Four.

You and Teddy had a book fair at school this week, I told you to pick out one book (because paying full price for anything is basically against my non-existent religion)—but in the midst of multiple shelves of books with everything in vogue in preschool-land in 2019, I saw a classic, I’ll Love Your Forever.

You’ll come to know that I love classics: whether a book or a black tailored dress with pearls. Classics never age and having class (and humanity) will never go out of style.

Needless to say, you came home with two books.

These past two years have been the epitome of bittersweet. I was forced to make a steady wave of incredibly tough and emotional life-choices, which resulted in some life altering changes for all of us. Watching you weather each step of this prolonged process was basically earth-shattering for me. Even if you didn’t feel a ripple, I still felt each step like a tsunami for you. The downside of being an empath is how doubly draining (sometimes devastating) it is to feel my own pain as well as others’. When I say I feel your pain, I mean that I literally feel your pain. All of it— to the core of my being.

Getting you acclimated into a new town, a new “school” (i.e. daycare) was one exhausting, emotional month for both of us. You didn’t have the teachers and/or nannies you’ve grown to love (so much) here, your best friend, Kiki, or any friends (yet)—and it affected me because I knew exactly what you were feeling. I too am alone in this “foreign to me” town– away from everyone and everything I consider “home.” I just never led you to know that, to see that.

I knew in time, you would adjust, and you have—beyond my wildest imagination. You have new school friends, new neighborhood friends that you call “cousins,” and every teacher in the new school knows you because you instantly give every willing participant a “huggie.” I’m pretty sure it’s the only word many think you know—every day upon picking you up, you run to every teacher, giving them their nightly hugs.

Watching you comforts me in knowing that in time I too will find new friends, along with new places to love, trails to frequent, a yoga studio to adore. I will one day feel “home” here too. Luckily, we moved into a wonderful neighborhood and I already feel budding friendships—so I think we actually lucked out.

This year may have had its fair share of life transformations and transitions—but it was also filled with such amazing growth. I’ve watched you morph from a wild, curious, smart, tomboy TODDLER into a wild, curious, smart, sensitive, kind, snuggly tomboy KID. And I’ve witnessed myself laugh again, truly, authentically laugh again.

You may be organically drawn to trucks, trains, and elaborate helicopter animal rescues (all things “boy”)– but you have this sensitivity, this unworldly kindness and goodness to you. It’s neither feminine or masculine in energy, it’s human pureness and grace. I am equally awed as I am anxious by it (for you). You act like a second mother to Teddy despite only being 2.5 years older than him. Until his arrival and given your complete disinterest in baby-dolls, I wasn’t sure how you’d react to his presence in your world, but you are so amazing and mature beyond your years with him. You are strong, smart, social, and capable– but you let others take the lead. If someone wrongs you, you don’t assert yourself, you walk away—often in tears. You sense the emotional state of all movie/TV characters as well as everyone in your life from a mile away—and inquire why they’re feeling the way they are. You watch with wondering eyes at all the occurrences around you and quietly inquire to me about the ones you’re most interested in—but are timid to inquire with those outside your comfort zone.

I realize this innate sensitivity wasn’t taught to you. I’ve actually tried my best to shield you from it—but I couldn’t, and I can’t. This sensitivity is just as a part of you as your big blue eyes. As your mom, your late uncle Jeff, your cousin, Anna, your Nonnie, your great-grandfather, Ted, were born with this sensitivity, so were you. It’s an emotional intelligence we sometimes can’t make sense of but it can tear at our heartstrings because we see people for who they are and not how they present themselves to the world, we see and appreciate authenticity and kindness, we want to help everyone, and when we feel–we feel HARD.

There’s this article that randomly shows up on Facebook every so often and every time I read it, I think of you and wonder what I can do to teach you that your strength matches your sensitivity. Your sensitivity is a strength. The author, Kate Rose, states: “Dear daughter, I know that you’re looking to see yourself in me. But in truth, I’m sorry that you’re so much like me. I’m sorry that I gave you a heart stronger than a thousand warriors, because it will take you years to learn that not everyone loves like you do.” [Link: https://www.elephantjournal.com/2017/02/dear-daughter-im-sorry-youre-so-much-like-me/]

Happy FOURTH birthday my little “super-hero/ warrior-girl,” you are a dream come true and I have never been more proud of anything in this world than I am of you. I’m sorry you’re so much like me– but I hope one day those trait(s) I passed down to you, including your sensitivity, serve you well. After all, you ARE stronger than a thousand warriors.

I’ll love you forever. I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.

Mama

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