Dear Grace and Whit,
I want to remember right now, February of 2012, this season when we see our breath in the air in the morning but still await snow whose coming seems, every day, more and more unlikely. There is so much I hope you’ll remember. The red velvet brownies I made served you for breakfast. Your eyes were wide, incredulous at the fortuitous treat you woke up to. The chicken noodle soup I made from scratch several weekends in a row, that you devoured. The golden, maple-syrupy light on the trees outside our house when we got into the car each morning to go to school. The Adele songs you both know by heart, the way we all sing along to them when they’re on the radio. The day we drove with Allison, your beloved cousin, to see Pops, your great-grandfather. You swam in the pool at his retirement community and then we all had lunch, with Pops and his friend Helen. You marveled at the notion of ordering from a menu every single day, and you smiled at each of Pops’ friends that he proudly introduced you to.
The weekend in New Hampshire, skiing with our dearest friends, the way you gamely rolled out sleeping bags and slept on our floor. Skiing first thing in the morning, barreling down Turkey Trot, each of you flying over that run’s groomed jumps. On Saturday morning, being the first people to ski down and then, from the lift, admiring our tracks in the fresh powder. On Sunday morning, we got a call that you didn’t feel well, Grace, and then you fell asleep lying on my lap in the very crowded, noisy lodge. I could have watched the shadows of your eyelashes on your sleeping cheeks all day long. The way the four of us got laughing, uproariously, on the way home.
The crayon hearts we made together, and the Harry Potter sweet shop chocolate frogs too. The way each of you, without prompting, said to me during this month, “Mummy! Look at the light of this hour.” And we did, almost every day, with outright wonder. Our kitchen, full of homemade Valentine decorations; construction paper hearts all over the walls and pink and red garlands hanging between the cabinets. Grace’s touch-typing homework, Whit’s introduction to Harry Potter, and red and white heart-shaped ravioli.
There are some things I hope you’ll forget, too. The morning I snapped at you, raising my voice, outright hollering as we sat at a gas station before school. “Guys!” I shouted, and you both turned to look at me, silenced and startled. I am sorry when I lose my temper. There’s very little that sets me off like your bickering. I call you the Bickersons and some days, when I have fortitude, patience, I am able to roll my eyes at the arguing. But some days my fuse is short and I yell. I’m sorry.
I love you, I love you, I love you. This love is manifest in the tiniest details of every single day, even when I’m grouchy, even on the grayest days. The grout between the tiles of life, I once called these small moments, and that’s what they are. But it’s the grout that holds everything together, isn’t it?
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