Today when you wake up you’ll be three. Well, not exactly at the point you wake up (which, if recent history teaches us anything, will be at 2, 4, or 6:30), but sometime later in the morning the official time will come. If only I could remember that official time. I am bad about all those details – the time and the weight and APGAR and all those details that good moms remember.
I don’t remember any of it. I think I have one of your birth announcements in my car, though. I’ll check it and get back if you really want to know.
What I do remember is all the hope we pinned on you. You poor little peanut, being born having no idea how many of us needed you to remind us about peace and joy and excitement. Your Dad and I were having kind of a hard year with work and money and general crap going on. Then your Papoo got really sick. Your Yaya wouldn’t leave his side and dedicated her every moment to getting him well. It was a time where we all felt a lot of stress and fear and for me, of course, anxiety.
And we were all waiting for you. Beautiful tiny you. You came along and made us all breath a long, slow sigh of relief.
I wonder sometimes if all of that pressure and expectation had anything to do with your exploding personality. You, my dear girl, are fearless. You sing and dance your way through every day. I hear you play make-believe with your babies and your stuffed animals. You ask questions and engage people in conversation. You smile and giggle and flirt. You know how to turn on the charm. And I think sometimes that maybe because we counted on your birth to be that thing to distract us from all of the hardships going on around us is why you are such an attention grabber.
You are. You are a performer. Your batting eyelashes and infectious smile and squeals of glee and amazing sentence structure commands attention. A lot of it.
I talk a lot about how your brother is so much like me, but you know what? You are too. You’ve got that part of me that craves somebody to see you. The real you. The inside you.
Right now it’s all about capturing everybody’s eyes. Pretty Princess clothes and “look what I can do” and “clap for me, Mommy.” But I can see your future. I know you’ll probably try too hard to be popular when people would like you anyway even if you didn’t work so hard to be cool. You’ll want a boyfriend, yes, but even more than that you’ll want a best friend. A very very best friend who knows you better than anybody. You’ll discover a love (and maybe even an addiction) to applause. To instant gratification. To approval.
And if you’re really like me, you’ll also flounder a bit. You’ll run and hide and feel generally unsure. You’ll know you have an ability to affect people, but you’ll spend a lot of time trying to figure out the how.
Now, I don’t expect your whole life to be nothing but repeating my history; I’m not dooming you to my paths or my choices or my mistakes. But what I do see in you, baby angel, is that you seek attention in a very different way than your brother. You work really hard for it, even when you don’t have to.
Because the thing is, people will notice you even if you don’t try so hard for the spotlight. It’s just in you, babygirl. You have a light around you. You will be noticed.
But what I hope for you most of all, my beautiful three year old, is that you find that person who will not just notice you, but who will really see you. So that you’ll know you’re never alone. You always have someone in your corner. Someone who knows the you you are on the inside.
Your birthday celebration is full of pink and sparkle and magic wands and tiaras. I hope it’s exactly the way you want it to be. Three years ago we needed you to come into our lives to bring us back into the light. And you, my little Care Bear, have done it.
Happy Birthday. Mommy loves you.