Mothering

4 Just Like That

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There are days from last week that are a blur but the feelings from this day a year ago are still fresh. It all still holds true. So instead of reiterating how awed I am by who you are (because I am, every breath of yours leaves me speechless) I want to capture what touched me most on your fourth birthday.

-Today you were in the driver’s seat calling all the shots. When asked what you wanted to do, without a moment’s hesitation, you said you wanted to visit great-grandma’s rock (translation: go to the cemetery where she’s buried). You were one day shy of one when she died. She was at the hospital the day you were born to welcome you in her arms. She held you and played with you as much as her strength allowed that awful year cancer took over. When her body could no longer hold you, she’d sit with joy in her eyes watching you and your sister. We have talked about her a lot since she died because we love her so much and miss her terribly. You talk about her, too, and talk about how much you miss her. A few months ago, you cried at night because you missed her so much. You barely knew her but somehow your heart aches for her. Perhaps you are connected in some cosmic way words cannot explain. Perhaps your sensitive heart senses our deep longing for her. Whatever it is, your deep love for her moves me every time. I can only imagine the kind of best buds you would have been. I’m sure she’s with you always and maybe she’ll visit you in dreams, sweet girl.

-We went to the bookstore and you and your sister got chapter books. While waiting to be seated afterwards for dinner, you each wrote your names inside. You wrote your name and your sister’s because you plan to share it. Such a small gesture but it speaks so loudly about who you are.

-You ran like mad today with your sister, wind in your hair, smile bursting on your face, laughter roaring out. When you fly free with her, and that laughter erupts, I’m afraid to break the spell. You’re wrapped in this bubble of wonder and glee and loving your sister and feeling invincible. It’s the most delicate and fierce thing to witness.

-At the end of the night, you were chatting away to yourself. Then you called my name to comment on how late it was and how you were so not tired. Two minutes later I looked back and I had to sleeping kiddos in my back seat. Your exuberant energy runs up until the very last second when you just can’t go anymore.

What to say to the little girl who lights my days? 4, 4, 4, 4. Where did the time go, mama? I love you fiercely and unabashedly, hoy y siempre.

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