Friday, April 19, 2013

A letter to my birthday boy

Dear Johnny,
Today you are 4.
This morning you came into my room like every other morning.
A hug around the neck. A kiss on my eyeballs. And the cherished "I wove you Mommy."
I love that you say your "Ls" like "Ws." I want to hold onto that.

When you get hurt, sometimes you say in a little pouty voice "Sing to me in the chair Mommy." And a lot of times you want me to sing "Eidelweiss"--the song I used to sing with my daddy. I want to hold onto that too.

You still like to hold my hand. You hug me no less than 100 times a day and you sometimes hold my face in your little hands and say "You're so cute Mommy!" My heart melts and I want to hold on to that too.

When the garage creaks open every night, you run to the door screaming to your daddy. Then you immediately request "the spinning game." You squeal and giggle until he flings you on the couch and you scamper over and want "Again!" I want to hold onto that.

Just like your sister, you've got quite an imagination. There are some days the two of you will play Legos or super heroes or yes, even Barbies for hours. I'll peak in and both of you are contentedly playing together in an imaginary world all of your own. I want to hold onto that.

You just love to play and get so excited at the littlest things. One of your favorite things is to just run or skip around and sing. When you played soccer you ran around the court after everybody else, sometimes kicking the ball the wrong way, but forever laughing, smiling and often singing. You have such a lighthearted spirit and I hope you hold onto that.

You care about other people's feelings. Your first day of t-ball practice, you threw your hands excitedly in the air and screamed "Good job!" whenever anyone threw the ball. At your birthday party at school the teacher told you to pick anything you wanted from the toy box. What did you pick? A tiny yellow butterfly barrette for Julie.
I hope you hold onto that.

You possess empathy unlike any other little boy I know. One day I got upset with Julie and you were so mad at me. "You hurt Julie's feelings. That's not nice."
When we're playing and Daddy pretends to tackle me, you are always my protector. "Get off of her!" you scream, truly upset. When I was sick, you brought me blankets and read me stories. You care deeply about other people and you need to hold onto that.

I know one day you'll no longer be my little boy. That makes me sad just thinking about it, but I can see glimpses of the man you will become and that makes me proud.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The cut

Julie is sitting perfectly still, staring into the mirror. Then snip. Snip. Snip.

Suddenly, I'm having flashbacks. Terrible traumatizing flashbacks.
My long, blonde, pin-straight hair, lying on the floor of Hair Cuttery.
Strange glances.
Even ruder questions. "Are you a boy or a girl?"
My adorable little sister laughing and pointing "You look like a boy Re-re."

I snap out of my daze only when I hear Johnny proclaim: "Julie...You look like a boy!"

I gulp as I stare at the gobs of Julie's hair on the salon floor.
"No she doesn't," I make myself say. "She looks great."
But, Wow. Her hair is short. Almost to her ear.

Then, I see her smile.
"This is how I wanted it Mommy," Julie grins. "I don't even care if I look like a boy. I'm still me."


Here's Julie, wearing the "glasses" Santa gave her. "Now I look just like Meme."