Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sweet Pea

I wrote this for the Family & Friends blog.  It had really cute pictures.  I'm sorry, but I took them all out, except for one that's about 30 years old, of me and my sisters.  We are kind of cute, but trust me, Linden's cuter.  And yes, I went ahead and bought the damn doll.  I got Rebecca, the 1914 Russian immigrant. 
She turns seven tomorrow. It's our first birthday with her, our first kid's birthday despite her being the younger of the two. I talked to her the other night about what a big year six has been. New family, new country, new language. Plus lots of other more typical, but still huge, developments. Learned to ride a bike. Learned to sound out words. Learned to whistle, to snap, to turn a cartwheel, and to crack an egg into a bowl. Lost teeth, grew new ones. Seven will hopefully bring more stability, but just as much learning. At the rate she's going, I won't be surprised if she's reading chapter books by this time next year. And, we all hope, her bangs will have grown out and she'll no longer look like an English Sheepdog half the time. 

Tonight I'm up late because I couldn't start the cheesecake she requested until after bedtime, and then it turned out I'd forgotten a few key ingredients (like, um, cream cheese and graham crackers) and had to go to the store first. As she was crawling into bed (late, of course, because I had things to do once she got to sleep), she added casually, "And I need fun erasers for my classmates since we're not bringing cupcakes." This came from a conversation we had about two months ago, when she anticipated bringing in treats for her birthday, and I reminded her of the letter home we got the first week in school asking families to not do that. I could easily have just said, no, we're not doing erasers either, but what the hell. (Or, as Oak inadvertantly says, "Mutt the heck.") It's her first birthday here. Dollar Tree is open late, it turns out, and I figured it's worth the 3 bucks for the 3 dozen silly erasers if it makes her feel magnificent on her birthday.

Besides, it's a long honored family tradition that Mom be crabby on special occasions because she stayed up too late the night before trying to finish up some handicraft that no one will fully appreciate until years later, if ever. Am I right, sisters?

(Who are all those skinny, dark-haired young women, anyway?*)

This child.
She's been through a lot. I have not always been the Mama she deserves, which breaks my heart. She's still not 100% sure what the purpose of a Papa is, which breaks the Winemaker's heart. She is gonna have some stuff to work on as she gets older. But she has a belly laugh that is full of joy. She is a willing helper, and her help is actually helpful. She is a persistent learner. She is a loving friend. She takes things seriously, and she tries so hard. She's a rule follower, and she's a peace lover.

We took her to the Trillium Festival at a local park a few weeks ago, and on the guided hike, she told the ranger, "I have a question!"


"My middle name is Trillium!" He was bemused. I was bowled over with love.

Then on our way home, she said, "I love being in the woods. It makes me happy." Oh, sweet girl. I am so glad. Let's go hiking again soon.

Happy Birthday, sweet pea!

*Little joke for the F&F blog, because two of my sisters are now blonde, the other two of us have plenty of grey, and three of us are noticably chunkier than we were here.  Damn skinny older sister. 

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