the one about these days

This one is for us.

It's for us to read and read again whenever we forget.

It's our reminder to take everything one baby step at a time.

The other night, I looked at you before we fell asleep and asked if we could stay young forever. We both sighed and agreed that years down the road, we will look back and believe these were the best years of our lives.

Everyone says that, but I am really starting to feel it in my gut. In my heart.

These are the best days. The ones where we trip over at least 3 pairs of pink and purple sparkly shoes when we walk in the door. The ones where we fill our grocery carts with oodles of granola bars and fruit snacks and unsweetened applesauce. The ones where, if you looked close enough, you'd surely find a diaper on the floor, under a bed, behind a couch, in a perfect just-changed ball, still needing thrown away.

These are the very best days. The ones where bedtime started as snuggles and stories and ended with tears and bribes and "not that blanket!" or "I want milk!" or "just one more book, Papa." The ones where combing the knots out of their hair after bath time is a 30 minute process and PJs aren't donned until the 5th time we ask. The ones where we flop on the couch in a heap of exhaustion, ready to go to bed at 8:30 because we know that 6 a.m. 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. will come too soon.

Chaos and crazy and, my God, the crumbs…everywhere, on everything. We've got fingerprints on the TV and the windows and mirrors. There are piles of laundry needing washed and more piles of laundry needing put away. We could open a toy store with what we find under our couches alone.

But these are the best days, and even especially when it's hard, we must remember this. Sure, they will always be "our babies," but they won't always be our babies. There won't always be Doc McStuffins Band Aids on the legs of our dining room table or ponytail holders camouflaged into the carpet or washable marker on just about everything. Eventually, this place will look more like a house and less like a daycare and it will all be ours again.

We will be ours again, too.

Which is why I want you to know each and every day that I love you.

Sometimes, "I love you" sounds more like "Babe, you have a booger on your pants."

or "That shirt smells like baby shit, Sweetie."

But in all the ways, I love you.

At the risk of sounding like a maniacal creeper, I want you to know that I watch you. When you think no one is looking, I see you.

I see you in the playroom with the girls, tiara on your head and bracelet on your wrist.

I see you weaving impressive braids into our oldest's hair. You're (scary) good at it.

I see you spinning and tossing and twirling the girls, one right after the other, over and over again, because it makes them squeal with joy. And almost puke. But mostly, squeal with joy.

I see you selecting Disney on Pandora while you make them eggs for breakfast and singing along, unashamed, to almost every song.

I see you holding and swaddling and shushing the baby so that I can get some rest.

I see you.

And in all the ways, I love you.

These days…the ones of coffee at 6 a.m. and coffee at 10 p.m.. The ones of midnight shuffling to the kitchen to fill a sippy with milk. The ones of finger prints on the walls and stickers on the furniture and crayon on anything but a coloring book. The ones of staying awake a few minutes longer, though desperate to close our eyes, just to watch them sleep.

These are the very best days.

I've always known, but now I believe.



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