A love letter to my 4-year-old daughter, aka “Brave Girl”

I love that she calls yesterday “the day before this day.”

I love that she rests her head on my shoulder while we watch Arthur.

I love that she likes to help me get dressed in the morning, which means picking at least five pieces of jewelry for me to wear. (The girl has flair.)

I love the picture in my head of her happily eating an ice cream cone earlier tonight, sitting between me and Jordan, grinning, trying to lick the edges before they dripped down, then dancing around the shop (which also has a huge display of other sweets).

I love how in the morning she smells my morning breath and tells me, “Mommy, brush your teeth.”

I love how earlier tonight, we found a shapes puzzle on someone’s stoop, and we sat down to do it, and after she took out all the pieces, including a pentagon and an octagon, she said, “Mommy, I wish there were more -agons.”

I love that she isn’t always obedient. Fight the power, baby.

I love that earlier, we passed a beer truck, and she pretended to give Jordan all the beer to drink (“Here daddy!”), and he pretended to drink it, and then he said, “I’m full from all that beer!”, and she said “Here daddy, here’s one that will make you feel less full.”

I said, “You’re very thoughtful, Ali. Do you know what that means?”

“What?”

I told her, and she said, ‘”You too, mommy.”

I love how last weekend we made a fort and hid under a blanket together on the couch and she lay on top of me breathing on me her eyes bright with excitement.

I love how she tells me her secret identity is “Brave Girl.” Also, when she wears her rainbow striped underpants, “Rainbow Girl.” And sometimes when she wears her zebra ears headband and zebra underpants, “Zebra Girl.”

I love when she sweetly pets our dog, Clover, who she mostly ignores. When she gives her a hug, my heart melts.

I love I love I love. I love her little bottom. I love everything about her, and I mean that, all of it, because she is real and vivid, and I am better for being her mother.

+ + +

It wasn’t always this way. For so many years, I didn’t think I wanted to have a child. Then I changed my mind, and then I got pregnant, and then I was so anxious about losing my identity. It’s so weird to look back at all that perseverating and see, in contrast, Alison, who is not “a child” or a life choice or a threat to my identity, she is this awesome person who I get to spend time with, and witness. I do not mean to suggest it’s all rainbows and cupcakes, of course there are times when it is grueling and heartbreaking and dull, but as I said, I am a better person for being her mother. I am more of me, not less of me. I still create, I work, I invest in my relationships with Jordan and my family and my friends. I have a life beyond her. And yet now, it is very difficult to imagine life without her.

Other love letters I’ve written:

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