A time where someday we will look back in awe and captivation at how interesting and simpler it will seem through glasses smudged like the camera at the dmv where our teenagers will receive their first driver's licenses.
The Eleventeen Period is full of movement, and voices too loud, and belief in magic. It will be remembered fiercely for its lack of personal space and the inability to arrive anywhere at the time expected.
It is a period where time itself is suspended.
- Getting older is circular; you can grow bigger and smaller. Mommy, when you grow little and I'm big, I'll let you play with my babies. (Gemma Rose)
- The idea of forever or 'your whole life long' is unfathomable. But how many years will we need to have bedtime? Forever. For your whole life you'll go to sleep at night. No, Mumma, are you telling a lie? (Greyson Rudy in a conversation with Mum)
- Distinction between kid and adult exists but no distinction within. When will you get a baby in your belly, Abba? (Greyson Rudy to his grandmother)
It is a period where everyone has the potential to be or do anything as well as the next person.
- There are no limitations of fear or embarrassment. Do you think your Uncle Jonny can sing? Mum, everyone can sing. (Greyson Rudy in a conversation with Mum)
- There are no connections to or concerns about societal expectations. Daddy, you look beautiful like a princess girl. You need some more lipstick though. (Gemma Rose while giving her Dad a makeover)
- Where beauty truly lies in the eye of the beholder. Mumma! You look so beautiful, i love this dress! (Gemma Rose when she sees her Mum in a floral robe)
It is a period where there is no place more safe, no people more fun and important than inside our home and with our family.
- There is almost no limit on the vast amount of arbitrary thoughts that absolutely need recounted to loved ones. Mum, I was looking at that football in the yard and then thinking maybe if someone loved football so much they could stack up footballs and more footballs all the way up to build a football house. Wouldn't that be cool? (Greyson Rudy to Mum while he stared thoughtfully out the window)
- That being away from one another is cause for concern and a need for reassurance. Will you come back? Will Bullet come back too? I'll be so worried. (Gemma Rose when Mum was taking Bullet to the vet)
- That words and acts of affection are given freely and without restraint. Dad, I love you so much! (Greyson Rudy to his Dad every day without provocation). You the best Mummie ever! (Gemma Rose after receiving a hershey kiss from her Mum after lunch)
The Eleventeen Period will last for what will feel like eons. Forever we will feel stuck in the days of Eleventeen - wishing for just minutes of time that would allow us a shower, or meals that don't include a defcon five clean-up duty afterwards.
And then one day, our children will count straight to twenty without any mention of eleventeen
...and it will be over.
What happened to eleventeen? we'll ask each other with frantic eyes. How could eleventeen have slipped out the backdoor without either of us noticing; leaving to never ever return to us. Did eleventeen enjoy her stay? Did we do a good job of appreciating and acknowledging her before she vanished before our eyes?
Like most time periods, Eleventeen glistens in gold when you look back on her. It's the living through her with your head down and heels dug in while you nearly collapse under the weight of the 'did they eat enough real food today? Will we ever be on time for an appointment? How many days in a row has he worn those dirty clothes? when you lose sight of Eleventeen's beauty.
It's easier to look back and be grateful than it is to look around and notice the beauty hiding under the legos that were left on the floor or the magic in that moment as a reluctant child finally closes their eyes to sleep while you rub circles on their back.
Please, please, please help me see the beauty and magic in the endless questions and the endlessly sticky hands. Help me recognize the greater need of 'hold you' for a few seconds longer than the need to unload the dishwasher before the dishes pile up in the sink.
Even though I complain and sigh about you so often, I do love you so much Eleventeen. Please don't go soon. You are welcome here for as long as you wish to stay.
I appreciate you,