Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy Birthday Ellie

Dear Elsbeth,
My Love.
My Bright and Shining Muse.
My First Born.

You are three now and the world is an even more interesting place to your inquisitive mind. Your range of questions seems, at times, to be a never ending stream of words coming from your mouth and it is all I can do to keep you supplied with an answer before you have the next question for me.

I love it. I want to fill you so full of knowledge that you will burst at the seams and that knowledge will spill out and effect all who surround you.

But that is only sometimes. Other times, well, you have ALL the answers already. And that has proven difficult for us both. You are quite certain that milk is a sugar-free product and very safe to drink in bed. Unfortunately there have been many tears shed over this fact because I refuse to acquiesce and you are sent to bed with a cup of water.

I have finally met my match in the Will Made of Steel department. There are days when I want to be the one who gets to cry. And sometimes I do. In secret. And then I tell myself to suck it up. I signed up for this and IF I do this job right. IF I can channel your will and your energy in the right direction over the years, IF I can build a strong foundation in your heart, OH the person you may become! You were born to lead. But these years......

Yes, they are the wonder years, but they are the trying years too. I know it's hard for you sometimes. You're just figuring all of this out, and I...... Well, I'm your guide. I was given to you to arm you with the tools to navigate the storms of life. I am your teacher, I was given to you to show you how walk, how to talk. How to BE.

I yelled at you the other day, and I am sorry for that. You told me that I hurt the ears of the mouse that has been plaguing us recently. (Most everything is that mouse's fault according to you) As soon as the words passed my lips and my heart, I felt sorrow. And I apologized to you almost immediately. I hope you always say you're sorry when you're wrong. And even if your act was justified, I hope you still say it just to soothe the heart of the person you hurt. After I apologized, I explained to you that I was so upset because I had been asking you to get dressed for thirty minutes. "So, what do you think I should have done?" I asked.

"Whispered it to me," you whispered.

So, for the rest of the day anything I wanted you do do, I asked it in a whisper. And you know what? You did all of it almost immediately! But, that was only a day and the next day presented us with it's own set of challenges.

You have taught me, the girl who lived from one hapless moment to the next, the girl you would have forgotten her head if it weren't attached. You have taught me to always look ahead, to be prepared for the next situation with you. And I have taught you to be prepared for what's to come.

We took a ride on an airplane last year and several people scoffed at the "practicing flying" that we did together. For more than a week, I would take your little toy suitcase that we had packed with toys and together we would go through all the motions of what it takes to board and fly on an airplane. We made it a game. We went through security and took our shoes off, we waited in line to board the plane, and then I held you in my lap and simulated takeoff and turbulence so you wouldn't be afraid when the real thing happened. Oh, how we giggled as I jostled you around on my lap!

But you know what? When the time came to really fly, you were almost an old pro. And I realized that I had been right in doing what I did. Ellie, you have taught me to listen to my inner voice that knows how to be your Mother. Because a part of me is a big part of you. I understand you. those times when I don't. You have taught me to ask for help.

In the last few months your imagination has exploded into something wondrous to behold. We make circuses and villages with your collection of figurines (most of which are unicorns) and you have different voices for everyone and make them "talk". This is one of my most cherished parts of the last year and I try to mentally videotape the things you say and these pretend games we play together. I could sit for hours and just ask you questions (Kinda like you do to me) Just to hear your answers.

You are whip smart, stubborn as hell, and in possession of a most tender heart.
I marvel at you.
I adore you.
I pray that I may rise each day to meet the new challenges that being your parent entails.
And I hope that when it is all said and done, and I have left this Earth, that you will have become the person I catch glimpses of in my mind's eye. And that even though I will be gone, a part of me will go on. For we are two different shaped garments cut from the same cloth. *

*I am fully aware that this parenting business is a team effort on the part of my husband and myself. I could not do this without him and am AMAZED at the Mothers who do it on their own. This post is simply about my relationship with a daughter who is much like me in spirit and my experiences with her. I acknowledge and praise the partnership I have had in the creation and raising of my children. My husband is a better Father than I could have ever dreamed of and for that I am grateful beyond words.