To my Girl as you turn 3 *updated with cake picture
How did someone so silly and funny and full of joy come from me? You always seem a little bit too radiant, too intense, too full of life compared to the others around you. Your light seems to burn a little bit more brightly than every one else’s.
You love to have an audience; you will execute strange faces, and loud excited sounds for the benefit of any one watching. You have been learning from your aunties how to dance and are just recently able to perform isolation movements with your shoulders and hips like you’ve been jazz dancing for years already. You look like such a girl and a little lady all rolled into one when you throw your shoulders back and move to the music. Somehow everything you do is entertaining. Your brother tries to imitate you in your silliness and attention getting, but somehow it doesn’t seem to work as well for him. Except you, you find him vastly entertaining most days. I love to sit and listen to you belly laugh as he goes into crazier and crazier antics in order to hear you appreciate his performance.
You love horses right now. All of your birthday gifts were horses, and what did you buy with your birthday money? Another horse of course. You love most animals but horses fascinate you. We wanted to take you for a ride on a real horse for your birthday, but babies and schedules led to other plans. You don't seem to mind though, you've been riding on your bouncing rocking horse for a couple of days now, and feeding it, and giving it baths. Next year we'll still have something cool to do if your obsession is as firmly entrenched as it appears to be.
You have learned the trick of using your personality and face to get what you want from people, do distract when you are trying to get away with something, and to charm everyone you see. It’s going to be challenging to keep on top of that and make sure you learn to be responsible, and self-disciplined, and not incredibly spoiled. You are generous in heart, expansive in your embrace of others. Only in places where you are afraid of losing your place in my heart are you unwilling to share. There was the time this year that I laid a friend’s baby down on your bed when it was sleeping because it seemed like a good place. You were so upset about it that you still tell me about it. I think you were afraid that I was giving the baby your place in our family, and you haven’t been sure what kind of place you will have now that a new sister has arrived on the scene. I think that you are now able to be more at peace since you have seen that we haven’t given the baby your bed, or your place at the table, or any of the other things that define for you where you belong in this family. You aren’t all that happy about not having constant access to my lap though.
I am constantly surprised that you need me so much, that I hold such a significant place in your heart. Yes I’m your mother, but I feel completely unworthy of your fierce attachment, the claim you carve out on my body and soul. I wonder if a day will come when you want only to be defined as something different from me, if on your journey into womanhood it becomes necessary for you to break from me to become who you want to be. You already seem to me to be much stronger than I have ever felt. I live in constant awareness of how fragile you are right now, and how careful I need to be to not crush in you the life and strength that flow naturally. My greatest prayer and fear all rolled into one is that you are not hurt by me in ways that will break you, that can’t be repaired. I am fearful because I know my own brokenness, I know how easily it was done, and I feel inadequate when it comes to teaching you how to be a woman.
In the past few months you have expanded your network of support, allowing yourself to lean into your Beema and aunties. You’ve even allowed them to help you to sleep several times without even asking for me. You are growing up, and moving on, and this is good. While it’s been a help to me, it’s a treasure for you, because the more woman you can find who are wise and strong and love you, the more help you will have along the way.
Your daddy and I, and your brother and sister, are indeed blessed by your presence in our lives. For me you are a fierce call to live, to live passionately, to return from the darkness into which I often find myself wandering, to remember joy. You demand and drag from me better than I think I am capable of bringing to the moment, you are a light and a gift and I love you deeply and helplessly. I’m so glad you came.