Yesterday was Valentines Day.
I haven’t written you a letter here in a long time. You’re older now – five and A HALF – as you like to say – and you have opinions about what I can say about you online now. All too often I want to take a picture or tell a funny story and you ask me not to (although there are PLENTY of things you demand I take photos of for sharing, too, just not what I want to share). So I’ll keep this post short and just include the photos you approved of.
You are crazy about this bandana you found in a bag of old dance costumes we rescued from our church rummage sale. I have to fight to keep you from wearing it every day, and you often put it on right after your bath so that your hair is all hokey pokey when it dries. It looks adorable on you.
Our piano bit the dust, sadly, thanks to the stupid mice we’ve been battling since our last cat died. They ate away all the felt and it would have cost more to fix than we had. But this Christmas we bought you a portable keyboard which you often bring up to my office to play while I work, and you continue to display an uncanny musical sense. If I have music on in the office you can often pick out the melody on the keyboard. You are remarkable.
As I continue to have a love affair with Pinterest, we’ve actually begun tackling some craft projects together. Thanks to a smart idea from my friend Kristen we hand-made your Valentines cards for your class. We put together a photo of you, a lollipop, and some stickers and glitter to make 28 cards. You wanted to make a few less but we talked about how even though that one kid wasn’t your friend that one time doesn’t mean you get to skip giving them a valentine. Kid dynamics in classes are crazy, aren’t they?
We often spend Saturday mornings together going to events or other fun stuff, and we often land at the same Mexican restaurant for lunch on those days. The servers all know us and are really nice, and don’t yell at you when you raise and lower the window shades repeatedly. We have long, intense talks on those days. On Saturday we spoke at length, again, about death and loss and what happens when you die. Since our friend Moe died, you’ve been pretty fixated on that topic. I’m so sorry that you know that daddies sometimes die now. It’s tough. You are particularly interested in your grandfathers, both of whom died before you were born. So we look at photographs of them often and talk about what they were like. We talk about your brothers, too, and how you miss them and wish you’d met them. We also talk a lot about God and Heaven. You’ve decided to be a believer like your Grandma, meaning you believe in Jesus, which your Daddy struggles with but accepts (I believe in God but am less sure about Jesus).
But that doesn’t mean our lunches aren’t fun.
Don’t worry, we were only pretending to yell in that picture.
I love you, my sweet girl. You are smart and funny and brave and strong and true. You have a clearer sense of self than I could have ever imagined; my heart hopes you hang on to that for the rest of your life. You live in a house full of yelling and chaos and stress, but one also full of love and games and laughter. I think it’s a pretty good balance.
You are the most amazing, beautiful girl. You are my heart. Thank you for letting me be your mom.