Tuesday, November 23, 2010

letter to Ginger 21 months

Dear Ginger,

It's been forever since your last letter. Which is a shame because now I'm overwhelmed with all the things I want to tell you about.

Your hair has grown! Yippee! That means no more mohawk; awesome. But the cowlicks are still there; stupid. So If I dont put your hair in a ponytail or pigtails... it is so out of control. I'm sure you'll see pictures when youre older and wonder how I could neglect your appearance in such a way. I have no excuse.

Yet, no matter how crazy your hair is- I still find you to be the most beautiful in all the world. I am constantly staring at you. I hope I grow out of it because it might be creepy and embarrassing if in 15 or so years your boyfriend is all, "dude... why does your mom stare at you like she's going to eat you?" The other day our neighbor was over for dinner, his english isn't perfect but he said in regards to you, "her smile... it is so, how do you say? It is so... sincere." Yes that's exactly how you say it. You have such a beautiful smile. It goes ear to ear, your eyes form sparkling halfmoons and it is impossible not to be touched by it. But you my dear... you are a cunning one sometimes. When you do something naughty like hit or throw things in a fit of anger, Ill use my best admonishing mommy voice and say "GingeRrrr". And do you know what you do? You say in your sweetest I have no idea why you are angry voice, "HI!" flash that fabulous smile, and bestow upon me a warm hug. Your dad caught on to the danger of that move very quickly. "We can't let her do that," he said, but truth be told he's tied around your little finger and I've seen you use that same strategy successfully many a time.

Well I suppose it would help if I put this letter in perspective... the year is 2010, and you are 21 months today. You have a baby brother on the way. He'll be here in less than a month . You like to lift up my shirt and kiss the baby (my big round tummy). Sometimes you'll try to offer him snacks through my belly button. But still you are too young to understand the radical change that is quickly approaching. I am so excited for the arrival of your brother. I know without a doubt he belongs in this family and our blessings will be multiplied with his presence. But if I had to be completely honest I'll tell you that part of me is mourning the upcoming loss of the partnership of you and me. Not to dis-include your dad, of course. But being a stay at home mom means the two of us do everything together. My attention belongs to you, my day revolves around you. And I love it. This is the only time in my life I'll be the mother of one, and the only time in yours that you will be an only child. It is so special. That being said, I accept that this was if but for a season of our lives. It has been lovely and you have taught me and will continue to teach me the fundamentals of being a mother. As firstborn, you are bestowed/cursed with that privilege/job. You have introduced to me this new self. I cannot comprehend life before being a Mom. I have never been more comfortable with my role in this world before you. In a month things will change forever. But I am 100 percent confident it is a positive change. It is an exciting and wonderful change.

Anyway I digress... I want to tell you a few things about who you are and what you do up to this point of life. Ill start off with my most memorable story starring you. I dont think Ill ever forget it. You have excelled when it comes to sleeping my little one. We put you in your crib and you never fight it. Even if you arent tired you entertain yourself quietly. So on the rare occasion that you do wake up crying I dont question it. I suppose you could say- you never cry wolf. Months ago, You were just over a year old, you woke up in the middle of the night very upset. I brought you in bed with me. The problem is that because you are not used to seeping in our bed it is "playtime" for you give or take a few amphetimines). Its like someone dissolved an adderall or three in your vitamin D milk and you are totally high the second I lay you down. You sing, jump up and down, laugh... basically anything but sleep. So the only strategy I have is to not engage you. I lie down as still as I possibly can, with my eyes closed, pretending to be fast asleep. I'll even throw in a snore or two. That particular night after about a half hour of you going bananas, the bed became still and I could feel you hovering over me. I kept still with my eyes shut. You leaned in so close I could feel your breath on my face. And then you kissed my lips so sweetly and delicately and put your little hand on my cheek, stroking it softly. And I cried. I have never felt such pure love in my life. Except in the temple, with your father, but that is sacred and unique in its own way... as was this moment shared with you. I thought of Christ and came to appreciate and understand more completely the expression "pure love of Christ" and also what it means when the scriptures tell us to be child-like. Really you had no other intentions or motivations, no hidden agenda or manipulative thoughts; All you wanted at that moment was to give your mother the pure love you felt. As we get older it's hard to know how to show/feel/express love in a pure manner. We are sort of trained in the school of life to wonder; What can this person give me? or What does this person want from me?. It takes time and sometimes a lot of hoop jumping to build that trust. But apparently when it comes to babes and their mama's- all that's out the window. Love is felt not intellectualized. I know this is starting to sound dramatic but truly those moments are magic, they can trump the sadness and wear and tear of any rough challenging day. Still, I should change stories because I can see my self walking the line between sharing with you and then waxing poetic as if I'm the only one to have discovered this and now I must for forth and preach the good word! But first, can I get an Amen? Back on track, what a incredible, wonderful moment, I thank you for it and hope you have felt that same love from me daily.

Now you are a bit older, you'd be surprised the kind of growth that takes place in just a matter of months. So nine or so months later, you show expressions of love liberally. You always say "Love you" and your kisses are heaven. Except this one time last week. You were throwing a toddler fit over something I cant recall. It was quite a dramatic and unnecessary tantrum. So after a few moments of you crying as if your were earning a check for a long days work on the "Days of our Lives" set. Oh geez, in fifteen or so years by the time you read this you'll be all "what the heck is days of our lives, then you'll look it up on some ridiculously, unthinkable, technological device and realize... You are young/I am old. life. Where was I? Oh right, so youre throwing a massive, half real/half fake tantrum and I say, "gingy, why dont you come over here and cuddle with mommy?" So you turned to me, switched the crying from a wailing to a "life's just so unfair" sob and walked towards me.By that time you had Boogers running down your nose, lips and chin. Like, a ton of nasty boogs. And then you crawled into my lap, lightly fake sobbing now, puckered up your wet, slimy lips, leaned towards me, closed your eyes and asked sweetly and sincerey, "kiss?" And although a part of me was tempted to grab a kleenex first, I kissed those boogey lips and you smiled and rested your head on my chest, totally over your fit. And thats how much I love you. I love you so much I'd eat your snot if it meant making you feel better.

As of your twenty-first month you can count to ten, occasionally eleven- if the lighting is right. Your ABC's are coming along. You've got the tune and a few clusters of letters in the right place. Your vocabulary is a testament of being of your grammies lineage. To put it simply... you have a large vocabulary and are comfortable using your voice. You help us to be more aware of what we say, as you are quite the mimicker. Today you had the iphone in one hand (its this little, palm sized phone with... oh nevermind)and toast in the other hand. Moses was right there so setting down your toast was not an option. And no way are you giving up the phone. So I watched you, brows furrowed as you looked back and forth at the toast and iphone and finally you just sighed loudly and said, "Hmmmm, crap." Which is a fitting phrase for a conundrum such as that. You love Beauty and the Beast. We could watch it twice everyday and it seems like you'll never tire of it. You still have a great love for books which I hope lasts you a lifetime. You absolutely Love with a capital L- ART. And I am so with you. You are always asking me to draw things for you ( a cat, a rainbow, a tree)... a month or so ago... you wanted an octopus. I take these requests very seriously. You dream your mama draws you octopuses, well by George, You will have an octopus drawing Mama! Even if it means she'll forget to bring your snack and sippy cup to the park that afternoon because she so focused on the challenge. Honestly, Im here to teach you the important things in life... One of those things is; that to have your peers exclaim - "Your mom can draw one dope octopus," is comparatively more advantageous then "Youre mom packs a mean bag of cheddar goldfish." After that pearl of wisdom, you must feel far more socially and intellectually advanced then your friends. So let's just touch on humility, Sure Im awesome at drawing 8 legs on an ocean creature, but it doesnt mean I should think Im better than others, even though...Oh nevermind you get the point. Lesson: you can be dope and humble at the same time.

You are so very feminine; you love jewelry. A couple weeks ago I dressed you for church and while we were in sacrament, Dad was all, "Awww cute. I like how you put this necklace on G." Huh? I looked over and you were wearing my gold vintage necklace with a cameo on it. You picked it out, put on and rocked that church runway. This is the oh so superficial side of me speaking... I was almost as proud as I was when you counted to ten for the first time. Okay fine- I may have been just a smidge prouder when you happily wore it for all three hours of church. What can I say? But just as youre feminine I do see the beginning of a competitive spirit and at "My Gym" and the park you can keep up with the boys. Maybe this is all me projecting my motherly desires on you. Maybe I should make an appt with my shrink. Or perhaps, in a few years, Ill be proudly and obnoxiously exclaiming- I knew since she was one she'd kick butt on the soccer field! Oh. crap. listen to me. I sound like one of "those" moms. The "crazy, overwhelming, blinder wearing, live vicariously through your daughter" mom. It's okay... we caught this early, its not too late for me. Honey, I'll support you no matter what. (that was only a tinsy bit hard).

You are starting to embrace the little mommy in you. Which is quite relieving since your brother will be here shortly. You always pick up Elmo and say, "Ewwww, he's stinky. Nasty." Then you produce a diaper exclaiming "diaper change." So we change Elmo's diapee. a lot.
The best practice has been your cousin Willow. She's four months and quite adorable. In the beginning you were leery. But now You love to help. Saying "Oh Willow," with a sweet sigh, if shes upset and quick to offer a bottle or a pacifier.

And then there's the attitude that you are developing. I know this letter has been a lot of "Oh look how perfect and wonderful you are!" Wonderful, yes. And it is super easy to romanticize these past 21 months. Why do you suppose I choose to give you a brother before your second birthday? Anyway, ups and downs, easy and difficult days come with the territory. So currently at almost 2 years of age you are learning to assert yourself. And trying to figure out how to express emotions. You are also testing your boundaries. Doesnt all this sound like fun? And really when youre reading this as a teenager- you will likely still be learning how to handle the disappointments and frustrations in life. Sorry to say, Im 27 and I dont understand it all. So, the learning begins, as does the ensuing successes and failures. life. So a quick example of you asserting and testing today. You have learned how to turn the dishwasher on and off. Which is so awesome. not. After I finished loading the dishwasher, I turned it on and you immediately stopped what you were doing and stared at the machine... making a plan in your head (Im sure) conniving- hmmm how to take this half hour process and multiply it by ten both in terms of time and money? So I leaned down (which is hard for a 36 week preggo) and said firmly but kindly, "Ginger, look at Mama," and you did... so I continued, "Do NOT touch the dishwasher. Okay? No touch. NO touch." And mothers around the world can predict how you digested those directions. You continued to look me in the eye, walked slowly to the dishwasher and placed your hand on it. A smile on your face. This irresistible yet mischievous smile. The kind that makes me want to laugh and hug you while simultaneously wanting to put you in time out. (like I have the patience for that form of discipline at this point.) Where have I seen that smile? You stayed there with your hand on the dishwasher, I kept the staring contest going while trying to figure out my next move (truly Im clueless at this point). Because, me repeating in an even firmer tone, "Ginger, Mama said NO TOUCH. No touch" - it's all just making the game more entertaining for you. I was also wondering... What is she thinking right about now? I imagined this, "Im sorry Mom, I didn't hear you... as I was too busy running this show." Oh, I just remembered where I've seen that smile; your dad.

The past month you've acquired the amazing talent of turning the tears on and off. You'll literally be crying your eyes out one second and laughing the next. And just like when you were a newborn I have found myself able learning to decipher the cries. There's the "owie" cry (breaks my heart), the "Im not getting my way" cry (file this under quickest way to get my mom to reach for her anti-anxiety meds and/or launch into weird breathing and the downward dog pose) What? So I use yoga and medicine... Im also half republican and half democrat. Where was I? Oh right, there's the angry cry... that's usually brought on upon by Moses stealing your food or lying on your toybox while you're trying to open it. I could go on and on... but Ill finish with my favorite- the fake cry. The reason I love it is you keep your sense of humor. You'll be doing your best pathetic, woe is me cry and we will pick you up and say in a baby voice, "Oh my poor sweet Ginger, Life is so unfair, poor Gingy!" And you'll keep the cry going- the only thing interrupting you is the haha Im so funny smile on your face.

Oh Ginger, I could bore/entertain you with a billion stories. But I've probably already lost your attention after the first paragraph. I'm just so in love with you. So entertained, so proud, so surprised by you, sometimes you drive me crazy, mostly you delight me, but Always Im filled with love and a desire to be better. I love you so much plus I like you. Bonus! We have a fine family. Im proud of what the three of us have accomplished. I'm excited to see what the power of four can do. And finally, my love, thank you... a million times I thank you, everyday you make me feel the vigor of life. The energy,the power, the blessing of being here on this earth. You make me laugh, dance, dream, color, cry, master a mean impression of Gaston, Im giving and loving and joyful and it's because of you.



Life as Ashley said...

Read and LOVED every. single. word.

To say you are an AMAZING mother puts it lightly.

mel or kel said...

I love this, I wish I could just copy and paste it on my blog and say--Dear Harper...

The Bells said...

Wow, I LOVED this. Seriously LOVED this. It makes me wish I did something like this for Isla. Ginger is SOOOO blessed to have you. (okay, and Casey too) I was laughing then crying then laughing again. I love your writing style, I love your life, I love Ginger poo, ahhhh thanks for sharing.

kurt and ash said...

no words for you on this one - except that i cried and now i can barley see over the tears to my computer sceen to type to comment... this is such a great idea, ali! I need to do it for Avery so I can be as good of a mommy as you!

PS - ONE MONTH!! Holey cow that has gone fast! I cant wait for you!