Jun 16, 2016

Yellow Fireflies & Green Corn

"those moments, so
many and so long ago, still come back, but briefly, like fireflies
in the perfumed heat of summer night." 

June is supposed to be a month when time slows. We sit on long front porches with glasses of sweet tea, talking a little more slowly, our posture a little more relaxed, with less to do and less to think. That's how it should be, in my mind. But instead, June has been a series of busy moments, of loud, brief thunderstorms, blinding sunlight, and humid nights beginning to glow with the gentle luminescence of fireflies looking wistfully at the stars.

So much has happened since I last wrote- none of it very important but to our little family. Still, there are milestones, memories, birthdays, and long stretches of time apart that compel me to stretch out on my bed and type for a while.

First, we recently wrapped up our beginning year of homeschooling, and more importantly, Millie's kindergarten year. It's strange to think that she was a newborn in my arms nearly six years ago, that those years have gone by like days, and that she will begin first grade in the fall. We spent a lot of time on reading, of course, and there is nothing that compares to witnessing that process. I watched her bloom into reading sentences after sounding out three letter words over and over again. Perhaps most amazing was seeing her handwriting that I've helped form, leaning with her over the lines and the curves until she's confident enough, after a few misspellings, to write "I love you Mommy" on a construction paper card, with magazine scraps cut out and glued to it. She also attended a homeschooling co-op, and it was wonderful to make friends who are learning the same way.

Walter, who still feels like my baby, will be three this month. The last two days, I've sold a dresser and rocking chair to make space in his room for a twin bed. They were both pieces- probably the only ones left- that we used when each baby came home from the hospital. I had a little cry after they were gone. Sky and I haven't completely shut the door to the notion of having one more child, but it's slowly creaking to a close and days like today remind me of that. I was never one to imagine my children, or to dream about how many I would have someday. But when I quickly learned just how fast they grow, my heart doesn't want to forget what it's like with a newborn on my chest, soft and warm and impossibly perfect. Thank goodness Walter still loves to snuggle with me.

{photos by Kristin of k darling photography}
Sky has been away all month, completing more training for his Army career. It's always interesting to see how the time apart will be, because every time he leaves means leaving kids of different ages than what they were the time before. I never exactly know what to expect, and this time was no exception. Millie, Walter, and I were really down when he first left. It's kind of a helpless, lost feeling. Thankfully, we planned swim lessons for Millie during two of the weeks he'd be gone, and that has helped us stay busy and entertained. She finished them up today, triumphant and elated that she can swim underwater now. Walter and I splashed in the baby pool, I got a slight tan and then a less-than-slight sunburn, and we were happy and thankful for the fresh air, albeit in 90 degrees.

The biggest differences with this time away are the quiet nights and subdued moments of the day, when I pause for a breath and remember my husband isn't here. So many times, earlier in our marriage, I would wonder if the only thing keeping us together was the forced time away from each other. But in the early morning hours after he drove to the airport, the tears rolled down my cheeks, and all I could do was whisper, "Thank you, God." I know that my heart needs his, and that is a gift and a miracle. The three of us here are so proud of him, and we're ready for him to come home.

The photos here were shot by someone who has not only been taking pictures for our family since Walter was in my belly, but by someone who has become a friend, too. She's been on much of the journey with us, and though we have had lots of beautiful pictures of the kids as they've grown, I couldn't help but stare at the one of our whole family that she took a couple days before Sky had to go. I love where we are now, and the hope of where we'll be. How blessed we are to be together.

So perhaps June hasn't been lazy and calm the way it is in stories. For us, it's been a time of growth, of beating sun and the smell of chlorine, of long distance phone calls and 'goodnight's from far away, and a time with two little people who seem to be a bit bigger and older every second. It's bittersweet, and it is filled with the broken and beautiful moments that string one day onto the next. The cornfields are so green and climbing high, and if the corn is good, it must be a good summer in Illinois.
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