For nearly two decades, my husband and his childhood friends have been wading through a certain stretch of river where goose-sized brown trout swim. Girlfriends began joining in some time ago. We became wives. And, now, a growing posse of kids knows this magical, cold stretch of dark blue in the Big Hole Valley.
It was cold last weekend. Hard to peel away from the fire’s warmth at night, we’d hold our breath as we slid into our zero degree bags waiting for body heat and down to work its magic. The kids and husband slept great. Me? Not so much. With temps in the mid-20s I kept waking to check on Margot and Ruby, who were toasty warm every single time. Nonetheless, I continued to wake and check à la newborn times.
On the second night, our friends went to town for dinner while our family made burritos by the fire. Our daughters fell asleep on our laps in their puffy coats, pjs and headlamps. We talked, hugged by black and constellations. Andy rose every few minutes with Margot cradled in one strong arm to adjust the burning wood, to encourage the warmth.
Dry timbers catch and burn. Bright and hot, passing fire to surrounding sticks. The irregular cackling like high fives cheering flames rhythmically pumping upward. It slows and slows into glowing, charred remains. Still with life, it doesn’t take much work to rekindle the fire’s productivity — one stir, one more log and it’s ablaze once more. The fire will continue to burn with a little attention, respect, effort and finesse.
I talked with a friend yesterday who, the week before, felt exhilarated that her baby had been sleeping through the night. She was excited for the new phase when another turned up: teething which interrupted coveted sleep. It’s the way with parenting, right? Just when our family jingle is in tune, the chord changes.
Something extinguishes or burns too hot. We rearrange ourselves, finding that sweet spot of comfort. We get in there to shuffle our pile, to turn and move things around. We add fuel and settle in until the next change demands we rise and reconfigure our energy source.
:: SO thankful for the sun’s warmth.
:: Ruby makes nests, Andy fishes.
:: Tank top weather in the afternoons.
:: Lassoing my kids to brush teeth.
:: Wading with Ruby on my back, Andy in front with Margot on his back.
:: The rare snap of Andy and me, enthusiastically taken by Ruby.
:: Morning warm up with my always-early-risin’ girl.
:: Riverside, in current.
:: Catch and release. Ruby’s favorite minutes from the weekend.
We are in a comfortable parenting place right now; our fire well-stoked.
Margot is passionate about reading and math, spending every night sounding-out and adding. She needs to talk a lot about every thing she sees and hears. Last night we sat on the bathroom floor for an hour discussing different kinds of schooling, what it would be like if we could fly by pushing a button, how kangaroos grow babies and why our bodies need protein. Ruby’s daily food intake is double that of every other human in our home. She skips everywhere she goes. She is a sponge to Margot’s reading and math, which knocks me over with amazement every single day. Yesterday, on her own, she wrote the names of our entire family. Both sisters can fill their own water bottles and usually make the choice to talk instead of hit.
I am enjoying this life season, excited for the next iteration of discomfort and subsequent ignition.