Friday, June 13, 2008

Seventeen Months

Dear Maddie,

It's hard to believe that next month it will be a year and a half that you've been with us. Though you've only been around 17 months, it seems you've been a part of our lives, of us, forever. This morning at 5:40 am when you called out "MaMA!" I half laughed, half sighed at how completely you've taken over my heart. My pre-coffee, half-awake six o'clock self is no match for you: happy, loving, energetic and ready for breakfast.

I can't picture what my day would be like without you. Who would demand food constantly, putting away yogurt cups and cheese sticks and meatballs and broccoli like nobody's business? Who would read to me from her picture books, pointing out "kitty" and "kite," (um)"brella" and "baby," "girl" and "goggles?" Who would provide constant entertainment, singing, dancing, clicking, slapping, climbing, squatting, rolling, swinging, running and flailing all about the house?

Today in Costco a lovely old woman approached the cart and remarked that you looked like the answer to every parent's dream. I told her the truth: you are certainly the answer to mine. For the most part you have made parenthood a really smooth ride. You are amiable, gentle, loving, funny, talkative, snuggly, sweet, playful, inquisitive and caring. (You are also insistent, persistent, prone to squawking, and quite the climber/adventurer/daredevil, which are qualities that make you who you are but keep me on my toes).

This picture actually does a great job of capturing the fact that you rarely get frustrated. When you insisted on crawling into the pocket beneath your stroller I chose to let you go ahead, knowing at some point you would get stuck. But instead of giving up or getting upset, you found reason to laugh. This is how you approach most adventures these days: with dogged determination and curious as a cat, tempered by a sweet, happy, easygoing spirit.

As a matter of fact, when we were on vacation in Oregon, for the longest minute of my life, I thought I'd lost you. You disappeared from a play structure at a mall. I ran around twice, three times looking in tunnels and on structures, my heart beating inside my chest like the rumble of a freight train skimming past my nose. The scariest moment in my life quickly became one of the funniest as I found you, twenty yards away, sitting and posing for a photographer in the front of a Picture People studio. There you sat, barefoot and dirty, having pushed the well-dressed, fancy-coiffed patron off his skateboard, taking his place before the camera. My girl, always providing comic relief.

This seventeenth month brought lots of changes, from 3-hour naps that preceded 3 new teeth, including two delightful molars for chewing up the mountains of food consumed daily. It also brought countless new words and their funny combinations like "baby girl" and "dada man." You love to watch your reflection in the doors, dancing and talking and sticking out your tongue and putting on quite the show of self-amusement. And your are in the habit of giving out multiple delicious kisses each day and I never, ever tire of them.

Thank you for being you, for giving me life, for reminding me that no day is without adventure, no meal without mess, no kiss without sweetness. Thank you for saying "hi" to strangers, sharing your snacks with friends, being gentle with babies and kind to your dog. Thank you for giving me reason to love recklessly and wildly. You really are our dream come true.



The Ulrickson Fam said...

What a cutie. I love your thoughts- she will treasure them!

Sanctification said...

You are the most loving mother I have seen, you see everything she does just as it is, so precious.