Last week, we went to Colorado for a family campout with most of my extended family. For most of the clan, this was only their second time to meet the Littles. The first time was when the trio first came into our home and we had to travel for my parents’ 50th, which I had organized. They’d only been with us 10 days and were 15 months younger than they are now. What a difference a year makes!

All three kids were really excited about “be-cation” and camping, probably because their older sisters were. When we finally arrived, they quickly reunited with my parents and then fell in love with the rest of the family in due time. My 6-year-old great nephew proved to be a good example and fun friend for our 4-year-old: his first experience of being led by an older boy. The younger two were still pretty “mommy-centric” but spent plenty of time sitting on all their cousins’, aunts’, uncles’, and grandparents’ laps.

One thing that warmed my heart was noticing how well my 2- and 3-year-old kids have bonded. The 2-year-old was not placed with the other two prior to coming to our home. However, the last year of having our 4-year-old in school a couple of hours each day has really promoted a closeness amongst those two, which I’d forgotten over the long summer. Since their older brother was busy with his cousin, that really left those two to play together, and they had a ball.

Being on vacation (if mothers ever really are!) gave me lots of time to just watch them at play. I am amazed, in retrospect, how quickly they have become ours and how their tight-knit sibling group has opened up to include the older girls. All five now share some similar characteristics.

All in all, I am simply amazed that in a year, these frightened and reactive little ones have really and truly become ours. It has been an amazing transformation.