Two days ago you reached the 105 month milestone. I had no doubts that we would get to this point – unless you count the time 104 months ago that your 2 year old older sister carried you from the living room, through the kitchen and into the dining room and put you in a beanbag chair. Face down. While your father was “watching” the two of you. He said he kept hearing Amy grunting and saying, “heady! Heaaaaady!! (Heavy)” but then it stopped so he didn’t think anything about it until he realized that he’d left her upstairs. Alone with the baby.
But let’s not dwell on the past.
I don’t post a lot about you here because you’re getting older and I try to respect your privacy. Plus you’re just not that funny. Okay, okay, that’s not true. In fact, I think you have the best developed sense of humor of all the kids your father and I haven’t eaten.
It’s difficult to write about your jokes because well, they’re always the kind where you had to be there. Like the way you say, “hey!” when someone teases you. It’s not a whine, and it’s not offended, it’s just a low, semi-kinda drawn out “hey! I know what you’re doing and I don’t mind because it’s funny.” That along with your patented, “you’re not nice.” Which, again, in the moment is tres clever, but when your mother writes about it? Not so much.
Last year your teacher pulled me aside and told me that you were a phenomenal writer. So gifted. In all her years teaching she’s found that not many children your age can find the words they want to describe an emotion or reaction. You don’t have that problem. You know exactly what you want to write and exactly how it should be written. You have a natural understanding of plot and characterization. You just get it. Some mothers get a rush when they’re told their children are beautiful, but that, someone telling me that you could write and write well? I got all teary-eyed. I’m sure your teacher thinks I’m a freak.
In first grade you published your first piece in a local magazine. In 2nd grade your writings were featured in your school’s Artistic Excellence celebration. Your journals are filled with your observations and secrets. My favorite entry is the one where you described how you sneezed once and peed your pants on the neighbor’s porch. “I wasn’t embarsed. But it did kinda itch after a few minutes.” (I’m wondering how long you stood there and how come I never found out about it. Which is why I read your journals.)
(“Hey…”) (“You’re not nice.”)
That’s nothing. You should see the stuff I’ve got ready to say at your rehearsal dinner.
In these past few years you’ve taken an interest in sports. You adore basketball and do well, but you LIVE for soccer. After the first season your dad made me promise not to yell anymore. I couldn’t help myself. It was simply too darn exciting to see you out there, those long legs moving the ball through the maze of other players. You were the go to girl. You understood how the game worked and you were always thinking strategy. Thrilling. And yes, your father and I high fived each other secretly when the other parents cornered us and said very emphatically, “She’s GOOD! Like, select team good!” An athletic child from our chunky and sedentary loins. Amazing.
That is why I was shocked when this past season you decided that you wanted to be the goalie. Do you know how much pressure that puts on a mother? I wasn’t sure my heart could handle it. However, in true Amelia form you practiced and practiced until you got it right. You did not give up and you perfected one HELL of a – what’s that kick where you run and drop it and kick it at the same time? Whatever that is, you’ve got it DOWN baby! You dove for balls, slid for balls, challenged people who would dare enter your little rectangle thingy. They backed down. You never did. Other coaches were coming over to compliment us on your awesome awesomeness. Your coach told us flat out that you were on par with goalies a lot older than your league. Your father and I might have strutted around a little, but you never did. Not once. “I don’t want to get too confident. That’s when you make mistakes.” Indeed.
I sometimes think that things just come easily to you, but then I’ll notice you shooting hoops over and over, or I’ll find a few pages of math facts, and I realize that you make it look easy because you work hard.
You’re not a perfect child. You like to tease Amy and you’re not prudent about it. You almost always forget to call me when you ride your bike to your friend’s home. You couldn’t see an angry gorilla in our kitchen if it power drove you into the linoleum, so it is fruitless and frustrating to send you to find something. Despite my constant screeching about wet swimming suits and towels on my carpet (OHMIGAWD the smell!!), you continue to step out of them and leave them there until they’re dry and crunchy. You prefer junk food. You snore, and there’s that little issue with a uni-brow. You don’t always tell us how you’re really feeling and are sometimes just darned hard to figure out. Your short term memory is crap and you’ll often forget what you were looking for in the first place. You also don’t like it when I sing. That I can never forgive.
I just didn’t want you to get a big head.
I love that you’re into the same things I am. You think Doctor Who is da bomb and you like to make Friday nights at 9 “an event.” Popcorn, blankets, cuddled together on the love seat and talking through the whole damn show. But that’s okay. That’s why we bought T*vo. You want to be with me and pretty soon that’s going to end, so pardon me if I soak it up. You’re nearly 9 (that’s 108 months) and you still curl up in my lap. I hope you never stop wanting to do that.
I started writing this letter three or four times but had to stop because like most 2nd graders I couldn’t find the words. You’re an amazing kid. I knew it from the instant they put your icky and warm little body on my stomach and you reached up and slapped me in the face as if to say, “There wasn’t an easier way to do that?!”
Happy 105 months (two days ago),Helen!
Now go get the crunchy towel off your bedroom floor.