"This is SO. MUCH. FUNNNNN!" my twins scream as the waves chase them to the shore. Back and forth they run, giggling as the water tickles their feet. Adeline's braids are wet and Maralee's hair curls even more around her face. Both of their eyes are shining with mischievous glee. I watch them and their innocent joy makes me smile too.
Today, the twins are five.
Maralee & Adeline
It's crazy, right? The days of infancy, toddler-hood, and preschool are all behind us. Soon, they will graduate from 4P and start kindergarten. Their My Little Pony themed "slumber" party is tomorrow night and NO BOYS ARE ALLOWED (except for Daddy, of course).
This birthday is different, not just because it takes up one whole hand when counting. Yeah, it's a milestone birthday but what makes it different is knowing that their lives are continuing to change. Growing up makes every year unique. Change happens, whether we are ready for it or not. "It makes me a little nervous," as Maralee likes to say.
But, I guess that's why we have faith, right?
Because we go through change, we cling to verses like Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."
Five years ago, April 30th was supposed to be just another ordinary day. My mom and I were going to go shopping. My dad was supposed to be in meetings all day. Raleigh was heading to Tennessee to go white water rafting with his buddies. I was supposed to be nesting, preparing for the twins to come three months later.
But, then life changed.
Adeline and Maralee have taught me to have faith, to be sure of what I hope for and certain of what I do not see. These girls have forever changed me and I don't think I can ever go back to how life was before them.
I never know what to expect with them each day. I fix them Lucky Charms and they want chocolate toast. Some mornings, Adeline will say yes ma'am and will let me dress her the first time I ask. But the next day, she's changed to a temperamental four year old. Maralee is the same, yet different. She's the sneaky aggressive type, "accidentally" stealing her sister's stuffed animal when we've left the room. But, then she's the sweetest, telling me how I smell like weddings and sunshine. Each day brings its own challenges and rewards.
As they grow, I'm growing with them.
I'm learning when they need space and when they need security. On the afternoons at home, I watch them play school on the blue picnic benches out back. Their world is full of imagination and play and art and learning. Then, they burst through the door, begging to be pushed on the swing or inviting me to their tea party in our secret garden. It's lovely, this age of both independence and innocence.
I'm trying to let these days linger a bit longer, like the sun as it gently slopes behind the train tracks on these late spring evenings. It's true what they say (whoever they really are, I'll never know), "The days are long but the years are short." Just last year, the girls were running through their new house claiming beds in their shared room. I don't know what's coming next in their lives but I do know I want to enjoy them today.
Summer is coming and our days will soon fall into a new routine. But before we end this school year, the girls will say the lines that they've been practicing in their school program. They are going to tell one of their best friends goodbye as she moves this week.
As I walk through these changes with my girls, I can't help but wonder if change goes through us or do we go through change?
Being a mom is crazy wonderful. It changes girls into women and suddenly these little people are placed into our arms because we were created to love them. We might not always understand them but we do the best we can to love them. They catch us by surprise, make us laugh when we want to cry, and we can't help but return their smiles. Children are a gift from God.
Change will continue to happen, there is no staying the same.
So today as I watch Adeline and Maralee blow out five candles on their birthday cake, I'll make the promise to keep changing and growing and learning and loving with them.
Because these girls are mine, and that will never change.
Happy Birthday Adeline and Maralee. May the Lord bless you and keep you always sweet girls.
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Till next time, let your light shine!