CHANGES: A LOVE LETTER
You were born wanting everything yesterday. Five pounds and eleven ounces when we left the hospital, you seemed to have taken up all the room in my womb, leaving your twin brother to cope for himself. While he was quiet and reflective, you were all demands, leaving him to always be second for a feeding or a diaper change. You lit up when your father entered the room, a typical “daddy’s girl.”
As a toddler, you were forced to use your wits to outsmart your brother, who crawled and walked before you. I can still see you “spinning” in the living room floor to avoid his advances on your toys and bottle. While he maneuver the “sit and spin”, you subtly stuck your toe out to stop him, a slow grin on your face, your thumb in your mouth.
At two, you were still impatient with everything. You were fearless. When your brother cried over the yellow jackets on the sidewalk, you stomped them. I saw my grandmother in you, the beautiful clarity of your eyes and your wry humor. I saw you snuggle on her lap, her veined hands and parchment-thin skin against the baby freshness of you, and I loved you. I wanted to be an artist so I could preserve the image, but I could only express it in words. Your brother is the artist; you and I just deal in language.
I quit work when you and your brother were three, and relished our new mornings together. You crawled out of bed and into my lap wearing footed pajamas and exclusive hairstyles—your silky hair tangled and mussed by your dreams. I had always hated the time the babysitter shared with you that I didn’t; she became in my mind “the evil babysitter, the usurper of our relationship.” I was so glad to reclaim the time.
We registered you for school when you were five, but God was tugging at my heart to homeschool, so you never entered kindergarten there. Besides, you and your brother looked so small in that room, crowded together, solemnly watching the other children. I remember worrying about being able to teach you to read, and my excitement when you gathered words like wildflowers.
You broke your arm when you were six, and the only thing that seemed to bother you was having to wear a plastic bag over your arm when you were baptized. “This is so embarrassing,” you fumed.
Through the years since then, I’ve alternately been heartbroken and joyful at the changes in you. Heartbroken because I can’t snuggle you in footed jammies any more, joyful at what you’re becoming. (You still crawl up in the chair with me frequently, your long legs hanging over the arm of the chair, your head on my shoulder).
Today, you’re a beautiful teenager, slender in the way only young girls ever are. You laughingly call yourself Hindu when an unwanted blemish mars your forehead. Your antics with your brother keep me laughing, and at times I wonder what I’ll ever do when the two of you are grown. Your relationship with him has made it easy for you to relate to boys, and you collect them as friends. I see you struggle sometimes in this place between childhood and womanhood, striving to find your place, and I see the quiet faith that has developed in you. Underneath your silliness is a wonderful tenderness and concern for others that leads all your friends to come to you with their troubles. Like me, you’re the one who always knows what’s wrong.
I know that someday I’ll be forced to let you go. Like all moms, sometimes it seems like yesterday that I carried you around, and the years have flashed by with dizzying speed.
But I have adored you at every stage, and I know that when you leave my home, a young woman with dreams of her own, I’ll adore you then.
I love you, Case.
PLEASE ENCOURAGE AUTHOR,
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