Thursday, September 24, 2015

But all the magic I have known, I've had to make myself

My dearest Josephine,

This morning I woke up and went into your room and sat on the floor next to your bed.  I pushed your hair out of your face, leaned over, and kissed you near your temple, pausing to breathe in your delicious smell of sleep and shampoo.

"Josie," I whispered, kissing you again.  "Happy birthday, sweetie.  It's your birthday today."

You kept your eyes closed, but put your hand on my cheek.

I lay down on the bed and hugged you, big-spoon-little-spoon.

"Do you want me to tell you about the day you were born?"

You nodded, still with your eyes closed.  You put your hand over my hand and squeezed my fingers.

So I told you about going to the hospital early in the morning, and being there with Daddy and Mimi. About how wonderful it was to see you for the first time, and how you loved having your head scrubbed while the nurses gave you a bath. About how you loved sleeping with your head on my shoulder.

I heard Zeke stirring in the bunk above us.  He climbed down the ladder and wriggled into bed on the other side of you, putting his arm around you and giving you a kiss.

"I love you, Josie! Happy birthday!"

He really is the sweetest brother.

Your eyes popped open and you put your hands on the sides of his head, scruffling his hair up.

In your goofiest voice, you said, "hey there, little kangaroo!  You look like a kangaroo because your hair is sticking up like ears!"

The two of you cracked up.  You kept messing with his hair while he laughed.

"You're my scruffy little bird!" you said to him.

He laughed and laughed, and I laughed along with him.

Predictably, somebody tooted (not me) and you and Zeke rolled with laughter and kept goofing off.  I was lying there with my arm draped over both of you, and the three of us giggled and talked about what we wanted to do after school - bake a cake? have a special movie night so you can pick the movie and eat your beloved popcorn to your heart's content?  Both?

It was one of those moments when I kind of step outside of myself and look down at the scene to appreciate it more fully.

You are so gorgeous to me, and such a total ham, always making a joke and performing for an audience.  People tell me how much we look alike, but I don't really see it - you're so much prettier than I could ever hope to be.  And I love that you're always trying to make your friends giggle, posing for a camera that isn't there, rolling your eyes and shaking your booty and talking in funny voices and being silly.

Yes, you have a hair-trigger temper, and you vacillate between despairing that you can't do something and then quickly insisting that you are a total expert.  And yes, sometimes your utter fearlessness when it comes to climbing and jumping terrifies me - but not enough for me to stop you.  I want you to be bold and fearless.  And yes, sometimes you've got a smart mouth on you and you get up in my face - but even when I have to check your behavior, a part of me loves it that you're not a doormat.

Mostly, you're affectionate and exuberant and hilarious and fun.  Even though you keep getting taller and taller and your legs are impossibly long, you still crawl into my arms every morning when you wake up and wrap yourself around me for an extended morning hug.  You make me smile and laugh every day.

Happy 6th birthday, my love.



  1. Oh, what a sweet, sweet, charming, delighful love letter to your Josie. I love it. And she does look so very much like you.

    This in particular struck me: Yes, you have a hair-trigger temper, and you vacillate between despairing that you can't do something and then quickly insisting that you are a total expert. My son is the exact same way. I find it very challenging.

    1. I find it highly amusing. She had one tae kwon do lesson and then declared herself to be on the verge of getting a black belt. Or stating, with absolute confidence, "Mama, I am *really* good at soccer."

      I love it.

  2. This is gorgeous and I'm blown away that she's already six! Happy birthday to Josie.

    1. Thank you! And I'm blown away as well. It seems impossible that she could be this big.