Wednesday, November 7, 2007

my dear mariahroo

You are three and a half now, over 30 pounds, tall and strong and brave. You are everything I imagined in the daughter I wanted to have. You are sweet and loving, spunky and adventurous...

You amazed everyone with your climbing ability from very early on. When you were 13 months old you climbed up onto the kitchen counter using the drawer pulls as foot holds. We had a very hard time keeping you from dancing on the dining room table. When you were still less than 2, we put a bunk bed in your and Levi’s “room” (not the one you sleep in, just the one where your clothes and toys live-- you happily sleep with us in our ‘big big bed’). You were way too young to go up on the top bunk without us-- so I thought, Well, I’ll just move the ladder into the closet when I don’t want her up there. HA! It took you all of thirty seconds to find a way to scramble right to the top.

I remember your second summer; at 18 months we took you the Grant Park pool on a hot August day. Levi was 4, and afraid to go down the slide into the pool. You, on the other hand, couldn’t be stopped. You climbed out of the water, ran to the ladder, went right up, and zipped down the slide over and over again-- never thinking for a second that we wouldn’t be there to catch you. I wanted to spot you on the stairs, but you were too fast-- I wouldn’t have made it back to the bottom of the slide in time. “How old is she?” people would ask us, incredulously.

I’ve loved watching you grow every single day. Your eyes twinkle and your giggle is pure magic. At two, you ran around jubilantly, curls bouncing behind you. You were the sassy little girl with the overalls and the dirty face I always knew would be mine someday. Just before you turned three, you discovered princesses-- largely thanks to your Grammie. While it’s never been my ‘thing’, you won me over with your radiant smile the first time you donned a crown. Now you like to dress up every day. In fact, you have become quite insistent about this, and it’s rare that I can talk you into jeans or overalls anymore (except when we paint together). You want a “skuhwt” or “dwess” and tights. Sometimes a regular dress isn’t enough, and you’ll protest “but I want a BIG-guh dwess...”-- the poufier the better. You are quite the “girly” girl these days, but you still love to climb trees. You have the funniest mischievious grin when you are trying to get us to chase you.

Like me, you are very independant. You insist on doing things your “own self”, in your own way. And when you do these things (like carrying your own backpack today, not rolling it, the way we encouraged) you announce proudly, “See? I’m big and stwong! Dat’s why I’m a BIG guhwol!” You’re really just too yummy for words.

You are my sweetest pea, my silliest monkey, and my cuddliest bug (as I’ve been telling you for years now). Right now, we are on an airplane, heading to Virginia for your first visit to “Gwamma and Gwampa wif dee animal cwackuhs”. You were so tired from a long day of traveling when we boarded. You got a little cranky, ate some burrito, had milkies (“switch sides, time to be all done”, you count to 5) and conked out. Your head rests on my shoulder, my head rests on yours. My left arm cradles you into my lap as I write. you are covered in your silky blankie I bought for you at Cannon Beach on your 1st trip there. (You were 3 months old, it was Mother’s day weekend, and I carried you around town in the maya wrap. We were with Grandad exploring the galleries-- that’s one of the things he and I liked to do best together. We found this soft silky blanket that says ‘Go barefoot and build your dreams’ and I had to buy it for you.)

As you sit on my lap, my tummy is staring to bulge against you. The new baby inside me is about the size of a blueberry (though looking at me you’d think he/she was much bigger!). You welcomed our news with a huge, excited grin. “What do you think about that?” I asked, “Good!” you exclaimed enthusiastically. Now you tell everyone (including strangers in the airport) that “my mommy has a baby in her belly right now! I’m going to be a big sistah AND a little sistah!” and you are so proud. It’s so different than it was with Levi who was only 2 when you were on your way. You are so much more grown up, almost 4 (!), and I think you really understand what’s happening in a way that he couldn’t. And, in so many ways, you’re still my baby girl...

We have thought for a long time that you would be our last child. I never want you to feel displaced as our baby, or “lost in the middle”. I hope that you know how blessed you are to have siblings. I always felt like there was a huge part of my life missing and would have preferred a house full of kids, noise, activity... excitement. We will definitely have that, my snugglebug. I just pray it’s not too much for you.

I am juggling a lot right now: my mothering, my business and patients, our home and finances, cooking/cleaning/gardening, nourishing myself and my creativity, supporting my Ma, and grieving my Pop... I constantly feel like I have too many balls in the air and that I’m usually dropping one or more of them. I am really working on staying centered, balanced, focused and present-- especially with you and Levi. You two are my greatest gifts and I love you both more than you could possibly imagine.

The coming year may be challenging for us as your grow into your new role and discover that you’ll need to share me even more. I promise to be fully present with you everyday, to shower you with kisses and squeeze you as much as you let me. I never want you to doubt or question for one instant how much my heart overflows with love everytimeI look at you.

Sweet dreams, my big girl. I love you always.