers along their crawl routes. I’ve crouched down- fearing outlets, small earrings, and mysterious crumbs in a way I never dreamed possible. Now, those babies are two little dirty faced explorers who run in and out of the house, stomping mud caked shoes across the kitchen floor.
They, too, see things differently. To the naked eye, they’ve collected sticks, dandelions, dead leaves, and trash. In fact, twigs and garden daisies become wreaths around their hair, necks, and arms. They spend hours talking to fairies in our backyard. Leaving “treasures” for fairies to find. Painted rocks and flowers are jewels. And flower beds shelter a forest of friends (fairies, birds, butterflies, worms, and bees.)
As they go in and out of doors, piles of blankets and toys are tossed along the floor as they busy themselves imagining. A tea party for fairies. A classroom of dolls. I hear their endless high pitched chatter, back and forth. Norah buzzing in and out of rooms (Avery following closely behind), collecting things. For their experiments. For their worlds.
They are capable of seeing at a level most adults could never dream of. Nothing, it seems, gets past them. Nothing goes unnoticed. In fact, there is only one thing that seems invisible to them: me. They change their dolls and themselves countless times a day. They carelessly toss clothes into their hampers. They dump drawers and baskets of toys, dress up clothes, blocks, and books: looking for that perfect toy, that perfect tool. It takes an unbelievable amount of energy and love to keep up with them. To look after them. And they, of course, innocent (and at times obnoxious) don’t recognize at all the amount of work they create in all their tossing, stomping, and playing.
But, as I do the often thankless work of being a Mommy, I become more thankful that this work was done for me. My mom came to visit this week. And just as I walked behind them, gently reminding them to tidy up, to be careful, to take a break for a snack - my mom did the grown up version for me. She quietly washed dishes, she brought home warm cups of coffee, she held the baby so I could sleep in and take a shower. I am grateful for all the “invisible” hands that hold this family up. That hold me up. But this week, I am especially grateful for my mom.