You amaze me, you know. You really do.
I remember the day I found out I was having a little girl. You know how everyone tells you that when you’re pregnant, you “just have a feeling” about the sex of the baby? Well, of course you don’t now, but you will. You’ll grow up and you’ll hear it being discussed and someone will say, “I just had a feeling it was a girl, and I was right!”
Well, that’s absolute crap.
At least it was with me.
What I felt was when you put one foot on my ribcage and one on my bladder and played hopscotch.
The day I found out I was having a girl, I went to the appointment alone. I went to the hospital and sat in the waiting room. I went into the room with the magic see-your-insides machine, and I let the girl my first boyfriend left me for lube up my enormous belly with blue goo that smelled of baby powder.
I’d tried to guess your gender beforehand. I always assumed I was having a boy – I guess because that’s how it had been the first time. I just figured it would be the same.
You will never be satisfied with being anything but truly original.
So when the girl held the plastic raygun-Nintendo-controller to my belly and quickly announced, “You’re having a girl!” I didn’t really believe her. So many people say that it’s hard to be 100% sure with girls, and I just knew she was wrong. Then she showed me.
“Here, look. See? That’s your little girl.”
You were by no means shy, even then, and I saw for myself. You were, and you remain, every bit a girl.
[While we’re on the subject, I suppose this is as good a place as any to interject. One day, you will want to know these things. Not long ago, you were sitting with your dad, Max, AuntAmanda, and your Nana at a restaurant when Nana mentioned something about a photo she’d seen of you lately. Amanda responded with, “Oh, but you should go to Emily’s blog, she’s got a great picture up of her -” and alas, we will never know the ending to that sentence. We’ll never know what picture was so wonderful it merited recommendation, because at that precise second and totally within the sentence’s context -however lacking of your OWN context it may have been- you chose to shout, “VAGINA!” across the restaurant. I feel certain that you will henceforth be known at China Palaces far and wide as “the ritter vagina chird.” But I digress. Back to the day I found out you had a vagina of your own.]
I was in a bit of shock, I guess. I called the girls at the office to tell them the news, and they were all puzzled that I wasn’t more excited. It wasn’t that I wasn’t excited, I was thrilled – but I was always so bad at being girly. I was insecure and I was a follower. I made bad decisions and I didn’t love myself the way I should’ve. I worried that I would pass that on. I worried that someone, somewhere, at some point, would make you feel – not enough. Lacking.
Every morning you dictate to me the number of pigtails you want, and I make them. You tell me to brush your hair but to do it “very gently,” and I do. You squeal when you laugh, and you sneak to do things when you think we’re not looking. When you’re scared, you grab onto our legs. When you’re in trouble, you cover your eyes so you don’t have to make eye contact. When you want to hide, you cover your face or stand behind a door…and you announce to everyone who can hear, “I’M HIDING!”
You don’t take guff, and you stand up for yourself – but simultaneously you forgive and forget without question. Yesterday Max got in trouble for pinching you (he said you were “at the doctor,” so I can only suppose that the pinch was your “shot”), and after he apologized and we’d made it home, you stood beside him and held his hand and said, “Max, you are the BEST.”
Despite all my worry before about your self-confidence and your independence, I know I’m wrong. Yesterday we were getting out of the car, and you were walking to the door, holding Josh’s hand and stepping carefully onto the brick walkway. You looked up at us, the family we are, and you said, “I’m the best, and you like me.”
And you were right.
Happy birthday baby girl. I love you more than air.