Four years ago, I wondered what the future would look like. What would come of our presidential election and the many other seats up for grabs and propositions waiting to be approved. Four years ago, I worried and anticipated, wondered and hoped. Four years ago feels like both a lifetime ago and a blip on the calendar. Today is an important day for our country, and really, for the world. The outcome of today’s election will catapult us into the next chapter of our country’s story and will make history one way or another. Today we sit in anticipation as one day, one outcome, one moment determines the landscape in front of us. Four years ago today, I sat in a similar position, poised on a similar perch. However, that one was much more personal. Four years ago today, my second daughter was born (and on her due date no less!). And so, while we all wait and wonder what the future holds for our country, I write this blog post for her.
To my dearest middle child,
Happy birthday, baby girl. It’s hard to believe that four years have gone by so quickly. I vividly remember waiting in anticipation of your birth and wondering when you would come… if you’d be early in time for the Giants to win the World Series (again) or as a our own little Halloween pumpkin. Then when October came and went, I wondered if you’d provide some much needed relief during the Obama vs. Romney election, or if you’d tease me and push all the way past your due date into the depths of November. I remember wondering who you would be, how you would change our family and how you would shape your sliver of the world.
In the days leading up to and in the early stages of labor, we walked around the neighborhood to simultaneously get things moving faster and alleviate the pain of my contractions. We’d doddle from street to street and look at house paint colors while imagining how we would repaint our house one day. It was a haze of daydreaming nestled on top of real, primal emotion and pain as you prepared to enter the world. Perhaps that’s where your love of colors and tendency to doddle comes from. You’re welcome for that. On the day you were born, we waited in the hospital room as the epidural took hold of the contractions and gave me some much needed relief from the intensity of progress. That morning, a cloud paused seemingly only above the hospital and brought a dark violent rain quickly followed by a warm, healing sunshine that shone through the window into our delivery room. Not long after the sun danced on the linoleum floor and reflected off the medical equipment lining the walls in the room, you decided to make your entrance. This rainstorm has become synonymous with your personality – a lot of warmth and sunshine, sandwiched around moments of sudden bursts of intense “rain” (usually in the form of random tearful fits). When the midwife placed you on my chest and your daddy announced “it’s a girl,” the wave of emotion I felt was one I could never fully put into words (and clearly I like to use my words!). Your piercing blue eyes looked up at me with a knowing glance and immediately, everything else melted away. In that moment, I became a new mom for the second time and you flipped everything upside down.
You, baby girl, took our family from a unit of three to a circus of four (and two years later your little sister turned us to a party of five). You made our first born a sister, and together you taught me the overwhelming bond of siblings that as an only child I’d never fully understood. You defined what it means to be the middle child in our family… less the quintessential, stereotypical middle sister and more simply the second of three. You are situated somewhere between wanting to be coddled as a little girl, and wanting to be a caretaker to your little sister (and sometimes to your big sister too). You bring humor, spontaneous dance moves and sensitivity to every situation. You are completely and unapologetically yourself and your individuality is something I hope you will continue to celebrate and embrace.
This year, as you welcome your birthday with rainbows and unicorns (that’s not a euphemism, you really do love rainbows and unicorns!), there’s a lot at stake for our country and the people all around us. You might sense that the air has more energy to it, that people are on edge and that something big is coming (or you may not…you’re four). But today, as we celebrate your birthday (and wait to hear the results of this election), I want to share a few wishes with you.
Today, I wish for you to continue growing up in world in which you are valued, respected and honored. I wish for you a future where you can be anything or anyone you want to be, where your opinions matter and where you can make a difference. I wish for you to have the continued gift of confidence, innocence, and the amazing art of not caring what others think. I wish for you to be able to maintain the skill of truly dancing like no one is watching, to be able to love fully and deeply and to know that the future before you is bright. I wish for you to find and use your voice to stand up for what you believe is right, to ask for help when you need it, to protect the ones you love and to know that you’re protected too. I wish for you to struggle enough that you know how to overcome it but not so much that you feel that it has overcome you. I wish for you to find continued strength, determination and tenacity. I wish for you to continue being a ray of sunshine, even on a cloudy, random rainstormy kind of day. I wish for you to always know that you are loved. I wish for you to know that you are part of a big world but never let that make you feel too small. I wish for you the ability to slide on the moon, swing from the stars, jump in the clouds and slide down a rainbow ( all figuratively, of course… if you really did this mommy would have a nervous breakdown!).
Happy birthday sweet girl. May today be a wonderful next chapter for you, and for our country. I love you to the moon and back.