Dear Mary Elizabeth,
Happy birthday! Two years old – wow! Two years old and your constant curiosity has not resulted in too many casualties besides a busted lip, a bruise here and there, and a broken leg – wow-wow-wow! Here’s a much-deserved hat tip to your very busy guardian angel.
My adventurous, sweet Mary Elizabeth, known as M.E. to your big sisters and to others who love you, just recently you kept finagling with a gate at Gaba and Papa’s back deck. On the other side was a steep set of treacherous wooden stairs. Papa kept trying to divert you, but you are tenacious.
“What is she doing?” Papa said. A rhetorical question, I’m sure.
“She’s on a mission to kill herself,” Madeline said.
You certainly keep us on our toes, digging through drawers, putting paper in your mouth and chewing it into a pulpy wad and calling it gum, popping other foreign objects in your mouth, running away from me when I’m trying to get you dressed (or trying to fish out one of those foreign objects from your mouth), and scaling anything that’s taller than you are.
Your daredevil tactics are surpassed only by your happiness. My dear, you are deliriously, unabashedly happy. I love the way you greet me in the morning with smiles or, “Mama!” Your smile – sometimes on the impish side – warms a room. Your giggles and the way you say, “More!” when you want me to keep tickling you or kissing your round, soft belly. The way you quickly walk with a hop in your step and with purpose, pumping your right arm as you go – it’s your happiness overflowing.
I love how cuddly you are, too. Yes, you’re a mover and shaker, but you’re also, by far, my most affectionate child. You offer spontaneous hugs, and you’ll rest your head on my shoulder when I scoop you up into my arms. You’ll ask for “milk in cup” when you want the cow stuff and “mama’s milk” when you want to be close to me and close is what you get. The fidgeting stops as you fold into me, my growing, preggo belly not getting in your way at all as you wrap your body around mine.
You’re also more of a mama’s girl than your big sisters and always want me to be the one who puts you to sleep. Recently, I had plans to go to confession. I picked you up, and you grabbed a hold of my clothes with a tight, fearful grip and said, “Mama?” I told you I had to go bye-bye and that Daddy was going to get you asleep. You burst into tears and clung more tightly to me. At that moment, it didn’t seem right to leave you stranded and wanting, especially since I’d just returned from a mom’s day away and also because I’d planned to confess some of my failings of a mother. Yes, O Faithful Remnant, soon enough you’ll discover your mama’s far from perfect. So I stayed put. I nursed you in the glider – what you call “rocker chair.” We read Brown Bear, Brown Bear and Me, Too. Then you wanted more “mama’s milk.” After just a few sips, you said, “Sunshine,” which means you wanted me to sing “You Are My Sunshine.” You find music entrancing – everything from the Beatles to Beethoven, and you’ll often sing softly along with me when I croon to you.
After my lullaby, I blessed you, gently tracing the shape of a cross on your forehead, a part of our nightly ritual. “God bless you,” I whispered.
You smiled and said, “Bless you.”
Mary Elizabeth, may God bless you as much as you bless me – and others. We have an elderly neighbor who likes to sit out in the sunshine now that the weather is becoming warmer and read. You always walk over to him and hug his legs. You give love freely, indiscrimnately. The first time you did this I apologized and started to lead you away by the hand, but the man smiled and said, “I’m not used to little girls hugging me. It feels good.”
You are good to the world. You are good to me. You came into this world as a surprise, and like any good surprise, you’ve offered me wonder. I’m thankful for your happy, friendly nature, the magical glint in those earthy green eyes of yours, your penchant for adventure, and your cuddliness. I love everything about you – from your nose to your toes and all that’s inside of you and all that will bloom as you continue to grow. Hold onto your happiness, Mary Elizabeth. Life is sweet. Drink it up. Life is beautiful. Pay attention. Life is what you make of it, and you make it very, very happy.
|We had a little celebration on your actual birthday. This weekend we’ll be throwing a small family shindig with a strawberry theme. I can’t wait to see how happy you’ll be then!|
I love you, sweet girl. Happy, happy birthday!