I am stretched and tired and fearful.
I am wild and brave and broken.
But this one life is on purpose, and it's not by accident where I woke up this morning.
While my closet has a sense of humor and clothes in every size, my story is richer and fuller for it.
I've worn these hips three times around the labor and delivery dance, and they are not ashamed.
I have lost it, yelled it, fought it, cried it and apologized it all before 9 a.m.
I have finger painted, caffeinated and run out of explanations for a line of "why" questions that stretches around the living room, out the front door and around the block.
I have tripped on LEGOs, stepped on scooters, slept on bottom bunks and strung yards of white, twinkling lights to ward off the dark and their bad dreams.
I have been woken up, shaken up, thrown up, loved up and shut up. I have never quite, completely, ever given up.
Love sleeps in my bed. Curiosity eats at my table. Delight runs laps around my backyard. Exhaustion is a faithful friend. But so is grace.
If I started tonight and counted backwards all the gifts of this wild and furious season I would still be counting when the grandchildren were standing on tippy-toes with noses pressed against these same smudged windows.
So I count dimples instead.
And piles of stray socks and jeans with knees missing and shoes that only fit for a few months and haircuts and loose teeth and how many times I look at them and say with the disbelief of the proud, "I can't believe how much you've grown!"
I am overwhelmed, infatuated, lovestruck and completely unhinged. Especially on the nights they bring in wild flowers and all the ever-loving mud in the world.
I am full and fulfilled.
I am older and comfortable in my skin.
I am about the work of raising tiny humans.
I am out of my mind and in my calling and desperate for five minutes alone and a lifetime together.
I want to stop time, tame my fears, bottle their dreams, live a hundred summers of dripping, sticky, chocolate swirl ice cream. And in between I hang onto my faith, my temper and my sense of humor with my fingernails.
These are the good days, the glory days, the slow-as-molasses days. These are the fast years, the wonder years, the how-do-I-find-words years.
But we do. They usually start with "help" and end with "thank you" and the middle?
The middle is a thick layer of reliable wonder sometimes whispered, often shouted, always answered.
The middle is me. The middle is you. The middle is just this one, sacred, take-off-your-shoes-worthy syllable,
Lisa-Jo's first book, Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected About Being a Mom, comes out on April Fools' day. Because, of course.