The yellow leaves practically glow outside the large picture window on the side of our house.
The girls’ new teepee sits strategically in a corner that isn’t particularly used; it’s where they go anyways during the day. I think they go there because the light from this window is so magnificent.
Each morning through it I can see the black of when my baby wakes me up so early, turning into something more grey. Later, like this evening with the new teepee, I see how the brilliant yellow of autumn leaves is lit up from underneath by the setting sun on the green grass that catches its falling golden petals.
My girls play together inside of their new space. I don’t think this former sentence conveys the adorable nature of this “play.”
The baby turned one just two days ago and my oldest is five. In other words, especially as an identical twin, I had no practical intention that they might play, except for in a few years and then, hopefully, again as adults.
Instead, they play peek-a-boo through the teepee’s chevron pink-and-white-patterned window. They unfold their constantly active, tiny girl bodies onto fluffy, brightly colored pillows inside of this fresh-made fortress.
The neon pink and the wooden sticks joined together at the top reflect back to me through the window. I hear one-year-old squeals of laughter and five-year-old, big-sister patience that she didn’t learn from me.
This moment in our lives is so simple.
This space in between celebrating a first birthday only two days ago and the girls first wedding last night—and Monday morning—is made unexpectedly majestic by this addition of a canvas triangle into our tiny family.
My favorite toy as a kid was a teepee from my aunt and uncle.
I can still see the small, black ants running up and down the huge tree trunk that shaded my twin sister and me, when we put it up outside during summer. Then, as weather in Ohio grew cold, the teepee was moved indoors and onto our roughly carpeted playroom. To this day I think this might have been my favorite childhood toy.
Obviously, I’m feeling nostalgic. I celebrated a first birthday and a wedding—a dawning of a family as I explained to my daughter—and I feel in kind of a new moon space in my own. More than this, the silent growing of two children is made too obvious upon sensitive mother reflection.
This photograph of my children makes me feel like I’ve done something wonderful with my life, when all I’ve really done is buy them a tent and put it up in front of a gorgeous window view.
Each moment that I lose my temper or choose something easy to feed them or close my eyes and wish I was momentarily somewhere else is made reasonable through the eyes of this photo—and this is why I photograph my kids and then share it in my blogging and on social media.
My life today was not perfect, despite sharing on Instagram and Facebook this pretty picture. However, I took this picture, more than anything, to remind myself when my days of mothering are difficult, and a little bit too long, that I am doing something right.
Clearly, two girls joyfully playing in a pink-and-white chevron patterned tent are doing okay.
But my life is kind of perfect. I have an earnestly good man to call mine and I have two beautiful daughters. This fact makes my frustrating days actually more challenging—because I know that my life is good.
Yet the yellow leaves fall and kids grow up. Each year, the same thing happens.
This pink teepee might not cast the same reflection into my living room next winter—although if my own childhood infatuation is in any way dictating, it very well might.
But I take these photographs so that I can retrieve the words later on that weren’t used when I was temporarily paused within the moment. They take the place of my little notebook and pen, where I jot down thoughts for later—and at least I have a picture of my family.
These pictures take the place of tears I didn’t let out at my joy and deep sadness of my kids growing and they show in one small frame a millimeter of the emotion I felt.
And I share them graciously with others—these pieces of my heart. My kids.
And the yellow leaves are still surrounded by green and the reflection of the teepee has lost its ethereal appeal and now the television sounds from my oldest daughter and the kitchen, dinner-making sounds of my husband take over—once again, real life settles into my tissues.
And that space that a photograph holds anchors me to where I am. And where I am is mothering two happy, intense kids and partnering with a man who I barely get to hold adult conversations with.
Where I am is some perverse heaven on earth.
Where my husband is my friend without enough benefits and I’m responsible for two other human beings.
But the leaves are pretty this fall—so there’s that.