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Wisdom Comes Suddenly
My name is Lori Fulk, and it should be said up-front: I used to have very big plans. I was in my 30's and happily ensconced in a Neuroscience Research career when I met a funny, smart guy, and married him. We could have stopped there, and stuck with our "very big plans", but God has some plans of his own. We now have 2 gifted daughters, 1 who is "twice-gifted", which is a fancy way of saying some gifted kids are born with Special Needs. It makes for one crazy game of Poker, I assure you. And because humor is my first-line drug of choice, I started writing (and laughing) about our family's journey 8 years ago. Parenting has taught me many things, but the most important being we all have ideas about being parents, until the actual birth of our children. Wisdom in parenting doesn't come quickly, and it certainly doesn't come easily. Wisdom Comes Suddenly.
The Sweet Spot Summer

The Sweet Spot Summer

November 11, 2013 | 09:17 AM

My Dearest Trifecta,

The Autumn storms should have heralded in the fall for me. That first dark day is always so romantic, full of spooky portension. The rainy days which follow are just depressing. When I woke to this morning's cold, wrapped in darkness, I should have thought, "Indiana Fall. We've turned the corner." But I didn't. It wasn't until I tip-toed to Kelly's bed and realized she was feverish did I know the leaves were falling. Some ring in the change of season with pumpkins; others with apples and hayrides. At this house, we greet Autumn with Strep Throat.

With a punky child on my lap all day, I had time to reflect upon our summer together. Our 4th summer, if you like math (which you SHOULD after the thousands of worksheets I made you complete). It's hard to believe the 4 of us became summer Musketeers just after Kelly took her first steps, and this summer we celebrated her 6th birthday, Sara's 8th, and Avery's 9th. Some days I'm Mommy, some days I'm Aunt Orly, but for most of the sunny months, I'm the lady cutting the birthday cakes.

This year it hit me hard that while I change in millimeters, the 3 of you change in miles. The first game I taught you 4 years ago was Memory, played with only 8 cards, and Kelly spent her turns trying to eat them. Now we hold month-long game tournaments, which has turned into an exercise in humility, as none of us can beat the 6 year old. Shakespeare hit the nail on the head when he wrote, "Though she be but little, she is fierce." Too bad for Willy Shakes, because Kelly would never audition to play a character like Hermia. If her Father tried to make her marry someone she didn't love, I'm fairly certain one, if not both of those fellas, would die in their sleep. Kelly is more of a "Taming of the Shrew" meets "The Merchant of Venice" kind of gal.

Neatly put, it has been an honor to share your summers. I started out as your cruise ship director, and have slowly turned into more of a waitress, but on our best days, I am your witness. I was watching from the back porch when you tried to make crutches out of bamboo sticks, and got so frustrated, you decided to break your legs in order to score the real thing. While I applaud your ingenuity at solving an ongoing argument (My turn with the crutches! NO! It's my turn!), I'm just grateful I was paying attention when you tried to fly off the swings at their apex. That would have been an interesting explanation in the ER. "Well, you see, um...we lacked the patience to take turns, so we decided the fairest solution was to simultaneously break our legs..."

My favorite argument of the summer was religious in nature. The hours you spent debating the existence of fairies vs. mermaids was mind-numbing. It's sad to see you going in different directions, spiritually speaking. Sara is determined it can never truly be known if mermaids exist, due to the depth and breadth of the seas, and therefore, the only prudent conclusion is that they are real. Kelly is as anti-mermaids as she is pro-fairy. After all, there are so many unexplained acts of nature. Things grow and float and move around the yard, every single day. Surely fairies are far better at nature-based tasks than say, something as non-committal as the wind. Sara is steadfast that Kelly is reaching, while Kelly holds true to her belief that mermaids are creepy. And Avery? Where do you stand in all of this mystical mayhem? You ended most debates reaching for your rosary, praying for Jesus to save the souls of your corrupt cousins. I couldn't agree with you more, but as the Momma who pretends to text the Tooth Fairy, I've tried to keep my mouth shut (and take them to church more often).

It was one of my life's greatest joys to overhear funny conversations not meant for my ears. It's a gift to watch your understanding of the world evolve, but to be a witness to the becoming of who you are has been life-changing for me. Most days you include me, as you have so many burning questions which need answers: Did Pluto make someone mad? Are mice the same as baby rats? When a sign says, "Wrong Way", how do they know we're lost? Why does perfume smell like Skittles? Can we wear perfume yet? Can we have the brand that's named "Try Me"? And even though you don't need me to watch your every move for fear you'll fall down the stairs, I find you still need me to keep you out of a trouble. Or more aptly stated, to save the cats. They are still mad about "Detective Day" when you arrested the 3 of them, trapped them under a hamper, and then forgot they were there. I can't help but giggle at the lecture we titled, "Cats aren't criminals, and other reasons you should be nice to your pets."

It was an enlightening summer, to say the least. The 3 of you grew into kids, right before my eyes. While it was bittersweet watching you vacillate between Berenstain Bears and Good Luck Charlie, I found I no more wanted to turn you back into toddlers than I want you to grow into pre-teens. If I had my wishes, I would keep you in a time capsule, inside the summer of sweet spot ages. In the end, I think we came away with a singular lesson germane to our tiny club: the 3 of you equally, without argument or significant deviation from the norm, have got the moves like Jagger. Now please stop asking me to answer that question.

I will love you forever and always, just as you are, and no matter who you become,

Mommy, aka Aunt Orly

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