December 17, 2014
You know it’s you, right? You’re smiling right now because you are my Best-Born. But look around you. Your sisters are smiling right now, too.
But if it wasn’t you, would I have slept on your bedroom floor with a bucket waiting for when, not if, you throw up again? Would I have cried at your bedside after your surgery from your accident when you were 3? Would I have cried over you when I learned about your deep deadly secret online when you were 15? Would I have cried watching the ambulance take you away after your first seizure when you were 5?
Would I have taken you to the Hilary Duff concert? Would I have strapped myself to the ropes course and dangled 50 feet above the water with you at Myrtle Beach? Would I have spent 20 minutes coaxing a turtle out of hiding at the duck pond just for you?
Without you, I wouldn’t need to collect jars for bug habitats each spring and summer. Without you, I wouldn’t know what a cricket looks like after it travels through a toddler’s digestive tract. Without you, my reflexes wouldn’t need to be quick enough to snatch dog poop out of a child’s mouth. Without you, I wouldn’t know that a dried slug looks just like tree bark, and is just as crunchy.
Without you, I wouldn’t know how to style hair so a huge surgical scar doesn’t show. Without you, I wouldn’t know that pencil sharpener blades can be so devastatingly frightening. Without you, I wouldn’t know what epilepsy is.
I have stretch marks because of you. I have gray hair because of you. I have lost my patience because of you. I have lost my sensibilities, my sense of humor, my place in line, my temper, my girlish figure, and my claim to some of my favorite clothes and shoes because of you.
You have fed off my body. You bit me. You spit up on me. You peed on me. You have rubbed peaches into my carpet and wiped muddy shoes on my rugs. You have used markers on my sofa. You have thrown applesauce in my face.
I have wiped your butt and your mouth and your nose and your tears. My every motivation and thought has been consumed by you since the moment I knew about you, even before you gave me your smile. Then you said “Dada” first.
You’ve been a Daddy’s girl, a Mommie’s girl and an independent woman. Everything from “I’ll never be able to do it,” to “will you help me,” to “I can do it myself,” and everything in between.
As the Best-Born, you are endowed with certain rights, responsibilities, privileges, and obligations. I expect a lot from you, and you resent that sometimes. Don’t you? You think I’m too hard on you. Look around. Your sisters are nodding their heads because they think I’m talking about them. They think I favor you, and they resent what they see as your preferential treatment by me. Sound familiar?
I have special gifts for you that you can have when I’m gone. That necklace with the pearl charm. Not that one. That’s for your sister. Not that one either. That’s for the other sister. You’ve said you don’t prefer the one I’ve chosen for you. But there a specific reason I want you to have that one. It will be beautiful on you.
And my 3 China patterns. You might think this one isn’t your style, and you can register for your own someday. But this is the one I want you to eat from when you remember me, because it’s you I think of every time I see it.
I want you to know exactly what I think of you. I think you are Gorgeous and Lovely and Enchanting. And you have the personality to match. I think you are fascinating and you are my most favorite kid and I am crazy lucky to know you.
You have your quiet moments, but I’ve seen you get crazy. You’re a full portion of shy and timid with a splash of flare and whimsy. You feel like the whole world is conspiring against you, while you’d fight for justice for your underdog sisters. You like to hide your feelings. And you explode in zerbers and tickle fights and flying-whomps. You are full of contradictions and completely predictable.
You will become more than me. Let’s hope so, anyway. Let’s put our hope where it belongs. Daddy and I will cheer you on as you pass us by. We will be your biggest fans, but don’t expect us to just give you a pass when you’re headed in the wrong direction. I love you more than you know.
December 17, 2014