One early morning last week, I ended up with all four kids in my bed. In general, our children have been good sleepers (once they turned one or so), and sleep in their own beds through the night. But sometimes, they sneak into our room in the middle of the night. Especially one or the other of the twins. I have a soft spot for this behavior. I know they won't be little forever, so I have been known to let our little nighttime visitors snuggle up and stay awhile. It's usually only one at a time. Then, as each of the other children start to awaken, they all come in and jostle for their favorite cuddling spot.
On this particular morning, I woke up with both girls in my bed. They were also wearing matching pajamas, and were snuggled up symmetrically head to toe. I just took them in for a moment - sometimes it still hits me - two identical babies, when at the very beginning there was only one. Then, moments later, Evan came in, still bleary-eyed from his dreamy slumber. Finally, Seth joined his siblings. He's still young enough to want to be part of the cozy morning ritual.
I thought this was all incredibly sweet.
Last year, I wrote about choosing One Little Word as a guiding theme for 2016, following a tradition started by popular blogger and memory-keeper Ali Edwards. My word last year was "continue." Continue nurturing my family, practicing self-care, fostering my friendships. It's no secret that I have struggled with anxiety (like so many others have), but I've come such a long way, and I've continued to use my strategies to thrive and blossom.
This year, the phrase "sweet spot" has been drifting through my mind frequently. I've heard people use this term to refer to the general age my children are in - all out of diapers, but none having entered the tween stages yet. And it feels sweet. Not that all the stages before and the stages to come aren't also sweet, but 2017 feels particularly vibrant.
So my One Little Word for 2017 is "sweeten." I want to focus on enjoying life for what it is. I want to savor those delicious pre-school kisses, caress that silky-soft kindergarten cheek, hold that almost nine-year-old hand. I want to add magic touches to the day-to-day, and celebrate the little victories. I've continued to appreciate our family and my life, and now I want to sweeten it even more.
I will turn 39 on Saturday. I'm about to embark on the beginning of my 40th year. In discussing my birthday with one of my rabbis on Sunday, he pointed out that I am also embarking on my quest for wisdom. In Jewish teachings, there is a belief that one achieves wisdom at age 40. 40 is a significant number in many biblical stories. This was an interesting concept to me. What wisdom have I acquired? What wisdom still eludes me? I'm not sure. I'd like to think I've acquired more practical knowledge than I once had now that I am a mom of four (my friends used to tease me for having lots of book knowledge, but a lack of common sense). However, I'm sure there's lots of overarching truths and life lessons that I've still yet to master. I know one thing - I'm going to be paying attention this year. I'll let you know how it turns out.