I look at them and see the jagged parts. They come together like a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle. For a while you think it's your job to put them together, to bring the edge of one jagged color to another, but just when you think you have it figured out they pluck the pieces from your hands and reorganize all your hard work. The independence comes in bursts at first. So quick and sharp you don't always recognize it for what it is. But before long you realize this tiny person - an extension of yourself - has taken on a mind of it's own...
He was born so small that when I touched him I shuddered at his vulnerability. How do I handle him without breaking him? I used to wonder. And then I blinked and suddenly he transformed into this boy who resembles pieces of the man he'll become. Bones and muscles and brains locked together in one beautiful form so spell binding that sometimes I have to remind myself he grew inside me once. A hundred good natured relatives and friends tell me he looks like me. They are right. He has my face - my chipmunk cheeks, my full lips, my chin - but there are subtle differences. His eyes are more almond shaped - like his fathers - and they are green. He has one dimple that breaks the continuity of that gorgeous face, drawing your attention to his stunning smile, a smile which will win over the hearts of a thousand girls. But as much as he resembles me physically that is where the similarities end. I imagine he is more his father's creation than mine. His quiet observations mostly go unnoticed by me. But then he unfolds himself and forces my eye contact, and states something so perfectly true that I am reminded that he is his father's son. I always do a double take when he catches me off guard like this. This gift is an off shoot of his empathetic nature. But as in any gift there can be a dark side. His pure and perfect empathy allows too many hurts to be felt. He has a tendency to take things too personally. Tears often stain his face just as often from the hurts he himself endures as from the hurts others feel. His greatest challenge will be to learn that he can't save everyone nor should he try. Right now though, he is unmarred and untouched by the true cruelties that this world can create. It won't always remain this way, but for now it is beautiful to witness.
She was always a challenge. She has fought me every step of the way since the minute she was born. Already - at barely two - she fights for the freedoms she has not yet earned. In this respect she and I are the same. She has yet to learn that she can't forever stand at the edge of a precipice reaching for a goal that is still out of reach. She will tire and fall before it's ever in her grasp; but true to form - her stubborn streak inherited from me; her dare devil ways unique onto itself -will only see her climb that cliff again and again and again until she's grasped what she's aiming for. And only after failing more times then she succeeds will she learn that not everything is worth breaking yourself over. Not everything is worth the blood you spilled in reaching it. She will have to temper her need to acquire everything she wants, lest she be left with nothing she needs. But this being said she has one asset I didn't. She has a big, boisterous personality that will ensure someones hands will reach down and pull her up time and time again. She has a smile that would crack even the hardest facade and big, beautiful, blue eyes that will draw anyone in. She will not need to demand trust, you will just give it to her, and she will not let you down - not on purpose. Taken in pieces she seems scattered, but when seen as a whole she creates such a perfect, little girl that there are moments when she literally takes my breath away. She will be a dynamic woman - she will believe she can have it all- and if there is one person who could attain perfect balance it would be her.
I can't wait to see who Preston will become, what kind of personality he will have. It's hard as a parent to be patient, to settle back on your heals and let them do the work of self discovery, but it's worth the wait - as any good thing is. All of us are a work in progress - a thousand piece jigsaw puzzle that will never truly be finished. But there are pieces of yourself that will always fit just right - pieces that will never need to be shifted or changed in any way - the foundation of who you are - pieces of soul that can never be lost or diminished. No one can tell you what those pieces are and sometimes you won't recognize them yourself, but that's the fun in doing the puzzle - the mystery of what lies within- the picture that is hidden in the pieces.