We let them wander in the woods alone. The trees are yet to blossom and so, although they think we cannot, we can see them as they venture further and further away, brave and curious, deep into the spirit wood. The pine trees seem larger than they were last spring, but perhaps it is only an illusion created by the small bodies beneath them. June is happiest on mornings like this: outdoors. Untamed and reckless, she mounts the hill and smiles back at me as I approach, daring me to catch her, which I do. And it is this way, together, holding hands that we descend the hill and at last leave the woods.
Saturday morning came with sunshine, good coffee, and a wild baby racing through our home. Up and down she pulled herself, on to the record player, into the trash, onto the toilet seat (…ohhhh there is water in there, too?), up the first stair, around the kitchen table, down the hallway back to the stairs, across the living room to the plants and around the table to the couch where we sat, mystified by her energy. How many miles she crawled before eight o’clock is impossible to predict. But one thing was certain, we just couldn’t keep up.
Not wanting to squelch her spirit with “No” this and “no” that, we put on our shoes and left the house, seeking an adventure with our Wild Thing. Already at 10 months, I am learning that June Bea needs to be challenged physically in order to be happy. She is definitely not a couch potato on Saturday mornings like her Mama and Daddy.
Per usual, we ended up at Pickerel Lake. With June Bea strapped against Sean. We began our morning hike, June filling the quiet woods with explosive laughter and squeals. This was exactly the adventure she had needed.
It was almost exactly three years ago to the day that Sean had asked me to marry him. I’m sure the woods remember our legend as we do… the fallen log, the sound of the chipmunks bossing one another around, the cool wind in the early air. The funny thing was nothing in the woods had changed, except for us. We have changed so much. It’s exciting to hike the same trail, to look back and to realize, “yes, we are doing everything young Danielle and Sean set out to do.”
1. Bringing Sweet June Bea home from the hospital and laying in own bed. My body ached and longed to be home! We laid together, this newborn, Sean and I, and savored the calm that was home.
3. Our first ultrasound, after I had a TON of jelly beans and our baby was flipping and dancing like a wild thing!
4. Early mornings spent writing and drinking coffee. I love the silence of our home in the morning when the only noise is the furnace is running and the coffee pot warming.
5. Taking walks around the lake with June Bea in her stroller, looking out at the world and singing to herself.
7. Eating tacos in San Diego.
8. The entire two weeks in Pensacola— every single moment!
9. All the random nights that Crissy, Andrew and Baby Andrew show up at our house.
10. Randomly being in the same town as one of my oldest friends and having a rare opportunity to meet up! We have sent letters back and forth since we’ve been 16. It’s a special bond of words and growth that we share.
11. Watching June Bea interact with my and Sean’s grandmas. She loves to sit on each of their laps and tell them stories.
12. Reading The Signature of All Things.
13. Hosting a girls night and finding out one of my friends was expecting a baby! It had been a long time since the four of us had been together and it was refreshing to unite again.
14. A week spent in Arkansas with dear, dear friends.
15. Bonfires and playing in my parent’s backyard with my family.
17. Visiting the pumpkin patch with my goddaughter on her class field trip. We rode through the fields in a trailer. It was bitter outside, but the sun was out and she was ecstatic to share the day with me.
19. Finding out June Bea was a GIRL after thinking I was having a boy for months and months.
20. Visiting Fredrick Meijer Gardens with my twin sister, niece, and nephew. The butterflies were out and the blossoms were blooming.
21. Seeing Sean dressed up for his business meetings in the afternoon. He’s my favorite.
22. Taking June Bea on her first adventure to the UP. She was kind of a mess by the end of one evening, but we did it! We stayed with our favorite people, got to share a meal with Sean’s mom and ate pasties in Marquette.
24. An afternoon spent watching June Bea play with Imogene and catching up my oldest friend.
25. Hearing June Bea laugh. Every.single.time.
26. When Sean and I sneak in to look at June Bea sleeping in her crib. Often I will pull him from his office in the afternoon and we’ll tip toe in to admire her, sleeping upside on top of her covers.
27. Lunch on the pier in Santa Barbara, when Sean and I sipped cocktails + talked in the sunshine and June Bea entertained herself.
29. Evenings at home with Sean, watching TV on our couch and drinking local beers.
This year was consumed with small moments and big adventures. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m ready for you 30.