This is who calls me "Mom":
for whom life is an exciting adventure
and no challenge is too big.
Smiling solves nearly every problem
and, despite her shyness with adults,
other kids are just friends she hasn't met yet.
She'll get down in the dirt playing soccer,
then pop up and put on a poofy skirt
to host a tea party
and be equally happy with both.
our delightful weirdo,
simultaneously methodical and off-the-wall.
Planning, building, plotting.
No fear of people,
walking up to complete strangers everywhere we go
and saying, "My name's Dylan",
completely unphased if they respond in a different language.
Then retreating into the world in his head
where he'll play solitarily and happily
emerging again with a smile.
the "me too",
shy and sweet,
but with an edge and a real bossy streak.
She knows what she wants,
and she'll try to charm it out of you,
but if that doesn't work
she's got no qualms about making demands.
She's not a talker,
but she's a communicator,
using her hands and her little body
to get across very clear messages.
She's all girl,
usually in a dress
and pretty shoes,
carrying a purse,
and wearing "jewelry"--
usually some assortment of
hair ties used as bracelets.
The important moms in my life:
This is my mom, Valerie
The older I get, the more convinced I am
that she's a superhero.
Her super powers include
incredible patience with kids
and the ability to be two places at once.
She makes sacrifices to make us a priority,
once driving 18 hours
out of her way
so that she could spend 24 hours with us.
She spoils the kids
and they adore her.
She keeps me connected
to her, my siblings, Montana
and so many of the things I love.
And she usually brings me deer summer sausage.
I lllllloooovvveee summer sausage.
This is my mother-in-law, Katy,
She's my friend,
often my on-call babysitter,
and a fantastic grandma.
She's a baby-monger,
so she understands my baby-mongering.
She's vivacious and outgoing,
people love her.
When she's on,
she's energetic and fun.
Despite being polar opposite personalities
in a lot of ways,
she understands well a lot of things about me
that most people don't.
She has stemmed the homesickness
of living so far from my mom
by truly making me a part of her family.
This is Amanda
(I like this picture, chica, deal with it),
my kids other mom.
She's Keilana's best friend--
mutual lovers of shopping
and musical theater
and all-around girliness.
She is one of the only people,
that Kylie will voluntarily go to.
Dylan connected to her sooner and stronger than to just about anyone besides Doug and I. Last week, something happened at my house that happens on a pretty regular basis. Amanda had stopped by, and Dylan remained in his own little world while we visited, playing with his trains and watching PBS kids. After an hour, completely out of nowhere, he walked up and gave her a great big hug and just snuggled with her for a minute. Dylan doesn't do that. He's affectionate when he feels like it, but he is not the kid that suddenly just wants to hug. He does it consistently with Amanda and only Amanda, and he's always done it with her. Every time I see it, I melt a little bit and remember how grateful I am that she's a part of my children's lives,
and a part of mine.