Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Of the wonderful things that you get out of life there are four

Dear India,

Now you are four. Yesterday was your birthday, and you had a spectacular day.

The night before, when you were still three, you expressed some trepidation, saying, "I've been three for a long time. I don't know how four will feel."

Sometimes I am in awe of your sophistication.

We made sugar cookies for your preschool class and they were a huge hit, both at home and at school. 
We got you a pink (had to be pink) bike for your birthday, and you love it. You're scared of hills and I have to hold the handlebars when we go down them to make you feel safe. But you're pedaling so well, using your brake.
When I am hauling you and your brother uphill on the bike, you always say, "You can do it!" Now I say this to you.

I know this is just the beginning of you becoming faster than me. One day you will leave me far behind.

You alternate between wanting to be a big girl and wanting to be my baby. It varies with the day. Sometimes I joke with you and your brother and tell you that you're getting too big. I ask you if you'll please stay little forever (but not like that little wretch in the Tin Drum).

Both of you laugh and scream and say no! No! You're going to keep growing up!

I tell you that even when you are bigger than me, you will always be my babies. I will always be your mama, and I will always love you.

You both love to sing and dance and Taylor Swift is still one of your favorites. Jordan says he's over her, but he still sings along in the car.

I was driving one day and from the back seat you asked, "Mama, can Taylor Swift really make the bad guys good for a weekend?"

I so wanted to say, dude, I  used to be able to do that. But there is just no earthly reason to have a conversation like that with you basically ever. So I said, "Sweetie, if anyone can, she can."

You love clothing and shoes and you've started dressing yourself and layering dresses over skirts, and shirts over or under dresses, I think to have as many cute things on as possible.

You love to have on an outfit.

This makes me wonder if I've put too much emphasis on looks. I mean, I can talk about clothing and shoes all day long. But I don't want you to feel, particularly as a girl, that looks are the most important thing.

But let's be fair, clothing and shoes can be really fun. And fun is good. And also, I'd have loved to work in fashion, but it never occurred to me as a possibility, and wouldn't have been encouraged. You decide you want to be a clothing designer when you grow up? Go for it.

I want you to do whatever it is you want to do. (Unless what you want to do is be a fascist dictator. Then I'm going to have to stop you.)

You're so bright and you grasp ideas quickly, and you have an interesting mind. You're also extremely strong and stubborn and I want to honor this. It's so important for you to be strong, to feel confident in your ideas and opinions.

They will get squashed and quashed in this male-dominated world. Even though sometimes your strength and stubbornness drive me crazy, I don't want to be a squasher.

The other day you asked me if I knew the word "chaotic" and if I'd ever heard it before you told it to me. When I said that in fact, I had, you asked me to tell you what it meant.

Pretty sure you'd overheard me describing our household as chaotic on the phone the night before.

Sometimes when I get dressed up you get all breathless and say, "Mama! You look gorgeous!" You also say this to Daddy in his suits. Gorrrrrgeous!

And sometimes you eye my outfit and say, "I want that dress." I tell you that you can have it when you are bigger. (And you are like, no, really. I want it. Now.)

The truth is, you can have anything of mine.

Nana used to do this to me. I'd love something of hers--usually jewelry--and she would say I could have it when I was older. And I would wonder why on earth she'd be willing to give away something so beautiful.

But now I understand. I would give you anything and everything. You're my baby, my girl, my love.

You and your brother have my heart. Everything else is easy. You want it? It is yours.

I love you love you love you.



  1. This is just beautiful. And also... how is she so old??? It feels like only yesterday she was just a baby!

    1. Thank you, P! And yes, how is she so old?? I have no idea. She really was a baby the last time I turned around.

  2. O my God! (sniffles.....) Love the letter. Love you. Love India.


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