- Family and Parenting
A Love Letter To My Daughters
I have started and discarded six different hubs over the past two weeks. They sucked, and that's putting it mildly. Why is it that the stuff I come up with at 3:00 am when I can't sleep (which is almost all of the time now, by the way) is freaking brilliant in my head but utter crap when I try to get it down in print? Seriously, I do some wicked awesome rants in the middle of my insomnia ( I get all worked up and everything. I used to wake Chris up in the middle of the night to impart my wisdom to him, but this was frowned upon, so now I must be extra insightful only to myself. This likely does not help lead to a solution for the insomnia). But on paper they sound kind of like a paper cut - dull and irritating.
But I still feel the need to write. They say to write what you know. As I am on week three of a new job, I do not feel like I actually know that much. Unless of course we learn from our mistakes, in which case I must be the smartest freaking person on Earth. But I digress. So, even though I don't know much and yet still want to write what I know, there is only one direction I can go - my girlies. I know that I love my girls infinity to the moon and back times a million. The End. So.
My sweet, gentle girl. You're going to be ten years old in four days, as you and your very excited little sister have been informing me. I can't believe its been that long. I can still remember touching your forhead and saying hello to you in the delivery room before they whisked you away to NICU. I remember that I had prepared myself that I might need to get to know you for a few days before I bonded with you, but that was kind of silly of me. The second I FINALLY (yes, that needs caps lock) got to hold you in my arms and listen to your indignant little cries, I was a goner. I loved you in a way that I had never loved anything else before, and I had a purpose that was as important as any purpose anyone anywhere had ever had: I was your Mama, and I would always be your Mama. No matter where live may take me or what I may do, this was a constant: I will always be your Mama. I can't think of anything more important to do with my life.
Maeve, you are my calm. When I first got sick last year, one of the only things that enabled me to breathe freely was to have you sitting with me, my arms wrapped around you. Something about the feel of you, the sound of you, the smell of you relaxed me and made me feel a little less frightened. I know my illness confused and scared you, because it confused and scared me, too. But you were one of my bright spots. Trust me when I say you did more for me than you'll ever be able to understand.
You have such a gentle soul. That must be why animals and babies love you so much. And it does my heart good to see - even in your moodiest of moods - that your cats or your baby cousins still bring that smile to your face, and that playfulness to your nature. I can handle being *eyeroll* sooooo embarrassing just so long as that smile and that playfulness are there, even for someone else.
People have always been drawn to you. When you were a baby, I would get instructions from the head of my program in school to bring you with me the next day. I wouldn't see you at all unless you were hungry or dirty. My classmates took turns showing you off around campus. You were our little mascot, and you got your own entry in the graduation slideshow. Dad used to get heck if he went to the gas station by our house without you. Sometimes they'd make him go back and get you. Cashiers at city hall would leave their posts to come and hold you when Dad went to pay parking tickets. And in turn, you were curious about everyone and everything, and still are.
Maeve, I am so proud of you. I am proud of the person you've become, and the person I can see you're going to be. You are principled and brave, and not afraid to say what you think. I remember watching you chase after people on the playground that you thought had been mean to your friends and telling them to smarten up. And I would not be surprised at all if some day you join the Sea Shepherd Society and go up against Japanese whalers. Worried, yes. Surprised, no. I love that you think for yourself and that you do your own thing. You love Top Gear and heavy metal and bluegrass, and would learn about forensic science all day if we let you. You kick my butt at video games and giggle so sweetly the entire time. You can do more chin ups than me (which, granted, isn't saying much, but you're really good at them!) and you play the piano so beautifully. Speaking of beautiful, we won't talk about when you'll be allowed to start dating, but I trust that you'll be smart about things. You are your own person already at almost ten, and I am in awe.
You are my favourite Maeve.
You are my little super-nova. Everything you do, you do big. You play big, you learn big, you rage big and, most importantly, you love big. You are the loyal little defender of all of those you hold dear.
The verve with which you attack life is so reassuring to me after the rough start you had. You, like your sister, also went straight to NICU when you were born, but you didn't bounce back quite as quickly. You still have more health issues than Maeve, but you more than make up for their presence with the sheer amount of cheek contained in that grin of yours. You might not ever be the fastest kid in your class, but you'll be the one making them laugh the hardest. You make me laugh, too. And you increased my purpose twofold.
You are so creative. I love to listen to you play with your toys. The dialogues between them are fascinating. And the art that you create is just like you: warm and colourful and happy. I love that every time you draw yourself, its with a big smile.
You are so generous: generous with your stuff, and generous with your love. You like to share and you like to give hugs. I don't know if you realize how much I need those hugs some days. When I was sick last year, those hugs were so fierce, and so were you. If you perceived that someone had done something to make me cry, you marched right up to whoever that person was and gave them a talking to. Sometimes, you'd just sit there and rub my back and say softly that it would all be okay. This was when you were still three years old. And as I've been grieving the coming end of my Grandma's life, how many times have I heard "looks like someone needs a hug" through my tears and then felt your little arms go around me. You are fearless in how you love. And woe betide anyone who even looks at your sister the wrong way, because then they've got you to deal with! I don't think you realize how much your totally unconditional love means to those who have it. You are a bright spot for so many people.
You are also fearless in how you rage, and I guess I can't say too much about that - you are also genetically predisposed to how you rage. But at the same time, I am glad you feel safe enough with us to do it, and I am glad that you can get it out of your system. I am glad that you feel so much. Don't get me wrong, it will break your heart a time or two, but you will also live and love at a level most people are afraid of. And when your heart does break, that's when it will be my turn to rub your back and tell you that things will be okay, and you will feel my arms going around you.
You are so smart. You taught yourself to read and now you're teaching yourself math, and I think your grade one teacher is going to be in for a long old haul if she isn't prepared. But we'll work on that, your teacher and your Dad and I. I want your educational experience to encourage you, not to bore you.
At the same time, you need to keep your butt in your pants at school. Mooning isn't funny on the playground. Especially not if Mama gets called to the office. I have a feeling I'll be more worried about it than you will be.
But Marin, I am so proud of you. I am proud of how far you've come. I'm proud of the funny little girl you're turning into. I'm proud that you stick up for your family and your friends. I'm proud of how fast you learn things and yes, I'm proud of how you, too, can beat my butt at video games. Your Opa always used to talk about what it was like when your kids surpassed you at something, and now I understand. It is a feeling of having given you wings. You're a good kid, Marin, even if you are a turkey sometimes. And when you are the benevolent dictator of your own island nation someday, remember that your Mama would like a pool and cute cabana boys to serve margaritas.
You are my favourite Marin.
To my girls:
I love how you are starting to make your family connections - to recognize that this trait comes from that side of the family, and that this skill is similar to this other person's. I am glad that your extended family has become so important to both of you. Because you are important to them, and you should always remember that. They will always be there for you, just like your Dad and I will always be there for you.
However. That all being said, I am still going to embarrass you at the bus stop. Sorry.