The way Boy 3 laughed and put his hands over his face to contain the joy of a birthday cake shining with lit candles.
The cocky grin of Boy 1 when he charmed his way out of potential reproof by calling me "Sweetheart".
The sing-song sound of the Lady calling out for her devoted following, "Oh, booooyyyssss!"
The contented sigh of Boy 2 when he held a blanket and a sippy, finding relief from the harsh world of toddlerhood.
This is how a heart gets wrecked, moment by moment and day by day.
Somewhere in between these love-made-flesh moments, were challenges, answered prayers, dreams, and the various details of life.
I felt empty and spilled out many days. I even wrote about the emptiness here, and then here about the way a broken life can give thanks in all things.
And now here we are living the in-between years. The babies have grown up a bit, but they aren't quite tweens or pre-teens yet.
We play real card games with scores, they understand humor and hyperbole, and we talk about things like the theory of evolution at the dinner table.
When I get overwhelmed, my children come and ask me how they can help.
Apologies and forgiveness flow like mighty waters in our home, and grace is amazing and real to all of us.
I often wonder how we got here to this promised land of a healthy family?
That's when the days come rushing back to my mind, the way we marched through the wilderness, learning lessons the hard way, faithfully reading God's word, and building our lives on His love.
We make mistakes, we ask for forgiveness, we pick ourselves up and do better tomorrow.
And always, always, we look to prove our love to one another.
Boy 1 will be taller than his Daddy soon, and when he asks to play basketball, Mr. Fantastic will have to bring his A-game.
In the blink of an eye we will watch the Lady dance wearing pointe shoes and eyeliner.
One day I will turn around and find Boy 3 can take those bike ramps faster than is rationally safe, as his abilities begin to meet his appetite for adrenaline.
Before the sun sets and rises too may times, Boy 2's building skills will move on from Legos and he will make his dream of a tree house a reality.
Moment by moment, day by day, I will be even more wrecked for anything but love. The precious moments of this life split me open and the love spills out of the cracks and pours out of the open spaces in my soul.
Every day matters. Every act of love adds up, and every memory of giggling toddlers, sleeping babies, triumphant big kids, and thoughtful teenagers, become treasures for a mama's heart.
I won't forget that they came from helpless days of infancy.
I won't forget the way they stole my heart by learning to call me "Mama".
I can't let go of the feel of their chubby toddler cheek pressed up to mine in giant hugs.
I refuse to lose the sense of wonder at how their now-giant feet once fit in my hands.
The sight of gangly legs and awkward attention spans and immature testosterone unchecked and fancy little fingers will never get old.
My memory will prove faithful and so will my love.
I am a mama, I am wrecked, and I don't want anyone to fix me because this is how life is meant to be lived, broken and poured out for the sake of love.