Three years ago today you were very kind to me and came into this world with limited physical fanfare. You joined Shaun and me in our little house and immediately made us a family. I can’t believe it’s been three calendar years since that day. At moments it seems like I have always known you, and at others I think “Who are you?” and can’t believe you’ve been here all this time. I learn a little bit more about you each day, and each day you teach me a little more about myself.
Your father and I have learned that we are not the most patient people. Every night we coach each other about a missed opportunity to praise you, or a strong word flung around in a weak moment, or a split second when we pulled you too hard or moved you along too quickly. We try not to be in a hurry, to enjoy every minute with you, but some days the world works against us.
This weekend, at your birthday party, adults and kids alike were taken in by your spirit. It rained like gangbusters, but that didn’t stop you from welcoming every one, throwing your wet little body into their arms, and thanking them for making you feel special. You shared your cake (although you did “assign” pieces), you shared your toys, you shared your enthusiasm for life. I know a lot of us grown-ups need to be reminded of ours sometimes.
You are an amazing creature — and not because of anything we have done. That’s another lesson we have learned as new-ish parents — that you have your own marvelous design, your own personality, your own plans. We are here simply to guide you, to help you learn about choices, to love you and discover your world alongside you.
And, while you are three years old (what a big girl!), we have to remember that you are only three years old. You speak as if you were a contract negotiator for a union — with the same vocabulary as some of the brightest grown-ups I know, and with a will and determination that sometimes threatens to melt the skin off of my face. I have never before discussed the actual benefits of a lollipop (to one’s day, to one’s mood, to one’s health!) with such fervor, or had to talk someone out of going to the store naked just because it feels good. I do have to admit though, your world is an inviting one — all of us leaping around naked eating lollipops sounds just fine to me. Throw in John Malkovich, a decent Barolo, and a pack of smokes and you’ve got a perfect weekend, I say!
I know that with all your “feistiness” (so that’s teacher-speak for “she can be a real pain in the a**”), that you love your Dad and me with equal devotion, and I am so thankful for that. You are our koan, our reminder of what’s important. You bring so much light to our lives, so much depth.
Happy Birthday, Ruby. I love you.
Tanita Tikaram, Good Tradition