My girls have wild, flyaway brown curls, thick dreadlocks, blonde braids.

My girls love to sing, except when they don’t. They love to dance, except sometimes when their parents are looking.

My girls always love to act. They love to do voices. Snobby voices. Squeaky voices.

Sometimes my girls speak in made-up languages, just for joy.

My girls love to pray. Some read prayers. Some sing them. Some recite from memory. One insists on holding a book in her hand as she prays, pretending she can read the words she knows by heart.

My girls flop on top of each other, bodies smashing, feet flying. My girls have learned how to say, “I need you to respect my space.”

When my girls smile, the whole world smiles with them.

My girls will sit in pairs on the floor for 15 solid minutes, helping one another memorize difficult quotations with almost no adult interference.

My girls will pretend not to listen. Pout. Whine. Complain of hunger, cold, stuffy noses, tickly feet, offended sensibilities. But my girls always remember the entire story I’ve told them afterwards. They listen to the important things, because my girls know which things those are.

My girls are rowdy. Picky. Bossy. Shy. Easily angered. Easily inspired.

My girls analyze the moral implications of their everyday lives. In first grade. Fourth grade. Second grade. Homeschool. Preschool.

My girls each have a favorite book, a favorite color, a favorite virtue.

My girls love one another so, so much.

I clothe myself in the hugs of my girls to keep me warm through the week.

Until Sunday comes. And I’m back again, laughing, praying, singing, writing, teaching, sharing, listening, loving, so very grateful for, so very proud of my girls.