In spite of all this, I think I still have been thinking of the pups the way I've always thought of them. There's Pup #1 & 2, they are the *big boys*. Pup #3 is the middle boy; sometimes I think of him as a *big* boy and other times he definitely one of the younger guys. I always think of Pups #4 & 5, the twins, as the *little* boys. I've stopped using that term, but in my mind they are still the *little* boys.
I looked at my boys this weekend and it struck me. They are all young men. I took this photo yesterday at Fenwick Island State Park in Delaware. It was Father's Day and Countrymouse wanted a photo of them all together. He, like me, realizes the bittersweetness of the next few weeks while they are all still safely in the nest. It's a tricky thing to balance all these emotions. I've spent almost exactly half my life being a mother. During the past 22 years, I've had my arms safely around my pups, my little sphere was sanctified from the outside world. That's about to change. These are good changes. But they are hard changes.