Wednesday, January 14, 2009

4 1/2

dear sweetbird,

on monday you turned four and a half. or as you like to say, almost five.

mostly you are just, like, totally awesome. you wake up and say things like, what if all we had to eat for the rest of our lives were doughnuts? and for the next several minutes we lie in bed and spin your sugar fantasy until we are both excited to the point that we feel as if obama might help us bring about this change.

and speaking of obama, what a great age for you to grow up in, kiddo. if our president elect does right by this country, you will be 12 1/2 by the time he bids adieu. hopefully by then you will have cultivated a fine understanding of personal responsibility and will know just what it means to be an active participant in your society. i promise you, service to others is the true path to happiness. daddy says that when it looked like obama might win, you went up to the screen and kissed it. barack obama! you'd shout for months on end. it's hard to do anything but echo this sentiment.

i'd now like to talk wardrobe. there is not one person in your village that has not ripped their hair out in frustration over your unwillingness to just get dressed like a normal person. you don't like buttons, seams, zippers or anything that doesn't feel like a studio 54 pantsuit. and you want to wear skirts. everyday. even if it's minus four and the frost is glued to the windows, you look at me with unshakable resolve and say, it looks like a great day for a skirt. so we've learned to compromise. no to jeans. yes to "soft pants". no to skirts, yes to skirts over soft pants. so finally, after months of knock down, drag out mornings, you flutter to school looking not unlike a cross between dorothy hamill and a very hip bag lady.

so back to your awesomeness. you have all of these friends that you love so much.and you are really, really good to them. arabella softens you and makes you think before you speak. when she came over for her first sleepover, i heard you telling her that she could look around you room so she could be familiar with things. and even when she woke up in the middle of the night, crying for her momma, you just stroked her hair and said, you can share my mommy if you are scared.

these sleepovers are not all sweetness and light. even though you love ruby like a rock, for some reason your friendship with her makes you act like some sort of snakebitten, backwoods preacher who speaks in tongues and terrifies his congregation. when she stays the night, you are so bossy and crazy that i don't know what to do with you. the last time ruby stayed over, you were so tough, it made me want to start googling orphanages buying up copies of 'mommy dearest'. every time you spoke to me it felt like a chinese star had just been chucked at my jugular. i remember calling ruby's mom and saying, i can't do this. bring tequila. and that's just it, along with a strong affection for each other, annie and like to cook and drink margaritas. and when doug comes home and finds us giggling in the kitchen, he mixes those margaritas even stronger. so, if you could find a way in your heart to resolve the demons that rise up whenever you and ruby get together, that would be awesome.

and finally, we have forest. the perverbial boy next door. you two are inseparable and you follow each other around so closely that his mom and i think there must be some invisible string that ties you together. he loves to wail on your karaoke machine and to show you old pink panther movies. you love to feed him the things i cook and take him to visit the neighbors. this is forest! you say proudly as if you were a traveling salesman presenting some new and exciting vacuum cleaner: it's new! it's rare! it's a total must have!

as you grow, you continue to pursue your favorite activities. you draw things that would make matt groening smile and when you sing, swear i can hear the beginnings of a fine vibrato. you sleep well. you like to eat guacamole. you keep this up and i'm going ask you to go to acapulco with me for your college spring break.

oh my sweetbird, you are growing up so quickly. and i am trying to grow along with you; to guide you, to honor you. and even though i often trip and stumble behind you, i work hard to clear you a smooth path so you don't have to. i am sorry if i don't get it all right all the time, but i'm here for you, i'm here for you, i'm here for you.

and i've begun a therapy slush fund, just in case.




Nicole Callihan said...

I love this. Happy half-birthday, Harper!

Gavin Green said...

so sweet. if nothing else she has this beautiful chronicle from her mama...

Glenn T said...

This is awesome... so awesome it makes me want to not just be a parent, but to be a mom...