Monday, June 20, 2011
Happy Birthday Alexis!
I upset someone I love yesterday. I hadn't meant to. It was an accident. But hurt them I did and for that I'm sorry.
See, it was my eldest daughter's 25th birthday yesterday.
Ok. So I didn't really forget as in I completely forgot about her birthday... It's just I didn't connect the dates. The fact it was Father's Day and her Birthday and the 19th of June all in one cohesive unit that awoke me up to the realization her birthday was yesterday not this Wednesday when she arrives back in Calgary.
Which I knew it wasn't. This Wednesday when she arrives. I knew this Wednesday was the 22nd. It's the 19th date I had difficulty connecting. The fact that yesterday was the 19th. If I'd noticed the date her birthday would never have gone unremarked. I know her birthday is the 19th of June. It's just I hadn't realized yesterday was the 19th of June.
But then, according to research, it makes sense. My memory cells just ain't what they used to be. So, when my daughter came here in search of a post about herself here -- because I hadn't phoned and I always post about each girl on their birthday, there wasn't one. I'd forgotten. though I prefer to call it, deferred the date to when I remembered :).
So... in honour of my daughter, in honour of 25 amazing years of her presence here on planet earth, I dedicate this blog to her.
She deserves it. (even though both girls forbid me from writing about them some time ago -- I'm going to do it anyway! I'm a rule breaker y'a know!)
Here's to Alexis. Amazing. Talented. Kind and caring. Intelligent and creative. Her beauty shines from the inside out. Her presence creates a light in the world that illuminates a kinder, more caring path for all of us to follow.
When she was two, Alexis liked to paint outside. I'd line the deck railings with paper, load her paint pots with rainbow colours, hand her a paintbrush and without hesitation, she would commence to paint. Even at such a young age she had an eye for colour and light. Decked out in bathing suit, sparkling tiara and a feather boa, she'd spend hours painting, singing to herself and telling her bear, who sat beside her in the child-size lawn chair complete with umbrella and watched, all about the worlds she was creating.
She spoke in full-sentences. Had been doing so since she was just a year old. It was a bit disconcerting for strangers. Not accustomed to her articulate manner, they'd be surprised when this tiny little two year old walked up and introduced herself, telling them her name, her age, and the fact she really liked chocolate.
She also knew never to ask women their age. She'd figured that out relatively quickly when at 16 months, after introducing herself to an older woman in the airport lounge where we were waiting to board a flight to Toronto, the older woman had told her that was not an appropriate question. She'd come back to me and asked why it wasn't appropriate and I'd told her that sometimes women would rather not speak about their age because they were sensitive about it. "What's sensitive?" she asked.
She always did. Ask. If she didn't understand the meaning of a word, she asked, and once she'd learned it, she'd use it in her next sentence. Sometimes in many next sentences.
Like the time she was playing with her bear in the cubbyhole beneath the sink in our bathroom. She was two. Her father had just come out of the shower and upon seeing him naked, pronounced in her singsong voice. "Daddy has a tail."
Her father, somewhat consternated by her comment called out to me in a pleading voice. "Louise...."
Just tell her what it's called, I suggested.
And so he did. Tell her what it's called.
It's not a tail. It's a penis.
Penis, she repeated.
And again. Penis. She glanced down at her teddy bear who was sitting with her in the laundry basket she was using as a boat to sail around the world. "Does Teddy bear have a penis?"
No, I replied coming into the bathroom as her father scooted to safety in our bedroom.
Why not? she asked.
He doesn't need one.
Now, I know the simple answer would have been, because he doesn't need to pee but that particular anatomical reality of the appendage in question had escaped my mind. And I wasn't prepared to get into a detailed conversation about birds and bees and reproductive systems.
So I did what any self-respecting mother would do whose husband, when faced with the option of explaining to his two year old daughter why daddy's body is different than mommy's or going for a bikeride, had chosen the latter.
I changed the subject.
Alexis was never one to be deterred from finding answers. Penis became her new favourite word and every bear, lion, any stuffed animal in the house, had to be inspected to see if it contained an appendage called penis.
The toughest question to answer though was when she asked, as we walked past the church down the hill from our house, "Does God have a penis?"
"No," I replied.
"He doesn't need one."
"Because he's androgynous."
That stopped her. For a moment.
"What's an-dro-gy-nous?" she carefully sounded out the word.
"It means having no particular sex, yet compromising both sexes."
Oh dear. There they were again. Those darned birds and bees...
and so she grew. From inquisitive two year old to beautiful twenty-five year old. Life with Alexis is always an adventure. Always a gift.
I know I'm a day late, but happy birthday my darling daughter. You make my world brighter. You bring me joy and laughter, light and love.
You are my first born. For twenty-five years I have practiced my mothering skills on you and as you can see, I'm still perfecting them.
Love you more than all the memory cells I will ever use or lose.
(Thanks Fi at Inspiration to Dream for the badge! It fits me well today!)