There must have been 11 kids or more racing around the backyard, jumping on the trampoline, shooting bows and arrows (until I saw them and asked them to put them away to avoid a trip to the emergency room!).
Screams and shrieks of laughter echoed as I worked to orchestrate a meal out on the grill.
The early friends decorated the birthday cake with mounds of zinnias and sunflowers picked from the backyard.
I am not exactly the queen of kid birthday parties. I hide out, cook, and let them entertain themselves. Which they somehow figure out how to do.
Thomas must have smelled the bbq as he wandered over from his apartment to join us. Another friend and her little ones hung out.
What a gift to see one's children surrounded by pals who love them.
It was delightful.
Eleven seems to be a real transition year. Are they still kids? Preteens? Too cool to run and scream and leap and jump? Well, thank goodness, not too cool yet. But after seeing four other kids pass this point, I know that her days of childhood are limited. I grab cuddles every single time I can. Funny, seems like the older ones are circling back around and are a bit more appreciative of hugs and kisses on the top of the head than they were a year or so ago.
I love seeing the kids grow up. Even if it tugs at my heart. Nora is so different from me. She is tender. Sensitive and quiet. Quite organized. Well prepared ahead of time. Rarely late. Quiet.
But then...I see her confidence grow. She knows herself and knows how to ask for what she wants. In a household full of runners, she has chosen karate. She hasn't milked a goat like her siblings. But she now feeds and waters the chickens and gathers their eggs. She is a writer.
I used to love having her sit on my hip during church, her sweet little voice tenderly singing into my ear.
Nora. Tallest girl in her class. Beautiful dear Nora.
Oh, an aside~ after party, last bit of icecream and cake, I went for my evening walk, quite late. I felt a bit alone as I headed out the door.
All of a sudden, the waxing half moon greeted me from the sky. Quite relaxed, leaning on his back.
And then an assertive breeze blew up and wrapped me in companionship for the rest of my walk. I felt so surrounded! It was somewhat magical. When I reached the last quarter of my journey around the loop, the moon went his different way, or so it seemed! Actually I made the turn up our street, knowing the moon was behind me. But the breeze continued to warmly wrap me up for the last hundred yards. It felt so companionable, I had to go to the backyard and sit on the swing for a few minutes. Couldn't make myself go into the closed up house. Even with all the windows open and curtains billowing, there is nothing like being cozily tucked in by a gentle breeze.