"I am smiling."
I woke you up today, this beautiful snowy day, to wish you a happy birthdday. But first I looked at your body- all 5'10 of it. And your feet size 9.5. And your long beautiful dark hair. And your eyebrows - just like my dad's. And your cheekbones pushing through the baby fat that was once there. And the look of peace on your face. You are so beautiful. And so strong.
Last night I tucked you in the way I used to when you were little-all those years that appeared to go on forever. I got into bed with you and spooned you and tickled your bare back and told you a story. I miss that.
I remember picking you up from preschool and kindergarten so excited to see you and spend time with you. You would wrap your spaghetti arms around my neck and say "Hi Momma! I love you." Then we would eat lunch together and every afternoon for 3 years someone would say "Why isn't she in school?" And I would say - she is only 3 or 4 or 5! And they would say- SHE IS SO BIG. And I would say- yes, isn't she beautiful ? I was a little worried that people telling you everyday for 3 years that you were so BIG might not have a great effect on you. I was wrong. Your sense of self astounds me.
They were having a beach party at preschool in February one year and you insisted on wearing a bathing suit. It was -25 C and blowing snow. I unbundled you at school and you marched in, tummy first, full on tushie wedgie, and a wall of girls in sundresses stared you down saying " Why on earth are you wearing your bating suit?" And you said " Because it is a beach party!" And you marched right passed them with your head in the air.
As you grew older, I could hear you telling crowds in the playground why they should believe in certain things- Santa, The Easter Bunny, Quantum Physics, God, Goodness, Kindness, Helping Others, Truth, The Environment, Playing My Way or the Highway and the Tooth Fairy. My little dictator.
One day when you were 9 I found a note in your pocket amongst candy wrappers, a dead moth worth keeping, several elastics and a tiny stub of a pencil. It was between you and your best friend telling her that your mom and dad had split up. I asked you about how it went. You said you had had been afraid to tell but you had had a dream the night before that you had shared the news with your best friends and that it had been okay. Soulful cat.
And this is the way it has been with you. You are little and big, soulful and silly, funny and serious. They told me strong young would serve well later provided I could live through it. And everyone was right.
I have loved every stage with you. You are wise and steady, hard working and hard playing. You are solid and smart. And you have a sassiness that thrills me.
Sometimes when I run out of ways to tell you how much I love you, I put on my straight face and my serious voice and I say
" I overheard a group of women talking as I walked by and they were all saying the same thing . Some were crying, others were having tantrums on the floor and one was even threatening to jump from a second story window ledge. "Oh my life would be perfect if I just had a daughter like Sammy." "
And we laugh.
I love you, my baby. I can't believe I get to be your mom. Happy Birthday.