To My Daughter on Her 6th Birthday

Maeve, Day 1

Maeve, Day 1

Dear Maeve,

Happy birthday sweetheart! 6 is a big year Рyou started kindergarten  and you are so good at the big sister thing we got you ANOTHER little sister!

I just wanted to tell you how proud I am of you every day. You are a smart, adventurous, curious, compassionate and loving little girl. I say little even though you really aren’t little anymore.

Each birthday for you is so, so happy for me and daddy, but also a bit sad. You are our little peanut butter. You made us parents, and as you get older there is less and less of baby Maeve and more and more of grown-up Maeve. Sometimes we’d just like to slow things down a bit, have you be our baby a little longer, but that isn’t how it works. And so we watch you grow up, get bigger and stronger and we get prouder and prouder with every day that goes by.

Mama and Maeve

Mama and Maeve

I feel sometimes like you and I grew up together. I didn’t so much know what I was doing when you were born and the first couple of months were tough as we figured each other out. You looked so wise with those deep blue-grey eyes, like you knew exactly what was going on and were disappointed to have gotten a dud of a mother in the parent lottery. But we stuck with it, and six years later I am so, so happy that you are my daughter and I am your mother.

When parents talk about having babies they always speak about how unprepared they were for just how much they would love their child. Like floodgates of love opened that they didn’t even know existed. I felt, and feel, that too for you and your sisters. But what I was truly unprepared for is how much you would love me in return. How you’d bring me apples when I was sick from being pregnant with your sisters. How you give me hugs when you know I’m feeling down. How you crawl into bed with us some nights and snuggle up close (no matter what daddy says, don’t ever stop doing that please!). How you draw me beautiful pictures of rainbows where red is the biggest stripe because you know it is my favorite color.

You have an extraordinary capacity to give, and I’ve found in life that it is by giving that you let yourself receive in return what you need- compassion, love, chocolate. You can give too much- it does happen- but you’ll find the universe will come back around and make it right somehow. Just know how much we love you, how proud we are of you, how we are here for you every step of the way as you keep growing up into the remarkable person I already see inside of you.

And the Daddy guy too.

And the Daddy guy too.

Happy Birthday baby girl! Now go eat a cupcake!

Love,

Mama

My Fairy Princess Today

My Fairy Princess Today

Why I Hate Summer

Memorial Day weekend is upon us and with it the unofficial start of summer. School will be out soon, vacations are planned, sunscreen and bug spray have been stockpiled and we are awaiting the infestation of millions of cicadas. The excitement is almost palpable, etched on little faces like its Christmas Eve.

And I hate all of it. Well, not the school part.

I am a pasty-white girl with frizzy hair and the sweetest blood this side of the Mississippi. I spend summer slathering and re-slathering my skin in SPF 75 and I will still freckle. My hair will look like I stuck my finger in a socket for the next 12 weeks. Mosquitoes will flock to me like I’m a walking dessert buffet. I will spend the summer smelling of zinc oxide and DEET.

I hate sand in my shoes. I loathe getting saltwater up my nose. Chlorine turns my expensively-colored hair all sorts of hues. Shaving my legs is a chore and bikini waxes are the ultimate revenge for Eve biting that goddamn apple.

My genetic make-up was refined over a millennia in the cloudy climes of Ireland, a place where they built a temple so the sun’s rays could take the souls of the dead at the winter solstice. I therefore sweat constantly and profusely in a vain attempt to keep cool. My skin can turn pink after 15 minutes of sun exposure. My husband’s family lives near the ocean in Orange County, CA and on the occasions he brings up moving closer to them I remind him we’d have to invent a giant sunscreen bubble I could live in just to survive.

Compounding all of this is the addition of children to the equation. More sunscreen. More bug spray. Shoes and clothes and hair filled with sand. Stinky, sweaty feet. Complaints about bug bites and it being sooooo hooooottt mom….

It’s not all bad I guess. I do love thunderstorms and boardwalks at night. Barbecues and baseball games with hot dogs and a freezing cold beer are some of life’s small treasures. Well, until I try to peel myself off of the stadium seat I’ve become glued to. I like drippy cherry Popsicles and frozen lemonade and county fair funnel cake too. A cool summer evening with the breeze coming up off the ocean and a chilled glass of wine is a delight. But still.

Our air conditioning crapped out last week and we thought we might need to replace the unit, a prospect we can’t afford at the moment. The thought of spending the summer pregnant and then with a newborn in a house without AC was terrifying. Thankfully it only took a few pounds of freon and a simple repair to fix, and so I can spend the next few months holed up in comfort, Miss Havisham-style.

I look forward to autumn, my favorite season, where cool breezes replace hot winds and humidity gives way to crispness. I love warm sweaters and fuzzy slippers, tall boots and patterned tights. The smell of fireplaces in our neighborhood burning away while I sip hot cocoa and wrap myself in my favorite blanket. We’ll carve pumpkins and make pies; pick apples and start a leaf collection. Stews and hearty meals will simmer in the crockpot while the girls play outside in a bug-free yard. I get to buy brand-new school supplies for my little kindergartener and walk her to the bus stop in galoshes and light jackets.

Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Now to just get through the next three months…