Saturday, December 31, 2011

To Ainsley May on your Third Birthday

Dear Sweet Ainsley Girl,

I wanted you from the day I was born.  I practiced and planned for you for hours and weeks and years.  Never in my wildest most delicious and wonderful dreams, could I have imagined you.

You are everything that I wanted and over the top more.  You didn't just make me a mama, you changed me, molded me into the best person that I could be.  You tested my strength, my mind and my resolve and I grow every day because of you.

You have not been easy, but what baby is?  Looking back I know now who you were from the start, Your strong solid voice ringing out loud and clear.  You are you, and you have been all along.  Effervescent and curious and able and willing.  I couldn't possibly love you more.

And now you are three and this seems impossible.  Not because time has gone so fast but because you have grown so and when I look back and remember you as a baby, a tyke, I see those striking bold eyes and I remember like it was yesterday.

Already I bore you with stories of your baby years, hours spent rocking and swaying, nursing and playing.  For those days are now more precious to me than ever.  Once you learned how those little legs worked they have not sat still for a moment and I cherish those days when you needed me so.

Though really now my sweet bug?  I need you.  You make me whole and strong and complete.  For even when I raise my voice in distress and frustration and even when we butt heads and opinions over and over I love you to the moon and back.  But you know that, because I tell you until you smile at me with your big brown eyes and say "i yuv you too mama".

For all of our butting and loudness and will, we have such a bond us two.  And now that you're three we play you and I, we talk like good friends and mama's and daughters and hold hands and skip and the world is ours.

Well, really, it's yours my bug.  Because from the moment I locked eyes on you I felt something that I've never known before, and no, not just that new mama unconditional love (but that was there too).  No, I knew that you were someone special, unique and challenging and ultimately a light in this sometimes dark world.  I pray every day that you grow to see your potential, that the beaming spark in you never fades, and that you never lose that loud strong voice.  It will serve you so well my bug.

You are my world Ainsley May.  And this world is better because of you.  Today, on your third birthday I know that more than ever before.  And tomorrow my bug?  The world will be better still, for you are here and loud and strong and free.  For that I will always rejoice.  Happy Birthday my sweet Ainsley girl!

Christmas Chameleon

And we're back.  I'm sitting among unpacked bags, children's car clutter, dessert dishes and dirty laundry.  Instead of doing anything about all of that I'm sipping on wine, breathing deep, relishing in the calm and quiet of this last night of this year after such a full amazing week.

This was the first year that I had reservations about our holiday sojourn.  Not for the family and the fun no, but for the effort and the strain and the FARness of it all.  I was so craving a quiet Christmas morning at home, just us 4, jammies and coffee and cocoa and time and laze.  Then a magical quick trip north to be with all those that we love in time for dinner and stories and play.

But life isn't quite like that is it?  So we compromise and we travel and we strain because in the end it's just about always worth it.  And let me tell you.  It was worth it.

We had an absolutele blast in Minnesota.  Ainsley's birthday was a resounding success.  Christmas went as smoothly and yummily as a Chrsitmas with 5 grandchildren can go, and each spare moment was spent purposefully and joyfully. 

I was so pleased with my girls this trip.  All that excitement and fun is enough to tire out the most seasoned adult let alone a 3 year old and her toddler sis.  Ainsley remained ever grateful for her generous gifts, enthusiastic about EVERYTHING and slept like a champ (well, once we got her calm enough to fall asleep :o).  Louise was the doll of the ball, dealing well with so much nabbing of new treasures and toting around.  She mostly enjoyed all the friendly loved ones to snuggle and play with, new books to oggle over and good food to eat. She absolutely adored her younger baby cousins and each and every toy that wasn't her own.  Ah, just as Christmas should be.

The girls are both at these delicious ages where they so relish in the extra love and attention of their family. It's no longer a battle to acclimate to a new space, but an ease of transition into a much adored home away from home.  Ainsley runs to her biggest big girl bed at Grammy and Pop's and searches immediately for treasured toys and hide outs.  Most nights we found Christmas relics stashed around her room, her world so engrossed in theirs.  At Nana and Grandpa Dan's the girls run the hallways, laughing at the echo of their little voices on the long walls, begging to go outside to swing and read all of nana's special books.

And me?  I find myself chameleon-ing back to who I used to be in these places.  A young woman, still so needing my own mama and the comforts of home.  Doing things the way they've always been done because it was easier, more comfortable than finding my own way.  Yet at the same time relishing in the woman I've become, with my own ways and our own lives.  It's pretty amazing to marry these two, reconciling it all in the journey of growing up during this special celebratory end of year time when reflection and glee are abundant.

So while its hard to celebrate such a grand holiday away from our home I'm so thankful for these special places and faces that my girls, and I, hold so dear, and this time of year to remember it all, this year and all the years that led up to it.  Pretty amazing stuff.

Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!