Monday, June 22, 2020

Tiny girl at four-and-a-half

Dear Neva,

Last night, as I held an overtired, crying Mac, you sat beside me, looked at me very seriously and asked, "I'm a big girl, right?"

"OH, yes. You are a big girl."

"When I was a baby, I wasn't a big girl, right?"

"No. You cried a LOT."

You were very pleased with this, and you continued eating your peach happily. Peaches are your latest favorite fruit. FAVORITE. Soft, crunchy - it doesn't matter. "More peaches, please?!" Peaches are to you what apples are to Barrett.

You give very violent little hugs. You latch on tightly, digging your chin in with all your might. You hug with everything in you. You take tiny bites of food with your tiny face. When you're excited, and you want to get somewhere very fast, you take tiny, quick steps in a faux run that doesn't get you there any faster but makes you feel like you're really hustling.

You keep your closet very clean, making sure that everything is hung up right away. For a while, you loved changing clothes several times a day, making large piles of castoffs, until I'd have you hang them all back up in one tedious session. Somewhere along the line, you decided on your own that it would be smarter to hang something up immediately, and months later, it dawned on me that I hadn't had to ask you to clean up the clothes in your closet for a long time. I am so proud of you!

We've had several play dates this month, now that school is done, and I've made an effort to invite little girls your age. You do a good job playing with them - don't get me wrong - but now I see that you're more of an independent agent than I had thought before. Time and time again I notice the little girls playing with your toys on their own while you wander off by yourself to the sandbox or the basement. I don't feel guilty, really, anymore, that you won't have a sister. You are happy to be your own playmate, and after that, you have Barrett. The two of you are inseparable.

You and Barrett LOVE to draw and color. You'll both sit and crank out a dozen pictures of monsters, ninjas, and superheroes. You make the cutest little monsters with big eyes and detailed horns. And your inspiration, these days, is not Elsa or Anna or even Merida but Sarah from Virtua Fighter. "Can you make my hair like Sarah?" You want to be tough and strong.

You inspire me. You inspire me to clean up my own internal messes. I never want you to see me restricting food, or picking apart about my body, or complaining about life or people or... anything. I don't want you to witness irrational tears or expressions of discontentment. I want you to fully believe that there is as much dignity and self-respect to be found as a homemaker and full-time parent as there is in any other occupation. I want you to witness an adult woman bearing confidence so that you will keep growing your own.

Neva, you can do anything. I believe that with my entire heart. And that encourages me I can do anything, too- including fully settling into this role without doubt, misgivings, or apathy.

"Mom, when I grow up, will we be sisters?" We will be best friends.

I love you, baby girl. You are perfect.

Love, Mama

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