10 Years Old

Version 2

And today I love them 10 times more than when we first met.

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Which I wouldn’t have known I could do, except that I do.

It’s weird how when your kids are born, you don’t understand yet how the way you love them will change.  Not more, or different, just…. Bigger.

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Taking too many pictures is probably some form of mental illness, but I guess it’s just going to be that way.   All these pictures make something continuous out of a life that continually changes.  Jake and Eli are always changing!

There’s something nice about knowing the memories are being kept somewhere more reliable than my own mind.

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One thing worth remembering is all the new places Jake and Eli visited this year.

Zagreb, Croatia

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Bressanone, Italy

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Ljubljana, Slovenia

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Prague

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Sarajevo, Bosnia

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Perast, Montenegro

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Piran, Slovenia

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Lake Bled

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Budapest, Hungary

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Trogir, Croatia

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Czesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

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Budvar, home of the Original Budweiser

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Munich

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Plus a whole lot of Austria in between.

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We went with our families to Schneeberg,

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Scheveningen,

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Den Haag

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Zell Am See,

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The friends and family who came to visit were by far the year’s greatest blessings.

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Even with all the adventures, day to day life with Jake and Eli is what makes having 10-year olds fun.   Castles have become totally boring.  We bribe them into taking these long road trips with Pringles and sour gummy things, and listen to cool music in the car.   These days they’re much more interested in emojis and nerf guns, and they’d rather be building war zones and operating travel agencies in the living room.

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They’ve also entered the world of smelly shoes, video games, and being obsessed with James Bond.  Physical interaction continues to escalate.  I don’t know if it’s a brother thing or a twin thing, but “hugging” at this age is more like “squeezing each other’s heads” and smashing their noses together to see whose nose hurts first.

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I wonder how long love keeps growing?  Because so far, a lifetime of loving someone flies right in the face of physics.  I don’t think it’s ever a waste of energy to love things.

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As a writer with a little bit of compulsiveness, my biggest problem is believing all the details matter so I can’t leave any of them out.  What if I forget that Jake’s desk is neat and ordered, with books stacked square and photos lined up against the wall, while Eli’s desk is a big mess of his treasures mixed up with little bits of paper, eggshells, and candy wrappers?

What if I forget they love soft-boiled eggs, or Almdudler at Happy Hour?

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What if I forget that little kids don’t really like Christmas markets, but in Austria the Christmas markets are fun because there are other things for kids to do?

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What if I forget the little boys who hold my hand in the dark, and make “reservations” at bedtime for Mike and I to cuddle with them?

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What if I don’t put off the laundry often enough to take a few minutes to actually lay down and cuddle?   What if these soft and precious souls grow up without knowing all the peace and joy that their presence brings every day to my life?

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What if by spending too much time writing about all these details, I’m not spending enough time feeling them myself, and am actually doing this motherhood thing all wrong?  I hope they remember enough cupcakes and blueberry pies to forgive me!

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Ten years old is wonderful.  I don’t know how much longer it keeps being this way, but right now it feels like we’re in the dreamy part.  Sometimes I’m frustrated that the minute I sit down to think my own thoughts, I’m summoned.  “Mom, come!  I have to show you something!”

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But then I think, at 10 years old, they still want to share things with their Mom.  I’m still in the magic window and I still matter in their world.

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I wonder if part of why Mike and I like to be parents more these days is because the two of us are growing up too?  And we are getting better at figuring out who we are, and what makes us happy?

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Whatever the reason, it has been a breath of fresh air.  No longer limited by fears of screwing up our kids, we have stepped over to the next stage of the journey.  We are here to help Jake and Eli grow and bloom, not to change the world, but just for the sake of growing and blooming.

And we are enjoying this part, going down the path together.

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