I usually like to snuggle up with you on the night before your birthday, and as you fall asleep I think about that same night a certain number of years ago and the journey between then and now. This week has been about the most miserable weather in a month of the most miserable in a summer of the most miserable, and even in the true luxury that is central air, the thought of snuggling up to anything that isn’t chilled in some manner is not so appealing. You must have remembered those previous years’ cuddles though, because I heard you shuffling around upstairs just before four am, and when I went upstairs you were standing at the sink rubbing cold water over your arms and face. I thought for a moment that you had maybe spiked a fever – just yesterday we were at the doctor’s office and you’ve got your first sinus infection at the ripe old age of seven. What is it with you and your sister – always getting sick the day before your birthdays?
There was no fever, just a restlessness about you, and you told me that you couldn’t sleep. I offered to lie down with you, but a few moments later, when your dad starts his own day, he found me asleep and you still lying there. The three of us moved back down to the bigger bed, and together we all fell back asleep for awhile, celebrating, in our rest, the joy of those little moments of togetherness that we’ve been lucky enough to share with you for seven years now.
Tomorrow night we’ll have your party, completely designed by you, and it’s been fun to watch you plan out the details. You are still the first one in line to play the rowdiest game with all the boys, but there’s a bit of extra time spent in front of the mirror each morning, a few accessories showing up on your wrist or in your hair than you ever would have thought to put on in the past. You are tough and plucky when you insert yourself into games that the girls aren’t usually invited to play, and you are kind and thoughtful to your friends in quieter one-on-one play. You absorb so much information so quickly, and fly through book after book after book, and song after song after song on your violin, that I wonder how we got so lucky to have such a girl as you.
You finally fell back asleep this morning, in the same position that you did as a baby and a toddler and a little girl – all limbs astray, as if you were dropped into bed and then stretched out once you landed. We straighten you up a bit each night when we check on you before bed, and we wonder how much longer those legs will stretch, and how each day we see more of that older girl, that tween, that teen and young lady that you will grow to be. Too quickly, I know. Way too quickly for me.
I love you. We love you. Your sister adores you and watches your every move. Thank you for an amazing seven year run. Happy, happy birthday.