Saturday, December 10, 2011

My Girl

Little Girl turned five yesterday, the same day as our preschool trip to see The Nutcracker. It doesn’t get much better than that.

I had a little moment there, just as “March of the Children” began, when I turned my attention from the lavish production on stage to her mesmerized face in the dark. She was perched on the edge of her seat, holding an armload of stuffed animals, clearly recognizing the song and delighted to see it come to life so vividly in front of her. I nearly started to cry.

There’s a joy in this girl that just about breaks my heart sometimes. It’s so pure, so free from the fears and self-doubt that come later in life. She throws herself into the things she loves with full force, unapologetically. She is my girl in motion – swinging on the playground for incredibly long stretches, mired in a gorgeous world of imagination. She adorns herself in mismatched pinks and sparkles. She narrates as we go about our daily business, or holds conversations with stuffed animals and imaginary friends. And her joy in her real friends is enormous, especially when they join in her story-playing. She’s even got The Boy doing it. They can play for hours, those two, just making up stories and acting them out.

I see so much of my childhood self in her, it’s a little scary sometimes. Scary, because I know what comes next. You turn all that love and imagination and intensity loose on the world and, well…mixed results, at best. There will be people who get you and love you for being your rather unusual self. Others, not so much. She has no clue yet, bless her heart, about people who want to take others down a peg with rigid standards of “normal” and “feminine,” or just plain competition. She can’t begin to fathom that there will be people who won’t love her as much as she loves them. Knowing that this awaits her is almost too much for me sometimes. Will her spirit survive it?

Well…yes. I think her spirit will do just fine. She’s got so much of it to begin with, not to mention a mother who’s been through the woods and back and could maybe help show her the path, if she’s willing. That’s what I keep telling myself, anyway. Might as well enjoy that unbridled innocence while we have the chance.

Happy birthday, Little Girl.

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