You know I was so spun up about that dream I had a few weeks ago, then the work things that followed, that I missed some key items in my life – namely Bean’s birthday and XXX’s wedding. God, what a failure I am. Well as it was, both of those events happened on the same day. But we couldn’t exactly do both since the wedding was in Florida and the birthday was in Lima. So…what do you do? I think I’ll tackle Bean’s birthday today and save the wedding for another entry. My brain doesn’t want to combine the two for some reason.
Her actually birthday was on the 10th. And I’m sure not a lot of parents would be ok telling their kids that their birthday is on a different day than, well, than the day it’s really on. I guess that is technically lying to them, or officially lying to them. But that’s what we had to do – tell Lily that her birthday was a week later – because we just couldn’t pull it all together on January 10th. It didn’t take much, really. All we did was go to the master calendar on the wall in the kitchen, erase the cake that was drawn on the 10th and redraw it on the 17th. I could tell there was a slight pause in Lily’s thinking the next time she tried to find her cake. She stared at the wall for maybe a minute, forehead slightly wrinkled, her eyes scanning the cake (which may have been a different color now that I think about it). After awhile she just casually asked, “That my birthday?” Yup. And then she galloped off…happy.
When the day arrived, a week later, we did our usual celebration of getting a cake with a theme de jour, this time it was Little Kitty. We invited over friends and family. I cooked and then we let Bean open all her presents while we wrapped around her and stood impressed at the obsessive following and vast accessories that Barbies, My Little Ponies and Hello Kitty have managed to build.
My little Bean…three years old. Amazing. She runs, she skips, she negotiates and arbitrates and she has likes and dislikes. She is a real person. Lily and I have spent the last year bonding and really defining our relationship. We touch more. She’s more easily comforted by me and seeks me out when she’s scared, hurt…needy. And we have a similar sense of humor and ways of joking about things that nobody else understands but us, too. It’s funny, because she was not an easy baby…not by a long shot. I have several friends that have newborns and are now struggling with sleep and balancing home and work, etc. All of a sudden all the cliché’s that other people said to me are tumbling out of my mouth… “Don’t worry, it gets easier…I know it’s hard, and this may be difficult to believe, but when this all passes you are going to miss it.”
The other thing is – and I know I have written about this – there is something in Bean’s physiology that is a direct deposit from my genetics. I can see myself in her. To me, she looks like me and it’s something I notice every time I look at her. Other people didagree and say Ava and I look more alike. Look, I don’t think either one of them looks like me all that much. But there is something with Lily that just connects to me when I look at her. It’s like looking into a mirror.
I’m having some familiar anxiety when I realize that Lily will never be at this exact age and stage of development again…ever. Even tomorrow she will be slightly more skilled in how she moves and how she thinks. Soon all the unique and adorable ‘babyness’ will be a distant memory and I’ll be reduced to the terabytes of video and still images that I’ve amassed in an effort to keep me sane as the smothering reality that their life is beginning as mine is slowly declining becomes inescapable. I went through the same thing with Ava and the truth is that I can torture myself with those thoughts on cue…and endlessly. Thinking about it too much makes me depressed.
To that end, I want to make sure I log something unique and spectacular that Lily is doing at age three. Over Christmas my mom introduced her to a book called ‘The Kissing Hand’ about a baby raccoon and its mama. I didn’t read the book, but I know the big takeaway was that every time the baby raccoon had to be away from its mommy, the mommy would kiss each of the baby’s hands and then the baby would touch the hands to its cheeks and its heart so the kisses would stay with him always. So…today whenever Bean and I have to be apart, she makes sure to kiss both my hands so I can touch my cheeks and my heart and keep her with me always, and then I do the same for her. God, she has become so sweet. And me? I have become a mess. Totally crying right now.
Happy Birthday Bean!