I just went back and read some of my old letters, and wow, have things gotten easier. No wonder I sometimes feel a bit lost in the vast of the expanse of the weekends these days, wondering what I'm supposed to be doing with myself. I think it's because I spent more than three years dealing with your constant needs and, now, all of a sudden, you seem to know how to do everything by yourself. Gone are the days when you refused to do things for yourself. Now, you insist on it. You would sooner drag a 50-pound chair down the stairs, so you can stand on it to reach the light switch, than have me turn on the light for you. If I did flip the switch, you would demand that I turn it off immediately so you could do it yourself.
Now, I park the car and, seconds later, you have taken off your own seatbelt, opened the door and jumped out. After all those years of leaning over to unstrap you, it feels like a miracle. You clear your own dishes from the table and wash your hands without help and deal with your own potty needs. And you dress yourself with no intervention from me. You are adamant about choosing your own clothes. In fact, anything I might suggest you wear is rejected on principle. You have very strict wardrobe requirements. Stretch pants only. Anything even the slightest bit scratchy or tight is rejected. Turtlenecks are out of the question. You have not yet come to understand the concept of matching, so you make some interesting fashion statements. Some days, I wish I could pin a sign on you that reads, "She picked this outfit, not me."
These days, you seem to need me most as a social director. Ever since our beach vacation, when you spent the week happily playing with other children, you have made constant requests for playmates. "Can I go to XXXX's house?" you ask, hopefully. You don't understand the dynamics of invitations and childcare trades. So I spend my weekends trying to navigate those trades. It is a lot of pressure, but I manage to find a playmate for you almost every weekend. This is probably one of my least favorite things about parenting right now, but I do it because I love you. And because if I don't, you will hound me all weekend to watch movies.
So much for my dreams of a child who prefers spinach salad to candy, who doesn't know who the Disney princesses are. You have become a glutton for dessert and movies. You pick at your dinner and then devour huge bowls of ice cream. If I would let you, you would sit and watch movies all day long. But, despite it all, you seem to be turning out OK. You are joyful and adventuresome and affectionate. You love to play games and dance with me in the living room. You love to laugh. You love camping and hiking and sailing and swimming and being outside. You are game for just about anything. And you can find fun absolutely anywhere. A few weeks ago we took you to a party, and when we arrived, we realized you were the only kid. A bunch of adults were standing around talking and sipping drinks, and my heart sank, thinking you would be miserable and we would have to make a quick exit. But before long, you disappeared. I realized you had introduced yourself to a group of people sitting on the deck. You were telling them stories about our vacations. You served cookies to most of the guests, shoving them into their hands whether they wanted them or not. You danced to the music. When we told you it was time to go, you begged to stay longer--and I am sure that many of the guests were sad to see you go.
In a world that often feels scary and hard, you are my shining light of happiness.