Friday, June 08, 2012

May 31st

It would be wrong of me not to give this one her birthday spotlight. She, at least, had the good sense to wait until after my exam to turn 12.

Way back in December, when we went to view The Ugly Chicken that very first time, Emma and I stood shivering on the veranda, trying to picture the view lush and green, and conjuring this fantasy of having her birthday party there on the island.  A whole weekend long celebration with fishing, swimming, grilling, and hair-braiding. (Because, for some reason, that's what 12 year old girls do when they gather in groups of four or more. It's what my friends and I did when we were 12, and it's still what my daughter and her friends do. Braid hair. All weekend long).

And behold!  It came to pass.

Dinner Friday night.
.  Only two of the girls' hair is yet braided.
.  If dinner had been but an hour later, the rest would have been similarly coiffed.

Alas, it came to pass that a cold north wind fell from the arctic in the days leading up to Em's birthday, thus polluting the gentle summer idyll of our celebration.  I feared the swimming might have to be called off.

But no.  These are, after all, fully pubescent Viking women we're talking about here.  At least a few of these hearty souls would not be daunted by cold waters and even colder air. 

The sea must needs be swam!

We're going to stand around and look at it for a gooood long time before we do that.

I stood on the shore documenting the moment dressed in a thick fleece, jeans, and woolly socks.

I wished I had had a hat.

More than once I thought, "Christ, their mother's would flog me if they knew I had let their babies go swimming in this weather!"

More than once I thought, "Meh, my baby does it all the time, and look how awesome she is!"


I know you prefer for people to see you as the polar opposit of your sister,
that you purposefully align yourself--your behavior, your opinions
--your whole being--
in order to maintain that image.

But, can I tell you a little secret?
It's not working very well.

You are exactly as vibrant, as beguiling, and as joyful as she is.
You are both cut from the same rosy cloth,
and everyone knows it.

Yes, there are differences.
You are brook where she is river.
You are warmth where she is fire.
You are waltz where she is raucus barn dance.

All of the positive, nurturing energy in my life
flows from you two
(and your brother, of course, but he's all snips and snails and puppy dog tails,
another kettle of fish entirely).
My boy fuels my imagination,
but my girls
--especially you, my beamish beauty--
water my roots, and keep me grounded.

You are growing into such a beautiful, accomplished, interesting young woman.

I am completely proud,
and would be utterly lost without you.

Happy Birthday
Thank you for sharing this first bit with me.



Jono said...

Those are some tough young girls!

Queen LaTeacha said...

One of the sweetest pieces I've ever read from you. And oh so true. I love the young woman Emma's becoming. I can hardly wait to see where this journey takes her...and you, by extension. Scary to think of yourself as an extension of her huh? Get used to it.

jaymo said...

Wow, that might be the best love letter to a child I've ever read. Good work.

Michele said...

I've been catching up on your posts and am really touched by the way you write about your children---and *for* them. They liked the poems, didn't they? Your kids are lovely and your pride in them shines here. I hope you all have a great summer!