Wednesday, December 14, 2011

...and when they offer you handouts on the street, of cynicism and defeat, you tell them that they really ought to meet your mother...

Dear Nora,

Most parents would say that they can't believe how fast time has gone- here you are 6 years old. 

But for me, the only time you ever acted slowly was during pregnancy and labor.  You would not have come out if not absolutely forced.  And still you love to be cozy, taking twenty minutes each night to arrange your blankets, stuffed animals and ten books all around you. 

But once you hit this world you joined it with a vengeance.  You have rarely been cautious when it comes to experiencing life and you don't waste time.  I'm not surprised you're 6 in the same way I am surprised your sister is already 15 months.  Does that make sense?

You are a people person.  Your roughest hours are the ones between 3pm and bedtime, because we only have three other people in this house.   That kind of person to Nora ratio simply does not meet your needs.  

You have this wonderful love for the rather mundane things in your life.  You love an adventure, but you thrive on your daily life and in this way I understand you.  You want to walk into a huge building each day and surround yourself with all sorts of characters.  You do everything big- if you are going to be in preschool, you are going to know every person in that preschool and even have the director wrapped around your finger.  Now that you have started elementary school it is the same.  When I walk through your new school the principal, nurse, librarian, counselor and even the lunch lady talk to me about you.  We've been trying to meet people in this new area, and it seems each person I meet at our church says to me, "Oh, Nora's your daughter?  I taught her in Sunday school, she's a character!".  You own your little world and I know that already our limitations and attempts to control it make you resentful.  

You are frustrating.  SO frustrating.  Our constant battle is against you operating like the 3rd adult in this house.  Dad and I can not communicate with each other without your constant intercessions.  You make arguments so well sometimes, that the only reason you do not win the battle is because we know we need to stick to our guns to make sure the line is drawn between you and us.

You are also the joy in this house.  You make simple situations seem so special and important and full of opportunity.  Cartoons in the morning!  Pizza and a movie on Friday night!  A bubble bath in mom and dad's big tub!  Chalking our driveway with a family portrait! Getting to wear a skirt that looks like a tutu!
I hope you always keep the mentality that the simple things in life are the most fun, because the grass is always greener mentality tends to hit us all.  And it's so exhausting.  

Out of all of us, this year has probably been hardest on you.  Shortly after you turned 5 we moved 1,000 miles away.  The distance meant nothing to you, but the fact that you had to leave your 4K class, friends and family is something you are still not over.  I think you have completely moved forward, and then suddenly you'll express some sadness that hurts me to the core.  It's all still in your head, what you've left.

I hope that when you look back on this change you see that it allowed us to give you more than we had been able to before, and that was 100% our motivation in leaving all those things behind.  Your education, home, spiritual life, surroundings, and opportunity- all of these things are better.  What you may come to know as you get older is how much it cost us too.  It was an investment in your life, to chase this opportunity. 

I also hope when you look back you'll remember all the visitors we had in the first year we lived in this place- both sets of grandparents twice, Aunt Julia, Uncle Dave, Hailey and Caleb, Aunt Meghan, Sarah and Addie, and Mark.  And the ones who have not been here yet are always trying to figure out how to work it into their very busy lives.  These people will always come find you in this world.

This move occurred at a time when you became a big sister and our family dynamic shifted from dad and I obsessing over your every breathe for five years (I can remember you having a coughing fit one day, and before I realized that dad and I were both staring at you with concern, you looked over and said, "Guys, I'm fine."), to having to share that focus with, of all things, another little girl.  On top of all of those things, your sister was born with a fixable, yet stressful medical situation.  I know that must have been hard.  All the doctor visits (where you would point out to those examining her: "She doesn't like what you are doing!"), all the discussions of the baby, and at times my focus- out of fear of the unknown- had to shift towards protecting Evie.  

I hope when you look back on this time you don't remember all of those things, I hope you remember Nana spending time with you singing songs, staying in a hotel and taking that cab ride you thought was so awesome.  I hope you don't remember us being tired or scared or stressed while we stayed in the hospital with Evie, but instead I hope you remember getting to eat ice cream for breakfast the morning after her surgery, a secret Nana told you to keep but you just couldn't hold in!  I also hope that you remember that Dad and I beg Evie for kisses, but she only consistently gives them to you.  And Elmo.

Your brain has exploded with learning now.  You are reading and using words like 'literally' in their correct context- which is more than I can say for most people.   You see patterns in this world now and you see basic math situations and point them out everywhere we go.  It's been an exciting past year.  I can not imagine what this new year will bring.

My mom used to tell me that this was my world, and everyone else was just living in it.  Um....no.  She never met you.

Nora, this is YOUR world.  The rest of us are just living in it.
Love you,
Mom

11 comments:

Amanda M. said...

God bless you, Nora and Happy Birthday! This was so beautiful, Amanda. I just know that Nora possesses all of those amazing and unique traits because she is YOURS. And you are amazing, my friend. XOXO

Megs said...

This is perfect. I don't have the words for it. I'm all teary. Thanks for sharing this Mandy. Happy, happy 6th birthday Nora. Love you guys.

Keri Gretebeck said...

You've done it again Amanda... perfection. Thanks for making me smile after this very long day :) I cannot wait to read your book some day... and you also have my vote for president.

Leah said...

Your the type of mom i have longed to know! You are such a great a mom! Your post mademe cry. Knowing Nora has been such a joy. Its pure entertainment to have her in our home. Sloane just adores her as well. We will have to come by tomorrow to give her a birthday wish. I hope shes feeling better tomorrow.

clreaume said...

Beautiful.

sabrina0024 said...

Okay what is going on here....this post made me a blubbering mess almost! I have my eyes opened up SUPER WIDE so I won't cry. This was a beautiful post - every single piece of it. Love you Nora - Happy Birthday Kiddo. :)

sabrina0024 said...

Okay what is going on here....this post made me a blubbering mess almost! I have my eyes opened up SUPER WIDE so I won't cry. This was a beautiful post - every single piece of it. Love you Nora - Happy Birthday Kiddo. :)

Julie said...

This post is perfection.

Literally.

Happy day to your Nora and to you my friend; the one whose life changed forever on the day she was born.

Kara said...

What a wonderful tribute to your daughter! Happy Birthday Nora!

sheri leach said...

This post is so beautiful. It made me teary but cheerful at the same time. Such a wonderful way to honor your lovely daughter - so sweet :)

Twins Happen said...

Very lovely post. You've given me inspiration to write letters to my boys for their birthdays. Thank you.