Juno has the emotional range of an 88-key grand piano. It is large and it is loud except when it is meek, and squeaky. Her emotions strike chords, beautiful ones that you didn’t know existed. Her ‘happy’ is loud and bouncy, staccato and ebullient. She babbles around middle C most of the day, before going full Beethoven when you take away her yogurt (which, yes, it’s crusting her hair into dreadlocks, it’s under her fingernails, it’s clinging to her face for dear life no matter how many passes you do with a baby wipe) too soon.

And since that metaphor is played out, but I’m not done with Juno, I’ll start a new paragraph. She throws her weight behind a cuddle in ways that redefine the purpose of a rocking chair. She will request and surrender to the snuggle with the depth of her soul. She, like mama, finds joy in communion with a stuffed animal.

Hudson, too, is a snuggler—a bear hug, wrap your arms around you, leap into your arms sort of snuggler, who wants more than anything to whisper in your ear, “What Pokemon are you today?” He has learned how to use emotions to get results. It’s less earnest, but twice as vulnerable as Juno’s when his emotions are raw. He insists that he’s a big kid, and asks you to feel his muscles, but still cries when he spills chocolate milk on his favorite shirt. How can I communicate how dear it is to hold a vulnerable Hudson in your arms? He’s listening, listening, listening, and testing, testing, testing everything he’s learning. He wants to demonstrate. He wants to grow. He wants to be told that everything will be ok.

Hudson once said, “Mom! Dad! Look at me! Look at me for a long time. No! Look at me forever!” And it’s true that seems to be his general desire. To be witnessed, seen as deeply as we snuggle Juno.

It’s milestone city over here as Juno has recently learned to walk and Hudson has recently started public school. Hudson’s greatest joy is swinging on his tummy at recess. Juno’s greatest joy is climbing the stairs in happy anticipation of a bath with “buh-buls”. And Mom’s greatest joy is this magical few weeks we’ve had where both kids are unfolding themselves bit by bit, and the world seems to be saying back to them, “Thank you. Thank you, Hudson and Juno, for you.”

I spend too much of their childhood agonizing about their quirks and their delays and their meltdowns at the Butterfly Pavilion. But in weeks like these I’m reminded to stop, look, ‘look forever!’ Because they’re in a glorious state of becoming, and oh goodness, what joy I would miss if I ever looked away.

  1. Aug 31, 2023

    Misty eyes and tender my heart. Love to you dear Penrod’s

  2. Aug 31, 2023

    “Look forever” might just be the best parenting advice I’ve ever heard. What an honor it is to witness our children. Beautifully captured vignette ❤️