An open letter to my daughter…
My third child, & second daughter, is turning seven today. As she rejoices in being one step closer to getting out from under me, & having the ability to wear, do, say whatever she wants, I will be rejoicing in all she brings to my heart & my life. You are the burst of fresh air, the whirlwind of energy, the fierce, strong, independent child. You have never needed me the way your siblings have…from the earliest age, you have stood on your own. Difficult for me to accept at times, yet that “screw you” attitude so like mine that I can’t help but love & respect it. Maybe the fact that I too am a dual sign, it is my Gemini Twins that I relate to the easiest. The Boy for such similar likes, interests, twisted humour, The Diva for sheer attitude. And though I anticipate you being my most difficult teenager, you are the one I will never worry about out there in the world. You always know exactly what you want, & you are never afraid to go after it…from the very day you were born.
Odd, the similarities between my Gemini Twins, because you were not easy to conceive either. I was heading back to the fertility clinic after months of waiting for you. But then, as with your brother, there you were, & the pregnancy completely uneventful…the two of you were the only ones to make it through the homebirths I had planned, & hoped for, with all four. You were, however, the only baby I naturally went in to labour with, the way you always hear it told…with my water breaking, right out of the blue. It was a Monday morning. Your brother had celebrated his 5th birthday the day before & your sister was not quite three. You, my precocious little devil, were not due until July, almost 3 weeks away. Deciding to take one last opportunity to enjoy the relative sanity of only 2 kids, we spent his birthday at Wonderland. It was a very long, hot day on my feet, bigger than I’d been with any baby, dragging 2 little ones around for 12 hours. Come morning, Dad had gone off to work, & I had puttered down to the computer, still in my jammies, to sit with my e-mail & a cup of tea. A short time later, I stood up, took 2 steps, & WHOOOSHHH….my water broke. I was absolutely stunned, especially since, in both of my previous deliveries, they had broken my water well in to labour. I made my way to the bathroom as I called for your brother to bring me the phone…& the mop. Your Daddy turned around & came right back home, while the midwife asked the usual questions & arranged to come by & check on me. Thankfully, I had just made it to that 37 week mark, allowing me my homebirth I so desperately wanted. Diva that you are though, you kept us waiting. Despite my water breaking, I just wasn’t contracting.
By dinner time, the midwives were getting antsy…infection can easily be introduced once the membranes have broken, they were discussing transferring me to hospital. After my oldest daughter’s premature hospital birth, I would have rather given birth in the woods alone than go through another “medical” birth. I managed to convince them to give me more time…but we had a long night ahead of us still, & I spent half of it locked in my bathroom ignoring the midwives as they tried to convince me to go to the hospital. I actually prayed for agonizing pain REAL labour to hit, which it finally did, & my sister fought hard for me to stay home. With every single labour, all of them natural, I hover around 2 centimetres throughout, giving the impression of not progressing despite the very real agonizing pain labour. Then out of nowhere, I throw up, & a few minutes later I’m pushing. Odd yes, but very normal for me…this was the argument my sister used in keeping me at home. God bless her for that…& for the fact that I had the same midwife for all my babies, who knew this to be true as well. It takes me less than an hour to go from throwing up (transition), to having delivered a baby…you were no exception, & popped out in no time. And like your brother, we did not yet know what we were having…it hadn’t mattered, for we already had one of each. There you were, another little princess, quietly studying me, holding my gaze as if determining if I’d be worthy of you. Your brother was astounded, your sister scared for Mommy, but they were there too, right behind me with Daddy, as you were placed in my arms…& they reached for you right away. You belonged to us immediately. And again, just like your brother, the room filled with laughter as the midwife told us all how it was that you had come to be here 3 weeks early, & just why it was that I had struggled to go in to labour. You had LITERALLY kicked your way out. There was a very clear thin spot, & a hole, just about the size of your tiny baby foot, that told her you had worn away at it slowly but surely, until finally, you had likely given one good hoof & kicked it open, causing my water to break & forcing us to force contractions & let you out…3 weeks early. Little did I know that spoke volumes on who you would become!
It was this fierce determination & stubborn independence that caused you to drop your two day old sister down the stairs when YOU were only 2 & ½ in an attempt to “bring her“ to meet my friend, unbeknownst to me as I was answering the door…six months later caused you to run around on a broken leg (from an undiagnosed bone cyst) without complaint for three days before I finally took notice of the worsening limp….had you completely unfazed by 2 months in a full cast…saw you playing happily as you awaited surgery on the same leg, while I cried quietly, wanting to hold you tight & almost annoyed that YOU neither wanted, or needed me to do that…caused you to decide, at four years old, that you could swim, & nearly drowned were it not for your cousin & aunt….& caused you to wander out of bed at the cottage & off to the waterfront in your nightie at 6 a.m. that same summer, forcing us to start setting the alarm at night. Admittedly, your brother & sister before you had simply not prepared me for behaviour the likes of this…you always managed to shock & surprise us with the things you’d do! As for the swimming, you have always insisted you could just do it, & since last summer, you just have. And as for your two day old baby sister & her “tumble” down the stairs, she was fine…though I spent 6 hours being grilled by various people at the hospital to ensure I told the same story each time, hoping my obvious distress would be enough to convince them I hadn’t thrown my own newborn down the stairs! I have a feeling it won’t be the last time I find myself having to explain your actions…
Always a happy & silly baby, (entirely different from a content baby, mind you!), you made a seamless transition in to the family, quickly becoming my little Button for that turned up nose of yours I so loved to poke. Definitely a temper, but so much like Mommy, it burns hot & fast, almost always born of frustration from not being able or allowed to do something…besides, you just don’t have time to waste on a tantrum. A firecracker from the start, you skipped crawling altogether, & were the earliest for walking & talking….just because you decided to. You were bound & determined to keep up to your siblings, a risk taker, & my first climber. Once on the move, you never looked back…& I had to let you go. By three, you were throwing cartwheels & landing in the splits, & despite being the youngest member of your cheer squad 2 years running, have managed to be one of the best tumblers….without a single lesson. As a little sister, you never seem to allow yourself to be put in “that” role…here too you stand firm. In turn, your older siblings have never treated you as the younger sister. You fought for, & gained, equal footing. As the older sister…well, you claimed ownership from the start, & now that same baby has become your little shadow. A role you never took to as a younger sister, but relish as a big sister. For Bunny you are a playmate, for Bud, a buddy, & for The Baby, you, my Button, are the epitome of a big sister.
And somehow, there’s just something about you…an intangible quality that allows you to plough through life, wreaking havoc, while the rest of us are blinded by the twinkle in your eye, a cheeky little smile, & a confidence most can only dream of. Your charm & wit so like your brother’s, yet as much as he chooses to fade in a crowd, you stand out in one. A fiery spirit, a star in the making, people just know who you are, memorable even at such a young age. Generally easy going, out going, fun loving, unconcerned with what anyone else has to say…as long as things go your way! But when they don’t, you find your way around it, bound & determined to make the best of it all. You attack life, & everything seems to come so easy for you…no matter what you set your sights on or try your hand at, you make it look effortless. You’ve brought us all the gift of courage, & opened our eyes to possibilities. You banished the word “can’t”, making us all try a little harder & be more willing to face our fears…not wanting to be out done by one so little! And though I often look over at you, melancholy for the “little girl” you have never been, realizing that you likely haven’t sat on my lap or held my hand since you were a babe in arms, I have such pride & respect for who you are. And whether you need me or not, I will always be right here, watching over you. You, my wee girl, bring such life & energy to our family. It is an immeasurable gift…YOU are an immeasurable gift. And today, as my beautiful, strong, free spirited Button celebrates being one step closer to REAL independence, I will celebrate the most precious gift of you…your light, your fire, your strength, your courage…my child, my daughter, my heart. Happy Birthday to my wee baby Button…I love you so.
Mommy…. <3 xoxo