Monday, May 14, 2012

Maddie: 64 Months

Dear Maddie,

Today you are five years and four months old. Yesterday was Mother's Day, and I shared with you the story of my very first Mother's Day six years ago, when I had just found out I was pregnant. It was such a wonderful, glorious, hopeful day as I sat in church and bawled throughout worship. the greatest, most heartfelt prayer of life had been answered: I was going to be a mom. And not just anybody's mom; I'm your Mama.

Being your Mama has been the most fulfilling yet challenging job of my life. You are a child who is passionate and curious. You are determined and strong. You are the best and most difficult parts of both your Daddy and me, and it makes for some interesting adventures in parenting. I keep reminding myself that both of your parents turned out okay, even despite ourselves, so even on our worst days I remember I'm just planting seeds; it's going to be a long time before I see all the fruit.

You love all creatures, great and small. You will observe bugs outside for hours at a time, making them little homes of tupperware, grass, and flower petals (for a soft bed, of course). You catch butterflies and bees in your net and watch with equal parts curiosity and amazement as they fly around. Snails and slugs are allowed to crawl up your arms and over your legs, much to my dismay. The slime never bothers you; instead the snails are "kissing" you as they glide along. So I just let it be (and then insist your scrub up before dinner).

You are quick and a lively conversationalist. We are constantly talking. Up until you started listening to the Bible on CD in the car, following along in your big book, I can't remember a time when the car has been so silent. Often my "nap times" are just an excuse to enjoy an hour of quiet, a break from the neverending stream of questions, observations, challenges, debates and musings that originate in that marvelous brain of yours.

This morning Sam woke early and crawled in bed between Daddy and I, where he promptly fell back asleep, snoring, arms raised above his head, body snuggled in tight. When you came in an hour later, you laid on top of Daddy, leaned over to give Sam a gentle kiss, remarked how cute he was, and said, "I just LOVE being a big sister." It was so tender and so unexpected, given your sibling quibbles of late. Yet such a good reminder that despite all the petty differences and disputes, down deep you are a proud, loving, protective big sister.

Yesterday we had lunch at one of our favorite places in the city. I ordered an enormous serving of mussels and the two of you couldn't keep your hands off my plate. Long after the shells were emptied, the two of you took turns slurping the garlicky sauce from the bowl, completely coating the table and your clothes with gobs and gobs of oil. At one point, the waiter came by to tell me that when the owner came through the door and saw those two kids joyously slurping down mussel juice, it was one of her happiest moments in the restaurant. Much like your sweatshirts will now and forever be covered in oily stains, I trust that the memory of your joy-filled, shiny faces will stick with me long into the future.

Thanks for making me a Mama on that Mother's Day years ago. Thanks for continuing to surprise and encourage me every day with who you are and what you are capable of doing. Thanks for reminding me to stop and enjoy the slowness of snails, the delight of slurping garlicky sauce from a mussel shell, and the importance of praying daily for the ability to be the best mom I can be.

I love you, marvelous, funny, creative, spunky, assertive, sassy, dramatic, hilarious girl.



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