This picture was not taken 7 years ago, but more like 3.
Seven years ago this evening [01/02], I was standing by the bookshelf when my mom called me, and I glanced at the page number of the book in my hands before slipping it back on the shelf to come back to in a few minutes. That didn't happen.
It was a cold day in early December, and Mom was going into labor, which wasn't supposed to happen until the middle of February.
But the next morning, two little persons said hello to the light of day at a hospital in Spokane, and their tiny premature faces with the tubes and wires stuck to them, the skinny legs and the wrinkled toes, began to cheer our lives and mend our hearts. Baby James was given and taken not so long before, and these two new souls in frail pink bodies filled up the emptiness of arms.
Of course, it was a while before we could hold them in our arms, literally. I remember Mom being so happy when she could sit in a rocker in the NICU with them in her arms, albiet still connected to their life-supporting paraphernalia. We made trips in the van, we took turns washing and dressing in yellow hospital gowns, we touched small feet and spoke cooing words and had pictures taken. And six weeks after their rather abrupt arrival, they were released to come home.
These little dudes are going to be 7 tomorrow. They love bacon and sausage and hot dogs, and eggs of all kinds. They like Cars and Toy Story and Narnia, and Planet Earth DVDs. They are as heavy as their big sister, 9 year old Naomi. They have bright blue eyes and buzzed blond hair, and huge toothy smiles. They read short words and write letters to their big sisters away at college and carry the firewood in every day. They ride bicycles and saucer sleds and the miniature horse.
Sometimes it's hard to see them as the same kids who were in those rectangular beds with "Dahlin Baby Boy A" and "Dahlin Baby Boy B" above their heads; the boys who were named Andrew and Peter, for about 5 minutes, then quickly switched to Abel and Seth; the babies who drank such tiny amounts of milk when they first came home,that we had to wake them up to feed them every 1 1/2-2 hours; the jammied babies sleeping in the cradle together; the fat 1-year-olds cruising the living room in their two little walkers.
They are seven. But they also love to ask for a story when I go home, and to sit on my lap and get a back rub. They still ask for the Minotaur story, and for me to read the big book of fairy tales. They still take naps. And they still give spontaneous hugs and ask for piggy back rides. They are our kiddos.