I feel like I could stare at this picture for hours...
Experience has shown me that someday soon I'll come back across this picture and hardly believe how small the children are. But today, in this moment, those faces are so real and so current and this picture is so beautifully representative of my every single day. I know these kids. I know the details in their faces, the tones of their voices, the ways in which they phrase their words and sentences... I know the ways they think, the strengths that make them proud, the weaknesses on which they're currently working...
It kills me that many of the memories covering the details behind this photo are too elusive to be captured through photo or word and will therefore remain subject to the fading of time. But even so, the promise of that future fading cannot take away the vibrancy that is here in my today.
And I drank deeply from that vibrancy on the day I watched my older kids meet and hold their newest little sister.
McKenzie was just as tender as I expected her to be. She wrapped that baby up in her arms and held her with a gentle confidence that brought tears to my eyes.
She was quiet and calm and amazed by all of the baby's tiniest features.
One of my greatest hopes is to see the beautiful bond of sisterhood between these two. I already know that McKenzie will be a fierce protector, a confident leader, and an incredible example for Eliza. McKenzie is a strong and loving friend to have in your corner.
Carson by nature is gentle and kind. He quietly absorbed the warmth and peace and joy that came from Eliza and his face was full of tenderness during the entire visit.
I absolutely love the way Eliza is looking up at him in this next photo.
He will be a great strength to her as she grows. I just know he will keep her laughing with his witty sense of humor and keep her filled with love from his kindness.
While everyone else was happy exploring the hospital room, playing with latex gloves, and listening to Daddy tell the story of Eliza's birth, it was Carson that felt pulled to stay with and hold and rock Eliza. He is so strong in his goodness, and there are so many amazing personality traits that stem from that and make him an incredible example for Eliza to look up to.
Now Miles, I wasn't sure how he would react... my unsure feelings probably stemmed from the shockingly negative reaction he had had four years earlier with the arrival of Timothy. I was pretty sure that he'd be excited and happy this time around, but I was unprepared for just how excited and happy he actually was.
He was absolutely delighted! He came skipping into the hospital room and spent the entire visit with that giant, infectious smile of his glowing on his face. He bounced all of his steps and responded gleefully to every little squeak and grunt and squirm that came from Eliza's little body.
He didn't mind when Eliza started to fuss and found even her cry to be adorable and joyful. Miles brightened the entire hospital room with his happiness. And how lucky for Eliza to have that in her life! When Miles is happy he has a way of spreading that happiness all around him like confetti.
And I love that he is able to find great joy in simple things. These purple latex gloves took the excitement and happiness to a whole new level. Miles adds so much to our family! and I'm so excited that Eliza has his example to teach her.
Timothy was absolutely precious to watch. I love the anticipation in his face above as Daddy started bringing Eliza close to him for the first time.
My favorite thing about Timothy was watching his hands. He kept all four of his fingers on each hand stuck together in a single unit, as if he couldn't trust himself to pay them enough attention individually for fear he might poke or scratch or otherwise harm the baby if one of them went rogue.
It's not every day we get to see such a calm side of Timothy. He has been full of life lately - opinionated and strong - but he tucked all of that away for the hours he sat with Eliza. He felt charged with his new responsibility of Big Brother, and he did not take the title lightly.
He sat quiet and still and humbly listened to every small instruction Daddy was giving him on How to Hold a Baby.
I love it when his Sweet Eyes come out.
After his turn was over, he still hovered around and hugged anyone else who happened to be holding Eliza.
And shushed her sweetly any time she started to fuss. Timothy has an umbrella of love over his head and if you're lucky enough to stand under it with him you will feel the magic of his little spirit. Lucky Eliza to live in the same house as Timothy.
As the oldest of four kids, I have often wondered what it would be like to have older siblings to look up to. A sister or a brother who was always one step ahead of me who I could turn to for advice and guidance... it sounds dreamy. Thankfully I've had friends put in my path who fill that role for me, but I'm so happy for Eliza to have that built in to her life from her very first day of life. Her siblings are such wonderful people and I have no doubt they will be there, watching her back and loving her, every step of the way.