Tuesday, January 25, 2011

sisterhood: a celebration

"Mama," Luciya said the other day as we were driving to Stroller Strides, "Me and Mirabel are going to get married."

"Get married!" I said.

"Yes. Because we love each other
so much."

And while I was thinking of a way to adequately express the total jubilation this brought me, she continued with the wedding plans.

"And if horses want to come, and if cows want to come, and if pigs want to come, they can. But the pigs can't come in."

"Oh? Why not?"

"Because they're
dirty, silly!"

Ah. A clean wedding, then.

"But," she concluded after a moment's thought, "we will have a mud bath for the pigs, so the pigs can play in the mud bath. And you get to play in the mud bath, too, Mama!"

That's about the extent of the wedding plans go as far as I know, but you can all trust that you're invited to this farm animal-friendly affair.

Because it will be joyful.

Because, in addition to marking the first birthday of one very special little girl last week, January 15th marked the first anniversary of an incredible relationship that will never know the perils of divorce.


Luciya and Mirabel began on that day one year ago a journey of togetherness and illumination that will define who they are to themselves and to the world for the rest of their lives.


So we celebrated Mirabel's birthday that day, and we also celebrated the one-year anniversary of a fabulous relationship. Luciya got a new pair of shoes to commemorate.

The love between these two is palpable. When Little Mirabel hears her big sister's voice enter the room she cranes her head to find her, and extends her chubby little wrinkled hands to grasp for her sister's hair, or fingers, or cheek. And feisty, outrageous, spirited Luciya is a heavenly helper with her gentle baby sister, nuzzling up and smiling and showing her the ways of her world.

This is what it's all about, folks.

This is why I'm here.

This is Love. And I send my thanks out every single day that I get to witness it, that these two delightful miracles - these sisters - chose me to be their mama.

It's kind of ridiculous.

So, being the amazing filmmaker that I am, I made a video.

To my sweet, lovely daughters: May I be the first to wish you a Happy Anniversary.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

sweet one

Dear Mirabel Ruby,

This morning a low winter mist hung around much of the morning, shushing the bustle of the sunrise and softening the crackly brown outlines of the leafless trees. It is your first birthday, and I was grateful for the stillness outside, because my heart is having a bit of a time accepting the fact that it has been 12 months since our lives changed forever. But there they are, the naked trees and heavy gray clouds I gazed upon for two weeks from your space in the NICU. Outside is the breath-puffing chill, and the sidewalks look perpetually damp. It is January in Boise. It has been a year.

Has it been a year? Can it be? It seems so much more surreal since you are still my eternal baby, still equivalent to a six-month-old in that you sit and smile and roll and are fed pureed baby food, but you don't crawl or pull up or walk or feed yourself or have teeth. You gaze at me with those surprisingly cornflower blue, almond-shaped eyes and you're fine with everything. You're fine with the rolls upon delicious rolls along your thighs and arms, you're great with the bouncy seat and the physical therapy. You're content. You don't complain. Far from complaining, you radiate true goodness. You are a little goblin of goodness.

You smell of Weleda calendula baby lotion. It's the smell of my babies, and I'm so glad I stockpiled several bottles of it from the clearance bins at Fred Meyer. You smell soft, and warm, and natural and pure. The other night you uncharacteristically started screaming from your crib a couple hours after I had put you down. That uncanny mother's instinct kicked in and, although there was no telltale way to know, I said "Her cheeks hurt." I gently smoothed some of the Weleda lotion on your rosy-dry cheeks, and you were breathing softly into my neck moments later.

You still wake up once in the middle of the night, between 3 and 4 a.m., and I pad up to your room and feel the soft weight of your sweetness and the warm cotton of your footy jammies as we nurse in the glider, both of us mostly asleep. Some of my very favorite moments with you are just after you awake in the morning around 6:30 a.m., dawn still a tease out the big picture windows, and I clutch you to me and bring you back into our bed, where we snuggle, nurse, and doze for close to an hour. You often break away to babble - "buh-buh-buh {inhale} BAH-buh-buh-buh-buh" - and then snorkle right back into me for seconds and thirds and fourths. Luciya wakes up around 7:15 and usually comes into the room to join us, and the four of us enjoy happy family snuggles for a while. It is the sweetest way to start the day. I beam when I see my two morning-eyed beauties cuddling up together.

While everything about you is ingrained in my being right now, I know this too shall pass and I may forget, so here is what you are right now, physically: You still have a smooth nursing callus on your top lip. Your lips are shaped exactly like Luciya's. You hands are butter-soft, and have the yummy rubber-band roll at the wrist. I need to trim your fingernails often, because you are a lip- and nose- and chin- and waddle-grabber, and your father and I have each recently born bloody proof of your scratches on our noses. Your cheeks have become rosy from the dry cold. Your nose is constantly crusty from some sniffles that won't go away. Your thin hair is light brown and rapidly growing into a fine mullet. Piggy tails are possible and a near-daily style. You show no signs of sprouting teeth yet. This worries your great grandmother to no end. Your belly is round and soft. You pull your toes into your mouth for a snack. You eyelashes are long. Your eyes are deep, swirling, changing from blue to dark green, like a stormy sea. You have an enormous fontanel that gives us telltale warnings if you're nearing dehydration, like you were last week after your first bout with pukey, diarrhea-filled stomach flu.

You weren't quite your self this evening when we had family over for a simple birthday dinner; there was residual yuckyness hanging around and you were fussier than normal. But we toasted you and sang - twice - and you were passed around in your little brown dress and polka dot tights and you patiently observed your sister tearing open your presents. You had your first taste of whipped cream and delighted in it. We celebrated you.

Tonight, as I was gliding with you before slumber, I reached down to stroke your head and check your fontanel. And you pulled back and smiled at me, a simple, hearty, happy smile. A smile to smile, a smile because I stroked your head and it just felt nice. And so I stroked your head again and again, drifting my fingers through your fine hair, laying my palm upon your wide forehead. And that happily contented smile kept sliding across your face. And I suddenly wanted to devour you. I nuzzled your cheeks and planted kisses all over your sweet head and inhaled and inhaled and inhaled you until my senses were filled.

And I celebrate you today and every day for the past twelve months:

Happy birthday, Mirabel. I look forward to celebrating you for many many years, in many many ways.

Thank you for choosing us.

I love you, Mirabel!