When I took this picture I realized at once that it captured the spirit of our summer. The three of them, dancing in the sprinkling rain at the farm. All laughing, about to disintegrate into an argument. Anna actually fell down backwards in the gravel 5 seconds after this shot. No, Sam isn't a chicken. He's wearing a knight's helmet and holding a kaleidoscope, which I am informed makes him a scientist. Obviously.
We started the summer with a super clean play room. I won't show you a picture of what it looks like now... :)
We did So. Much. Drawing. this summer. The house is basically wallpapered in really amazing art. All three of them sort of exploded with talent at once. Also I can't find any of my Sharpies. I'm choosing not to dwell too long on that one.
We had cousins come to visit all summer. No one ever had cooler cousins than us.
Andrew got his very own fish (named Adam), Anna convinced us she should really get her ears pierced BEFORE kindergarten, and we celebrated a hard-won birthday with Grandnana.
The whole summer has been full of so many magical moments of childhood that my camera roll on my phone makes me teary. I admit too that I'm a bit surprised. I'm ending this summer feeling sort of exhausted from the lack of structure and all the... togetherness. Being with these three all the time has driven me to read parenting books with fresh desperation. (BTW, if you are looking for one, I recommend the Whole Brain Child and the books that follow after. Woah. Majorly course correcting our parenting for the better.)
Josh and I reflected this last Christmas that we are probably building the memories that will serve as touchstones for our kids as adults. When they think of their childhoods, they will think of this year, when they were all children.
As always, it seems, we hope/expect/wish that this is the last summer without our baby girl in these pictures. It may not come to pass, but it's possible we could be traveling to China next summer to bring her home. (Dear Jesus, please let it be so!) As we have learned to do, we play, sing, and imagine what she will be like while we wait for our time to come.
Next week Andrew starts 3rd grade, and the week after Anna begins kindergarten. Right after that we will have a memorial for my precious Grandfather who died last week, and all of us Bartholomews will gather again to reflect on the wonderful gift of family that Mom and Dad B gave us. Then before we know it the State Fair will be here in October, then Thanksgiving and Christmas, then birthdays, then Spring Break, and then the end of another school year. And maybe we will get to adopt a daughter. It's enough to make your head spin.
Thank you Jesus for summers, for pauses of all kinds. Thank you for living in the bright and shiny moments of Joy and Belonging and the dark moments of Frustration and Sadness. You never leave us. Hold all us tightly this year, and hold our daughter in China as we hold her in our hearts.
Josh and Emily
We hope that by sharing our steps, challenges, and milestones of our adoption, you will see yourself as part of the community we hope to build around our child as she grows up.