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Ruthie is now at an age where her brothers can take her outside, assuming they are in close proximity to an adult. I’ve been saying yes to this more and more. Instead of me holding onto this little one while the boys wash some dishes or help with laundry, I’m shooing them into the evening twilight while I make supper and tend to the chores.

Coming out to announce that supper is ready is made all the sweeter when I find them all in the garden.Stewart and Abram planted rows of turnips and beets while Elijah wrangled his sisters. Everyone seemed happy.

I always wondered how it looked after one or two babies – is the hard and the joy simply multiplied linearly with each child? I’ve come to know the answer to that is no. Those first babies are so hard when there are no big helpers. (In fact, Elijah asked me after Ruthie was born who did all the work when he and his brother were the little ones needing tending. Um, me mostly since Daddy was at work. He couldn’t compute it.)

The joy is not multiplied linearly either. It is exponential to see them all interact. The frustration, too, if we’re being honest… there are two who are like fire and gasoline most days.

But mostly joy and gratitude and infinite gifts… and dirt, there’s always dirt.