Mama and Daddy and my big sister Addie and me went to the big, big library in New York, which Mama said is pretty famous and that there were going to be lions there. At first I thought that she meant real lions, and I have seen those on the National Geographic movies about animals that we watch at home, but she meant stone lions. There they sat in the front looking like they were guarding the library.
Inside there were trees and a lot of people being really quiet. Since it echoed in there and I know how to make a really good echoing sound, I shouted as loud as I could all the way in the main hall. Mama told me to “shhhhhh” like she does when I am roaring, but I was just being like those stone lions and protecting the library.
We wandered all around the building until we got to the children’s section, which was a place where I could get down and I could be loud. I read some books to Daddy, and then we got to do the little people’s storytime with a bunch of little people about my size. A sweet librarian named Sue came in to see us. She talked softly and she smiled a lot, and everyone stopped to listen as she started to sing songs.
There were lots and lots of songs, and I liked them a lot. I played along for a while, but then I decided to walk around and shout some more. After all, I had been in the stroller a lot of the day, so I wanted to run and to play and play and play. All of the other kids stayed more still than me. Mama kept trying to get me to play along with my big sister Addie, but Daddy said something about me being a “free spirit” and “a unique soul” and that it wasn’t going to work. He was right– no one was stopping me. The woman who did the storytime did not seem to mind, and she played with puppets with me and gave me little egg shakers to shake in my hands to make rain sounds. Before we knew it, storytime was done and the woman making the stories and songs laughed and told Mama that it was just fine that I had been everywhere. Of course it was, Mama, this was a time for play. I just throw myself into play. All of me, every ounce, becomes play.
Just like the shakers sound different when played in different hands, we are all different. I might be loud and I might be everywhere, but I am just dancing to the music in my own head and making my own beats in the world. And that beat… the one that is mine… it is perfect just the way that it is, because it is how I was made. I might not be made for quiet, but I am made to make an impact on everyone around me everywhere that I go. Thank you, New York Public Library, and thank you, Sue, for letting me be myself in a space that is meant for quiet.
Oh, Mama, you are going to be so proud. While you were getting music ready for us to dance together, I was really busy with the marker that I found under the couch. I got the top off of it, and I made art all over your table. See how beautiful it is? Doesn’t the blue go well with that red that you had on there already? It’s a sky, can you see it? It’s just like when we are outside, and now I brought it in for you to see today since the sun didn’t come out to play. I even said, “see?” when you came over because I knew you would be so, so happy with me. That’s my way to show you that I love you, and if you give the marker back– I’m not sure where you put it– I can color all sorts of other things for you, too, and put the sky everywhere.
I know that you loved it, because you said, “ohhhhh shoot” a couple of times when you saw it. You’re welcome, Mama, you’re welcome.
To walk, or not to walk—that is the question:
Whether ‘tis nobler in the body to suffer
The falls and stumbles of potential hurting
Or to take flight against many obstacles
And by opposing pass them. To grow, to climb—
Much more—and by to climb I say begin
The heartache, of my Mama’s steady heart
That flesh is heir to. ‘Tis my consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To grow, to climb—
To climb, perhaps to reach: ay, there’s the goal,
For in that climb of heights what toys may come
When I have shuffled off this hallowed ground,
Must give me pause. There’s the respect
That makes calamity of my bright life.
For who may bear the pass and love of time,
Th’ inspirer’s hope, the proud Mom’s concentration
The pangs of endless love, of my delay,
The hesitance of office, and the spurns
That patient merit that my parents take,
When I myself might this loudness make
With a smiling face? Who would stories bear,
To grunt and sweat under a busy life,
But that the wait of something after climbs,
The undiscovered country, from who explores,
Gains new discoveries, puzzles the will,
And makes me rather bear those fears I have
And to fly to others that I know not of?
Thus conscience does make worriers of us all,
And thus the gorgeous hue of the horizon
Is shadowed o’er with the pale cast of dreams
And enterprise of great pitch and moment
With this regard my steps turn forward
And gain the name of action.—Soft you now,
My Mama and Dada! – Loves, in admiration
Be all my steps remembered.
I am writing this letter to you, Dorian, my beautiful and miraculous daughter. You are over one, and I began this blog to share your life with others, but truly, I began it so that you could have something that you can look back on when you are older. It is a documentation of your life. It is your life. It is you. It is the essence of your personality, which is ever growing. Every passing day, you grow. You get bigger, you get more confident, you show new talents.
You are a bright light, so blinding that I can hardly comprehend it. You are a gift. You are a blessing. You are my life. You are your father’s life. You are loved. You always will be loved and supported by both of us, and you will always know love. Not a day goes by that you have not, and not a day goes by as long as we are living and breathing (and even after, dear, we are still beside you for all of your days).
You are our last. We are raising four beautiful, intelligent, wonderful people, and you are the last of those. We have the privilege to see small people become bigger ones, to become more self-assured, to become… adults. That is why I am writing you. You are now one, only one year old. You will, though, be two before I blink, then three, then four. You will walk. You will speak in complete and well-constructed sentences (I am an English instructor, so you are assured of this as I am a grammatical perfectionist). You will learn history, science, math, English, art. You will have a favorite. You will have favorite teachers and favorite music. You will dream. You will dream of what you can be, and you will yearn to achieve what you wish for most. I hope nothing more than for you to get it. All of it… the world in the palm of your hands. You are a ball of potential, and you have the Earth as a canvas in front of you for you to create what you wish from it. You do, and will, make the world more beautiful because you are in it.
You will hurt. You will fall, you will bleed, you will get bruised. You will cry from that pain, and inside I will hurt each time that you do. You will hurt on the inside, deep down in places where no one can really see, but I will see it, and I will hurt with you. You will be heartbroken, you will suffer loss, you will have disappointment. That kind of hurt is so much more painful than when you fall—and I will want to protect you, but I won’t be able to. I can’t shield you from the world. You have not suffered these things yet, but you will. Your Dad and I will be right there with you, and I can promise that we will hurt more than you each and every time. You may not always choose to see it, but we will be there right behind you, holding you up.
You will grow. Despite your father’s and my best efforts, you will grow faster than I can comprehend. You already are. Your personality shows in everything that you do—you gorgeous and blindingly beautiful girl—and you are well established already in your ability to see the world for what it truly is… and it is a beautiful world if you look through all of the ugly presented to us each day.
Please, my sweet girl, please don’t grow too fast. I look at you every day with joy and happiness, with a love that is so deep and engrained in my soul that it hurts sometimes. Your Dad and I can do many, many things, but one thing that we can’t do is to slow time down. I wish more than anything that we could. My wonder, my life, my child… if I have one piece of advice for you, it is to slow down, when you can, when you know the difference between acting as a child and acting as an adult. Slow down and continue the path of innocence. The life you lead as an adult will be waiting for you, but the life you had as a child you can never, ever get back once you walk past it.
I love you with every single piece of me… not one speck left.
Love always and always and always,
I already know that books are one of my Mama’s favorite things in the world. She loves to read her own books, even when I try to grab them so that she can pay attention to just me instead. She loves reading to me most though, and she reads me books pretty much every day. Sometimes the books have pictures and sometimes they are big people books and they just have words.
One of my favorite books so far is If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff. In the book the pig starts out with a pancake, but then she wants syrup, then a bath, then a ducky, and on and on and on. That piggie always wants a new thing as soon as she gets the thing that she has, and she never seems to be completely satisfied with the thing that she has right then.
I love that book because that little pig is just like me. I want one thing and then another and another and another, and before I know it, I want the first thing that I had at the beginning of the day… and then it starts all over again. The little girl that is giving things to the piggie seems really tired at the end of it all, and she does do an awful lot for her little friend the pig. The piggie makes a giant mess and the little girl has to pick it back up just like Mama does with all of my toys. Maybe that’s why Mama looks so tired sometimes. Silly Mama, she shouldn’t be tired… after all, I’m busier than she is.
If you give a baby a bottle,
she’ll want some sweet potatoes to go with it.
You’ll give her some of Daddy’s
best homemade sweet potatoes.
She’ll probably get really messy,
so she’ll want to take a bath.
She’ll ask you for her little whale tub to be comfy.
When you put her in her whale tub,
She’ll probably ask you for a toy.
You’ll have to find her favorite bunny washcloth.
The bunny will remind her of her favorite stuffed lovie Ophelia.
She will want to snuggle with it and take a nap.
She’ll want for you to snuggle and nap too.
She’ll get under her blanket
and curl her arms around you.
She’ll stay completely still
until you get back up.
Then she’ll wake right up and want to play.
She’ll go all over the house,
grabbing everything that she sees.
She’ll find your T.V. remote. She’ll want
to push all of the buttons to make the
When she is done reprogramming the remote, she’ll want to go in her pink walker box.
You’ll get a lot of toys,
and she will go around and grab them all
and throw them on the floor.
Then she’ll want you to pick them up
and get her new toys, too.
You’ll get more toys out,
and she’ll put those all around the house.
When she’s done redecorating the house,
she’ll want for you to take her walker box outside in the sun.
then she’ll want to run down the driveway
to the tree.
You’ll have to get her and bring her back,
and then she’ll run the same way that she came from.
While she is running, she’ll see the recycling bin.
She’ll want to try to grab all of the boxes
with pictures of food.
When she sees the pictures of food,
it will remind her of her Daddy’s
homemade sweet potatoes.
She’ll want for you to scoop her up
and take her inside to heat some up.
And chances are,
If she wants sweet potatoes,
she’ll want a bottle to go with it.