I have been wanting to write to you, Soleil, for so long now… but I have hardly written here at all, because I am perpetually unsatisfied with all that I write, and I have been hoping that if I wait for a day when I am not as tired as I am today (that day never arrives), that I will do a better job for you. So, instead of waiting for a day when I will do this any justice, I will tell you, today, some of the things I wish to tell you, however imperfectly, if only to ensure they don't go unsaid forever.
My big girl. My first. Oh, how I love, love, love you far beyond the stars. Ever since my pregnancy with your wee sis, so many of the words - here in this space where I try to preserve you both - has been devoted to Lucy, or to my journey mothering a baby born with cleft lip and palate. Meanwhile, I could have been writing reams and reams about the privilege of mothering your journey into sisterhood.
Right now, at 4 and 1/2 (4 and 3/4 you like to correct me) you are full of sweet innocence, endless questions and nonsensical jokes. You are so funny. I wish I could capture every nuance of this loveable four year old you.
Lucy has taken up so much of our energy and attention over the past year… some of those times have been stressful, and many of them have simply been enchanting. All of us, watching every adorable move she makes throughout her day. I listen to you coo unconsciously to her, to yourself, as you two play together, "Oh, my little cutie cute Lucy Lu! You're so cutie!! AWWWW, Mom! Look what she just did!!" I am shocked by how much you delight in her. I didn't know what to expect before Lucy joined our sacred trio, but I don't think I even dared to hope for this.
You are almost past the stage of instinctively, obsessively grasping her earlobe every 2 seconds. A left over habit from your nursing days when you would reach up and grab at some piece of me while you nursed and cling like a little sea creature securing your bond. This is your unconscious, endearing and irritating signal of undying affection. It was hard - slamming-my-heart-into-a-slab-of-granite-hard - to break you of this habit. As Lucy became more and more mobile, your constant reaching, clingy earlobe tentacle was impeding her clumsy progress, unintentionally infuriating her every 3 seconds. You would be drawn to her, always, always, always and forever with the your earlobe hand-missile. Calmly, I would remind you - hands down, that bothers her, give her space. And your body would actually vibrate with the effort not to do it BUT I LOVE HER SO MUCH I CAN'T STOP DOING IT! It was like a tic. And for real your big blue eyes would brim with tears several times a day when she would cry out so angrily and swat you away. You would snatch your hand back and say, "SORRY SORRY SORRY Lucy!" But it was too late, you had tripped her by loving her too hard via ye olde earlobe grab. I had to get more stern with you to help you override your bottomless desire to never let go of her earlobe. Ouch my heart! Ouch all of our hearts!!
You are so loving its insane. As insane as having an earlobe grabbing problem.
Every chance I get I scoop you into my lap and tell you how I love you. How special it is that you are my first. That you are my big girl. That you are the very first baby I ever had. How lucky I am that you are mine, that you landed right here, with us. Because all day, it is more than obvious how enthralled we all are with the wee one as she learns an AMAZING new trick every day.
Lucy is a little ball of fire. She bulldozes her way through each day wreaking wonderful havoc wherever she goes. She often leaves all of our ears ringing long after she has withdrawn her complaints. She is only just entering the world of sharing and turn taking… for now she is mostly cave-baby - all pushy and grabby and Super Loud. You give to her constantly. You appease her almost always. The other day I was mentioning, as per usual, what an amazing big sister you are. I reminded you that we need to teach Lucy to also be a good sister. Immediately you jumped to her defence,
"MOM! She IS a good sister!! She IS! She even is starting to SHARE with me!! She found baby kitty today and brought her to me and gave her to me all by herself! Can you even believe that? And she feeds me her crackers all the time!"
Earlier that day, in four year old fashion, you had asked me when I was going to die. Well, that whole sister spiel almost killed me right there. The mom pride could have propelled us to the space station within seconds. How lucky am I??? How lucky is Lucy? You. Are. Amazing. Lucy is kind of a jerk to you sometimes and you don't even notice. Which is endearing, but I hope to gently help balance that out over the next few years.
Lucy also loves you back super hard. Your tiny, ferocious, near-ferel sister is ridiculously affectionate. She clamours over to each of us countless times throughout the day for check-in hugs. This is something you never did at her age, so it is new to all of us. I hope you will be old enough to remember the ridiculous hug sessions you guys engage in these days. As if Lucy with her oversized toddler head and t-rex arms clutching at you and humming happily into your chest isn't enough, you freeze like a statue and bliss out, afraid to make any motion that will break the spell. You barely move your mouth as you dare to whisper, "Mom… look… what… she's… doing… she's…hugging… me… again…" You guys are too much. TOO MUCH. And when she tries to tickle you with her useless one-year-old imitation of a tickle claw? Just stop.
Everything sibling-wise is kind of idyllic right now… You look at the world through your 4 and 3/4 maple syrup glasses and Lucy says things like, "Hi Mama!" and we all keel over and die for five minutes. Especially YOU. You are her biggest cheer leader, you always point out her new accomplishments and take pride in all she learns. Everywhere we go when people stop to admire her you pipe up, "This is Lucy! She's my baby sister! We are sisters forever."
Sometimes I feel like I don't know who you are or where you came from, but I am just so astoundingly happy that you are here. Today, you told me you had decided that you WOULD get married when you grew up, and that you would marry Lucy.
I know that things will change, and you two will grow so much further into the people that you are and that those paths will take unpredictable turns and who knows where they will take us all… but I hope the threads from today are woven into that journey.
I hope that the resounding theme of LOVE from these early days is locked permanently, way deep inside both of you, always.
You, my first, are the biggest thing I ever dared to do… and you brought so much love into this home that we dared to do it again. Thank you and thank you, so far beyond the stars, thank you my girl.