This morning as we ate crepes there was much drawing going on around the table. Robots, cats, and flaming arrows (which I innocently thought were flowers). Elijah asked Elsie how to spell her name. She began to clearly spell it out for him in a teacher-like voice. Then she proceeded to tell him, “Elijah, you didn’t do it correct. Here, let me do it for you.” He is the type to be able to chuckle to himself at her bossiness, and we exchanged smiles about it.
This weekend there was a father-daughter dance at church. The girls were decked out in their “wedding dresses” (dresses they wore to Matt’s brother’s wedding) all afternoon. Yes, Elsie wore a yellow head-band. One would never know the drama that went on with that decision. When they came home that night Elsie told me that, “I was only dancing with my feet one time.” The rest of the time Daddy held her while they danced. We both realize this will not always be so, so we treasure the small beautiful girl with the high-pitched voice that we sometimes just want to be quiet. Even though some days the tears seem to come in the quantity to fill a small ocean, we love our precious Elsie Rose who knows how to spell her name and loves everything pink. And purple.
Then we have our oldest, who didn’t need to be held to meet Daddy’s eyes while they danced. Her beauty is swiftly unfolding, and it’s frightening and exciting all at once to see her growing up. When we were driving to church the other day she dramatically yelled from the back seat, “Don’t open the windows! My earrings are dangly!” Elijah agreed that they just might fly out. It was pretty funny.
While the two oldest girls were away, the boys, Betty, and I stayed home. At the moment I was taking this picture, I was not exactly happy with the mess going on here. They made strawberry-watermelon juice with every kitchen tool imaginable and I was stepping on sticky juice all night. Matt left me with a smile that said, “Enjoy them, they’re just being boys.” After this picture, they hopped in the tub, Betty went to bed, and I made pizza. Then I introduced the boys to one of my favorite shows as a kid: Knight Rider, and we ate homemade pizza and oohed and aaahed over the coolness of Kit, and there was nothing girly until the purple clad girls came home donning balloons and memories of dancing with Daddy.
Our house is full of the mixture of flowers and flounce, camo and guns. Gaudy necklaces and hair ties that don’t match, bicycles that make loud noises and robot drawings. Pretty tea parties and scary bike ramps. Perfume and stinky feet. Hello Kitty bandaids covering a scratch and bruised and bloody knees that deflect the stick of a bandaid. Once in awhile these two worlds collide, and I catch moments of gentle love between them. True gentlemen can put aside their macho muscles to gently hug their sisters and tell them how pretty they look. Strong women can hang on to their femininity while scaling daunting heights and playing in the mud. When boys and girls live together there are clashes, yes, but there is also a perfect blending of beauty and brawn, sweet and salty, tenderness and toughness. Sometimes I don’t always appreciate their differences and honestly I sometimes define different as wrong. Don’t we all? But having five little personalities surrounding me every day all day long, I realize and must embrace their differences and not try to compare them with others or change them. They each fill a void that would otherwise be in this world, and together they are the perfect blend.