I hate to see her go, but I love to watch her run. Emily runs, and I drown a little every time, the blood pumping double time from my heart and filling me to the brink. Her booty shakes. Her head bounces. Her hands and arms bob side to side. Her legs are steady and assured, pretty Mary Jane clod feet landing each step confidently. She runs to her brothers. She runs to the bus stop, to Alex's class at school. She runs when I announce we're going out, spun into an excited panic to gather up her shoes and coat, which she will attempt to put on herself- a first in this family where some mornings I find myself rolling socks onto the growing, slack foot of a lazy six and a half year old. She runs to the stairs if she hears the words "bath" or "night night." She runs to find her best friend, her pink Pup Pup. She runs, and I can't help but beam.
Emily brings this family joy. Yes, obviously, Andy and Alex bring this family joy, too, in their boyish, loving, poop joke telling ways. Chris every once in a while comes home from working bringing joy (and a case of wine). Perhaps some of these people in this house look at me, Mommy, and think that yes, that stressed out, chronically dehydrated, full of reminders, rules, lists- yeah, that lady sometimes brings a little joy. Perhaps. But Emily. Emily brings this family joy. Constantly.
Perhaps it's because I'm still surprised that I have her at all. When Alex was born, I thought, This is it. My complete family of four. Cut to two years later, when Alex started his first day of two year old preschool and I suddenly found myself without a *baby.* Oh crap, I distinctly remember thinking. These boys are growing up. I'm losing my babies. I'm going to be thirty-five next year. It's the perfect, fertile storm.
And now we've got Emily starting two year old preschool in the fall. No matter how many kids you have, they just keep leaving you for the wide open, lonely expanse of two hour twice a week preschool. I swear this time, the storm brewing will not be one of aging, last chance baby fertility. For real this time, the family is complete. And it's because of the most beautiful, giggly, girl I know- future track star, Emily.
Emily has her quirks. She says Andy's name constantly, calling out for him and referring to him when he's not around. But she has never really said Alex's name. Is it too hard to pronounce? Does she think "Andy" is just the word for brother and so it fits Alex too? Or does she just simply not like Alex as much as she adores Andy? Andy is kind and thoughtful to her. Andy is proud of her. Alex- well, Alex has a different view of Emily than the rest of us. Alex sees her as a pain. And if Alex sits on my lap when Emily is around, Emily will SHOVE him off. Those two have a little something different going on. It's called "unabashed dismay."
Emily talks a lot. She says, "I don't know" if she doesn't know. She says, "Here it is!" when she's found something she's looking for. She cries out "Eww!" when she's disgusted by something. "Shoes?" if she wants to go out. And she sings, as toddlers are want to do. Her favorite song is "Baa Baa Black Sheep." But her second favorite song is "No" by Meghan Trainor. Emily sings, melodically, "No no no no no no no no." And, hilariously, her third favorite song is "Don't Wanna Know" by Maroon 5. Emily also sings along: "Don't wanna know, know, know, know...."
I'd like to just state, for the record, that Emily and I have drastically different favorite songs.
Emily will do anything if her brothers do it first. If they are nice to somebody she's not familiar with, she's okay with that person, too. If they are playing a game, she butts her way right in. If they are looking at the iPad, she runs to me asking for our cheap little tablet: "Pad! Pad!" And then she'll run right back to sit next to the boys with her own device. She likes to splash in the bath with them, usually standing at some point to dump a large cup of water right onto Alex's head. Never Andy's.
She runs with the boys. Literally.
She runs with the boys. Literally.
Emily's not always front and center in this family. Her needs often get shoved to the bottom of the list if Andy and Alex need to go somewhere, get an assignment done, or need help with their own pursuits. For the most part, everything Emily does is as a tag-a-long for the boys. This is one reason why I look forward to her starting two year old preschool in the fall. It will be something just for Emily that doesn't involve walking around Target with Mom. She deserves to feel special, to make friends, to sing songs that don't have the sounds baa or no and feel proud of things she made without me. Emily, bearer of joy and happiness, who may sometimes feel like an afterthought growing up, must know that although she's the last, the little one- without her, we'd be lost.