She turned six at 12:04 a.m. today. The first six years passed about as quickly as her labor story. We made it to the hospital with minutes to spare before she bolted out into the world into the hands of an amazingly calm nurse, with as stunned of a look on her face as there was on mine.
The nostalgic lens of memory is hard on a Mama each birthday. One year closer to leaving the nest. One year closer to independence. One year of sweet childhood innocence whizzing by me again. Treasuring each moment is difficult from minute to minute with children, yet even when I do, I still find myself grieving, wishing desperately for one more chance to hold her at her birth and every minute beyond again. Yet, I am equally as ecstatic that I have a daughter who has just completed her sixth trip around the sun.
Our Lou Bird is quite a character. If you didn’t know her well, you would think she was the most shy creature on the planet. At home and in familiar surroundings, she comes alive. Imaginative, nurturing, quirky, spunky, observant, girly girl and tomboy, compassionate, intelligent, head strong, sensitive, and loyal, my girl. She inherited her daddy’s laid back demeanor but with a healthy dose of estrogen thrown in the mix to keep you on your toes with sudden mood swings (oh my, they start early)! She loves to dance when she thinks no one is watching. She hates having her picture taken and it is a rare and candid moment to catch her willingly smiling in pixels. She adores Buddy and loves organizing his Lego pieces as he builds a new ship. She sleeps with no less than twenty of her “babies” in the bed with her each night. She wants to be a scientist, farmer, veterinarian, and a mom. We have been instructed that we are to visit her frequently (some days, we are even required to live on the farm with her) and I will help her take care of her babies. Gladly, my dear, and with great pleasure.
I am much more insecure raising a daughter than I am a son. Is it because I desperately want to be an admirable and respectable role model for her as a woman and a mother, knowing I fall short of that goal most days? Or is it because I know I could never live up to the woman I had as mother, realizing that it is damn near impossible for me to deserve the level of love and admiration I had for Mama. Whatever the reason, I struggle, fearful that she will one day look at me as a thorn in her side rather than her shelther in her storm. I can only hope that my own supply of estrogen causes this insecurity and paranoia, and that when it’s all said and done, she will call me her friend.
That dancing I mentioned, when she thinks no one is looking? It’s to a rhythm that she creates on her own, refusing to conform to what society or any individual expects of her movements. It’s one of the most unique and inspiring qualities about her and one day I hope she realizes that in blazing the trail, she will conquer the most challenging summits.
She sleeps soundly in her bed after an eventful day filled with a day off from school work, a live performance of Madeline and the Bad Hat, sushi for lunch, opening of presents, crab legs and mac-n-cheese for dinner (her request), and chocolate cake with strawberry icing with two of her best friends and family to wrap it all up.
When she was three years old, she made up a song that she usually sang at night while being tucked into bed. Here are her words: “When the sun goes away, the stars they will shine. God bwess my family, all da time.” She would then proceed to tell the parent tucking her in, “I love you, all da time.” Right back at you, Lou….all the time.