It seems very fitting that it is snowing today in New England. Twenty years ago, a spring blizzard took us all by surprise as did your arrival into our lives six weeks earlier than planned.
March 31, 1997 was the day that my life forever changed. It marked the transition from identifying as a daughter, sister, and wife to a new role – mother. You and I always had a give and take relationship, maneuvering easily between teaching and learning. Thank you for being willing to still listen to me now and then, and know that you continue to teach me what I need to know to be a better mother.
All four pounds & eleven ounces of you came into this world with deep determination and laser focused drive. You weren’t going to just play with the trains. No. You were going to organize, configure & reconfigure them and create something new. Your little trucks, cars and brio trains kept you busy for hours, not because you were rolling them around on the ground, but because you were meticulously lining them up on our kitchen table, creating your very own parade. Trains were eventually replaced with legos which took you all the way through to the days of wii and beyond.
Books captured you from the very beginning. From Richard Scarry’s Busytown and Lowly Worm to science fiction series to Harry Potter, you always enjoyed reading. One of my favorite book-related stories of you is from when you were 8. For those of you who have heard this story before, please forgive me. Eating breakfast one morning, you pulled a cookbook off the shelf and started reading it from the beginning. The premise of the cookbook was about how to hide vegetables in recipes ranging from cupcakes to meatloaf. After reading for 5 minutes or so, you closed the book, swiveled in your chair so that you were looking directly at me, and said ‘I disagree with this book and what it is trying to promote. I do not think it is fair to make a brownie with spinach and not tell everyone what’s in the brownie. If you want me to eat broccoli, please just make it part of dinner and don’t hide it in something else.’
Twenty years later, the surprises keep coming. Your conversations about books now are far above me, and all I can offer to most conversations is nodding my head in agreement, squinting my eyes when I’m trying to follow what you’re saying, and smiling when I have nothing else to contribute. Your seriousness still catches me off-guard as does your monotone humming (said with love) and the fact that you asked for a suit as a birthday gift.
On this snowy day, I am grateful that twenty years ago today I was able to welcome you into the world, and you were the one who welcomed me into the world of motherhood.
Wishing you a year filled with love & laughter, many books on your night table, time set aside to have fun, runs & bike rides that make you feel like you’re going to get sick, continued exploration of Washington and beyond, lots of snapchats with your mum, chess matches that are humbling, good reasons to wear your suit, finding balance in your life that feels acceptable, and staying safe for one more year before you turn 21.
Have the happiest of birthdays –