Their bedtime routine gets longer (and sweeter) as they get older.
Nighttime feedings become two front teeth brushings. Before you know it, that turns into "I do it!"
Potty trips replace diaper changes and the hunt for a pacifier is no longer necessary.
In the past, their swaddled, sleepy bundles were placed gently in the crib. Now, they tear into their bedroom and duck under the crocheted blankets all on their own.
Among their dark, disheveled locks and curls, girly nightgowns and pillow pets, you'll see Pink Pig in one bed and Stuffed Bunny tucked into the other. (Among many other stuffed friends, plush characters, and more than likely, the random toy they became attached to that day.)
When sweet, tiny voices request a stuffed bunny and pink pig for Christmas, Auntie buys them a stuffed bunny and pink pig.
(Because who's heard of an Auntie that says no?!)
I witnessed the hushed, newborn goodnights. I read to the last page, long after they were asleep. I riled them up until I caught Erin's sideways glance, and then roughhoused some more.
My weekend visits may be few and far between, but time with them will never be wasted.
The 238 miles of I-35 that separate me from my family is made easier knowing these girls hold tight to their lovies each and every night.
For my sister (in 20 years):
So you will always remember Carlee's kisses for pink pig (or the way her hair always falls in her face).
For when you flip through your photo albums and see Averee's small hands, grasping stuffed bunny, with her serious, subdued face (until you flip to the next photo, where her shrill shrieks are surely saved in your long term memory).
For Carlee & Averee (when you're 23)
Carlee, may you love your chin dimple now as much as we all did then.
Averee, I hope your curls are still as wild as your personality.