I am stretched and tired and fearful.
I am wild and brave and broken.
My closet has a sense of humor and clothes in every size.

I’ve worn these hips three times around the labor and delivery dance and they are not ashamed. I speak three languages and that doesn’t include my ability to translate my middle son’s moods.

I have danced circles into the midnight carpet on two continents.

I have rocked restless babes, cut baby curls, snipped fingernails and served a thousand thousand bowls of Cheerios.

I can build a blanket fort, pry splinters out of fingers, and sharp words out of young hearts.

I have lost it, yelled it, fought it, cried it and apologized it all before 9am.

I have fingerpainted, caffeinated, and run out of explanations for a line of why questions that stretches around the living room, out the front door and around the block.

I have tripped on Legos, stepped on scooters, slept on bottom bunks, and strung yards of white, twinkling lights above the heads of two blonde brothers afraid of the dark and their bad dreams.

I have been woken up, shaken up, thrown up, loved up, and shut up. I have never quite, completely, ever given up.

Love sleeps in my bed. Curiosity eats at my table. Delight runs laps around my back yard. Exhaustion is a faithful friend. But so is grace.

If I started tonight and counted backwards all the gifts of the past seven and a half years of two boys and this still-smells-new baby girl I would still be counting when their grandchildren were standing tippy toes with noses pressed against these smudged windows.

So I count dimples instead.

And piles of stray socks and jeans with knees missing and shoes that only fit for a few months and hair cuts and loose teeth and how many times I look at them and say with the disbelief of the proud, “I can’t believe how much you’ve grown!”

I am overwhelmed, infatuated, love struck and completely unhinged. Especially on the nights they bring in wild flowers and all the ever-loving mud in the world.

I am full and fulfilled.
I am older and comfortable in my skin.
I am about the work of raising tiny humans.
I am out of my mind and in my calling and desperate for five minutes alone and a lifetime together.

I see cherry blossom fireworks when two brothers enter school and friendship and new worlds together. Right there, just an outdoor, black top, basketball court away from me.

I want to stop time, tame my fears, bottle their dreams, live a hundred summers of dripping, sticky, caramel ice cream. And in between I hang onto my faith, my temper, and my sense of humor with my fingernails.

These are the good days, the glory days, the slow-as-molasses days. These are the fast years, the wonder years, the how-do-I-find-words years.

But we do. They usually start with “help” and end with “thank you” and the middle?

The middle is a thick layer of one syllable wonder sometimes whispered, often shouted, always answered.

The middle is me. The middle is you. The middle is just, “mom.”