Sunday, October 18, 2015

When you turn six

You turn six in twenty minutes.  I have only twenty minutes to somehow describe this entire past year with you, watching you grow, watching you read, write, add and subtract.  Letting you go a little more everyday, as you lunge forward into life, and a little father from needing me.

I know I say it every year, but I'll keep repeating it as I am always reminded of you as a baby with every passing birthday anniversary.  It's hard to see the baby in your face anymore, but you never really were a baby anyway.  It's like you were never meant to be an infant, and you protested it in the only way you could, by screaming your lungs out for a year, maybe longer.  I no longer truly remember the misery of your infancy, only that it happened, but it's been long replaced by the joys you bring me now.

I still can see the world-weary soul I know lives deep within when I look into your eyes.  They turn down slightly at the corners, giving your features a saddened look, as if you have lived a hundred lives before.  There is a tiny scar at the corner of your eye, barely recognizable to someone who doesn't stare at your face, but it's there, and it accentuates the slope of your outer eye, even impersonating a tear at times if the light catches it just so.

You don't see me do this often, but I stare at you constantly, you look as though you are always deep in thought, worlds away.  Sometimes my heart aches for you, because of the burden it looks like you carry.  But then you catch me and smile, with your toothy grin and all the sadness disappears and I see only pure love and joy in you.

You don't tell me much.  I miss you all day and when you come home I want nothing more than a complete play-by-play of what you did at school, who you played with, what bothered you, everything.  But you keep me at bay.  Once we talked for an hour about everything.  You spoke with such passion and gifpddiness about your day, it made me realize you actually really love school.  I had assumed maybe you didn't, I was fooled by your eyes again.  I wish we had these conversations everyday, but I know I can't push you hear, you get to decide what you want to tell me.  But please, tell me everything.  I want to absorb all of your experiences, all of your happiness, excitement, your dear and sadness.  I want it all in me too.  I want to share your joy, I want to shoulder your burden.  But that's yours to share.

Six is different.  You're in first grade.  There is no disguising you growing up, your independence, how your brain is absorbing so much more in a day than mine can in a month.  Little things still make you so happy.  You have no idea how much it means to me when you say "this is the best day ever"

I know you say it often, I don't care.  It fills me with joy knowing you feel that way, even if only for a minute.  I also revel in the fact that you often call me the best momma ever, of course you have no idea what you're talking about, my love, I'm not even close.  You deserve better than I could ever be, but I love you so much I will spend my life trying to be better everyday for you.

You are such a caring sister.  You melted into that role as easily with your new sister as you did at 18 months old with your first sister.  Once again, it just seemed as though you were destined to be the oldest, the caretaker.  You weren't meant to be taken care of yourself.  I know your sisters will always look up to you, and you will be far too eager to reach them what you know.  

I spy on you.  Sorry, but I won't ever stop.  I catch you reading to your sisters, covering them with blankets, laughing with them as you talk in your made up languages.  Nothing makes me happier than hearing my daughters laugh together.  That's the best gift I could ever receive.

Everything you do impresses me, every tine you hug me, I am filled with warmth.  You are, plain and smile, a really wonderful kid.  And  I am so grateful, and so incredibly proud to be your mom.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

And then, she was four...

I'm not sure when you grew up, but I know it happened too quickly.  You went from baby to preschooler so fast I don't even remember what you looked like at two.  Thank goodness I take way too many pictures and though I haven't actually developed any prints in years the crazy world of digital photography allows me to take and store thousands of photos for free.  So I'm sorry you have no photo albums beyond a year old, but don't worry, your sister probably won't have any at all.

Yes, you are going to be a big sister now.  Sometimes I worry how you will handle it, you so enjoy being a baby yourself.  You still sneak into our bed every night, and sleep between your parents, your arms and legs wrapped around one of us so tightly it's hard to untangle from your grasp.  Your sweet face often covered in tangles of your wispy, wild hair.  Hair that refuses to be contained to ponytails, braids or buns, even when shellacked with hairspray.  Yes, your hair suits you just perfectly. You would never conform to anything that you didn't want, why should your hair? We have learned to let it fly free, like your sprit, it just won't be contained.

While I continue to worry how you will accept your little sister's arrival, part of me thinks it will be so hard on you.  But then again, I see you with your big sister.  The way you treat her, even though you are the younger sister, you constantly look out for her.

I remember last summer on the beach, we had some lunch.  Di was playing in a muddy sand puddle, and you were on my lap.  As you finished your sandwich, I gave you two potato chips, just because it was vacation and you were so sweet and cute.  You took both chips and walked off.  I watched you walk away, as I often do. You went directly to your sister, and because her hands were elbow deep in sand, you told her to open her mouth.  You popped one of the chips in her mouth and happily walked away, munching your own.

When what started as an innocent paper cut, turned into a horrific infection that sent us to multiple doctors, specialists and hospitals.  It was awful, to see your finger look that bad.  It hurt us to look at it.  You really never complained at all.  Eventually, the doctors prescribed a medication so strong, the flavor of it was comparable to ammonia.  Even the pharmacist cringed when we filled it, and I paid the additional price to have extra flavoring added to it.  The pediatrician told us to give you anything you wanted to get you to take it consistently.  We agreed on one M&M with each biting tablespoon you had to swallow.

Well you demanded TWO M&Ms.  Ok, we contended.  This is a small price to pay to save your finger, and potentially much more if the infection spread throughout your body.  Even your dietitian mother decided it was worth the artificial food dyes and high fructose corn syrup to get you well.  Immediately upon reviewing your prize, you called you sister over for her share of your bounty.  Even though you had the pain, you had to endure the surgery and dressing changes, you had to taste the awful (but ultimately wonderful) medication, you gave half to your big sister.  Without thinking.  It was your instinct, part of your innate character, to be selfless.  To share your possessions, your joy with her.  It is not something you were taught.  This is simply you.

You do have this feisty fire that has come up more often as you become more independent.  You don't like to be told what to do.  I can't ask you to fetch my slippers, but if I mention my cold feet or a budding headache you run off to get my warm socks or cold compress and rush to my aid.  The same sister you lovingly feed half of your treats you have whacked out of frustration.  While I don't condone that, I do have a sense of relief that you will not be the type to let others tale advantage of your generosity.  You are so powerful, I never want anything to break that part of you.

Watching you grow, experiencing you learn.  Seeing you play with your little friends at school, I live for these moments.  Everything you do fascinates me.  Your effort to properly annunciate words that typically don't belong in a preschooler's vocabulary causes you to stutter often, but you persevere until you get it right.  You've never once given up for an easier word.  When I made the mistake of trying to say it for you, you don't appreciate my efforts at all.  I get it, baby.  You are so independent in many ways, but you still need so much from us as parents.  You demand it, and you suck in every ounce of attention we give you.  And you return that love so sweetly, so generously and genuinely, I often feel undeserving of something so beautiful.

You are hilarious.  Always doing anything for a laugh.  I love how you dance in the car to our gym music, how you can't take dancing with you sister seriously and just end up shaking your bum around, how you give the sky side look and half smile when you are up to no good.  How you run so much faster than your little legs seem meant to, often falling frequently.  But rarely do you cry, even when you are visibly injured.  Not much can deter you from doing what you want to do, even the occasional blood shed.

Your are still strikingly beautiful.  No, beauty isn't everything, but part of it is that personality that shines through your face.  And of course, those eyes. The way you sleep.  It's as if you were perfectly
posed for a nocturnal photographer.  Every position you turn to, your face, hands, you're angelic.  You certainly aren't even trying to look like that.  Just like your personality.  Unintentional perfection.

 It's not anything you control, it's just you baby.   My beautiful, sweet, powerful four year old.