Monday, October 27, 2014

Birthday No. 5: A little bit of Josie in my life

As you all know, September was, like, the worst month ever.  Except for the part about celebrating Josie's fifth birthday.  But I was so wrecked from everything else that I never got around to writing her a birthday blog, so here it is, a month late.

My dearest, sweetest, cutest, cuddliest little Josephine,

Five years ago, you came into our family and made it complete.  As difficult and frenetic as Zeke's birth was, yours was calm and mellow and lovely.

 And for the most part, you are calm and mellow and lovely.  Your older brother can be a bit of a steamroller, hogging both toys and time in the spotlight, and you are unquestionably the yin to his yang.  Not that you are a doormat in the slightest, but you have a greater ability than Zeke to self-soothe and, quite honestly, to suck it up when the going goes rough, so you tend to let him get his way in order to keep the peace.  Because I am disinclined to ever give an inch (Zeke gets it from me), my instincts are to tell you that you don't have to do that, and that he needs to learn how to calm down and share.  But your relationship with him as his sister, as part of the inseparable "ZekeandJosie" combo, probably gives you a greater intuitive understanding of how to handle him, and so you are gentle and forgiving with him, even when he is being an overbearing pain in the butt.

The payoff is in your connection with him, which is so lovely and amazing.  Though you're only two years apart and at an age when siblings tend to bicker, you and Zeke have this love affair that touches me immeasurably.  When I drop you off in the mornings at school, Zeke goes with you to your classroom to make sure you get there without incident, and you give each other a hug and a kiss before going your separate ways.  You seek each other out when you're sad, happy, excited, frustrated - it's a wonderful thing to behold.

You look to him for advice on how to do new things, and use his accomplishments as a yard-stick for your own.  And you are so fiercely determined to be able to do what he does that you don't quit until you achieve your goal.  When you saw that he could take himself hand-by-hand across the monkey bars at the playground, you pushed yourself until you could do it too.  Same with riding your bike or any other physical endeavor.  After Zeke learned to ski when he was five, you have decided that this will be the year you learn as well.

You're pretty much game for anything - hiking, camping, climbing, jumping off of things, zip-lining at Zeke's birthday party.  Your daddy and I have always maintained that between you and Zeke, you are the one most likely to participate in extreme sports.

If there are particular character traits or behaviors that tell the story of what you are like at this moment in your life, they would be love and sweetness on the one hand, and stubborn volatility on the other.  The love and sweetness is in your treatment of your friends, your brother, your relatives, me and Daddy - you've got hugs and kisses for everyone, kind words of encouragement, and snuggles.  I don't think I've ever seen my father more tickled than when he and Mimi were visiting a few weeks ago, and all you wanted to do was hold his hand and talk to him, or sit on his lap and rub his face while saying, "Papa's so cute!  I love you, Papa!"

The stubborn volatility is a newer thing - the tendency to proclaim things that are boring or annoying or difficult to be "STUPID!" and lashing out (including physically) in frustration.  Yesterday, when I arrived at the park for Zeke's football game, I saw you from the other side of the field - your bike was down on the ground, and you were stamping your feet and waving your arms around and little puffs of dirt were rising up because you were kicking at it.  Truth be told, it was kind of hilarious, because you're such a skinny little peanut that it presents a really funny picture.

But I know that it's a developmental 5-year-old thing, rather than necessarily a Josie thing.  You'll grow out of it as you become more mature.

In the meantime, you continue to be a delightful, sparkly ray of sunshine in our lives.  It's been a pleasure to hang out with you these past five years, and I can't wait to see what the future has in store for you.

I love you beyond the Milky Way and back,


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