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Thursday, June 08, 2006


A long overdue letter to Miss Madge.

Dear Maggie,

In lieu of a second birthday letter, I am writing you a 22 months and 15 days letter. Because I am a non-conformist conformist who read Mary’s article, and decided it was high time I wrote about you for a change, because I really need to do more documenting of what the heck you are up to.

I often wonder if it’s normal to feel as separate from your own child as I do from you. I mean that in a good way. You are not an extension of me or your father. You are your entire own little person. You came into this world as your own Maggie, and every day I learn more and more about what you are all about. This is by far, the best adventure I have ever been on. You are proving to be a better child than I ever dreamed of. You are better because you are real, and you are you, and you are full of surprises and sweetness and wailing willfulness and cranky toddler irrationality. I am certain that I ended up with the best kid in the whole entire world.

Maggie, you have single-handedly taught me that life is best when you slow down and just enjoy the regular old pedestrian moments. Like when we wiggle under the sprinkler and shout “It’s WAINING!”, and sing songs, and get silly and goofy and dirty, and play “heart and soul” on the piano with your feet. Like this morning when I strapped you into your car-seat and you beamed and shouted “YAY! BUCKLES”! These are all moments well-spent. These are the scenes I will look back on when I am old, and on death’s doorstep, and wondering if I really lived my life well. I am storing these freeze-frames away in my mind so that I can play them over at the end of my life and remind myself that Hell yes, I really did live right. Thank you for setting me straight, Miss Madge.

Being your Mom is so much more than the picture I carried around in my head all those years before we finally became a team. It’s better because it’s real. On one hand it is flat-out hard work. Some days I admit that I feel isolated, and I want some time for me, with grown-ups, and that I need some peace and quiet, and perhaps a little more sleep. On the other hand, when I do get away, I end up missing you. When I walk through the door at home, I just want to see your sweet brown eyes and apple-juice cheeks and your exuberant welcome-wagon greeting followed by your signature abrupt rejection. You are all “YAY! MOMMY’S HOME! Okay that’s great, would let me get back to playing already? It’s not all about YOU, lady. Sheesh.” You literally push my face away from you with your hand. But I will not be deterred, little lady. No Sir-ee.

Every night when I put you to bed, we have to say goodnight to daddy, and goodnight to the fishies, and goodnight to the doggies, and good night to the ducks. Then I finally get you into bed, and lean in for a kiss and teeter on the edge of your crib with my feet dangling in the air. Next, we start the charade of me leaving your room. As I approach the door, you let out a big “MMMMMM!” which indicates you are ready for another kiss, so I hop like a bunny, back to you, and give you another one. We repeat this three times, with a few different moves tossed in for fun (like pirouetting from the door to your crib… that one is a real crowd pleaser).

I check in on you every night before I go to sleep, and each time I am alarmed by how big you are. It’s as though you grow an inch every time I lay you down to sleep. You are a giant Amazon of a toddler. I worry that you will end up to be 6 foot 5 and have to shop at special big-girl stores, and have size 14 shoes specially cobbled just for you and your giant feet, but then I think it won’t matter. It won’t matter because you are Maggie, and Maggie, you are the funniest, smartest, most beautiful girl I have ever known. Anyone worth their salt will agree with me.

Just last night you approached my open closet door with an eager, wide-eyed “OH WOW!” and proceeded to rummage through my shoes until you found the right pair to place your feet in. Then you clomp-clomped around the house in them, like you had been doing that your whole life. It was the first time I have ever seen you do that, and it struck me as the most quintessential kind of daughter-emulating-mother behavior. It reminds me that I need to be very VERY mindful of what kind of model I am for you.

You are obsessed with your aunts and your grandparents every dog and kitty you have ever laid eyes on.

You are in tireless, relentless pursuit of the contents of the drawer in the bathroom. It is your mission in life to un-cap any liquid-holding container from this drawer, and dump its contents onto the white carpet in your room. The other week, I noticed the house had grown eerily silent. I went room to room, looking for you. Upon my second trip to your bedroom, I discovered you had cunningly hidden yourself from view behind your crib so that you could suck on a tube of aqua-fresh toothpaste. As I approached you, you simply handed me the tube without protest or upward glance, as though in guilty acknowledgement of your busted covert toothpaste-sucking mission. I couldn’t help but laugh.

You also can count up to twenty and you know the entire alphabet, but I don’t want to tell people about that because I don’t want to brag about your accomplishments, because they are your accomplishments, and not mine. That, plus I don’t want anyone worrying that their child is not cutting the mustard in comparison to your obvious intellectual superiority and blinding beauty and charm. Those things will just be our little secret, okay?

Life is so much better with you in it, Maggie. I am so enthralled by the thought of watching you grow up. Thanks for being 22 months old. Thanks for being perfectly imperfectly perfect. Thanks for being Maggie.

Love, Mommy


Blogger Jerri Ann said...

That was downright beautiful

2:36 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

I love how you said she is seperate from you. How true and often unsaid.

12:10 AM  
Anonymous TB said...

So many beautiful things here. I truly love to read mothers who write from their hearts about their children and their experiences with motherhood. It makes me remember that all the waiting will be worth it. Thank you.

7:30 AM  
Blogger E. said...

Sweet. It's so great that you not only totally love your daughter, but you already respect her so much. That's a great way to begin a lifelong relationship.

8:13 PM  
Blogger Mary Tsao said...

She will love this letter. And I bet you'll read it some day and actually not remember these little things and be SO thankful that you've got this written down. Great letter.

Also, great excuse to only buy the cutest and best shoes from now on. I'm just sayin.

3:56 PM  

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