Winter has arrived, with the weariness and tension of last week being replaced by wonder and excitement. Each window frames a snow so white and trees so dramnatically laden with snow and ice, it is as if we are experiencing it all for the first time. Yesterday was a crystally blur of snowman-making and snowflake spying. No cameras, no phones, just mittens and sticky kisses. Our noses were red, our fingers frosty and our laughter unending.

The girls are fast becoming stepping-stones, markers of all that I have accomplished, even as I might worry about one thing or another, they trump everything. I can nearly see the nuances in Briar’s face emerging, a line here, a hollow there. Her eyes becoming more pronounced, a blue so light and clear it seems impossible. Her lashes like something from a fairy tale, with each girlish blink a whoosh as lips the color of coral part to allow titters and sighs to pepper the air like pixie dust.

Avery sits beside her, dark hair wild with twists and turns that practically demand to be tousled. Her eyes are gooey, a blue so dark they sometimes look purple. Dark lashes flutter along lids tipping down ever so slightly, tempting your fingers to trace the lines like waves of frosting on a holiday confection.

And Fin, Fin shimmers— a tight, compact bundle of I can, and if I can’t, I will. She smiles as she stretches, questing evermore to not just catch her sisters, but to surpass them. Her exclamations of all our names stop us in or tracks, eliciting “Oh my’s” and “She said my name’s.” She ignites us with the joy of being; ourselves and hers.

So while this week was not, in fact, better. Banging my head against the proverbial wall, desperate to understand why people act the way they do, or why they say one thing an mean another, I found a light. Finley with her howls, Briar with her huffs and Avery with her growls, each remind me of my fluency.

51 months of Briar, 31 months of Avery and 8 months of Fin and I have a mastery of their ways. The shifts in behavior, which can come as abruptly as a winter storm, are familiar to me. The particular pitch of a cry or intensity of a call speak to me with a clarity that makes my way clear. There is a kind of shelter the chaos of my life offers, for all the unpredictability inherent in life with three, there is calm. Here at home, Sean by my side and the girls in all directions, I am certain of peace and belonging.