Why does Curious Girl have to get up early tomorrow? It's her birthday! And she doesn't want to miss a minute of it.
I love birthdays. I love everything about them, but mostly I love the simplicity of the day: a day to celebrate someone I love, to be glad about the fact that they're in the world, in my life. In Granola world, we don't just have birthdays, we have pre-birthdays and post-birthdays (not to mention half-birthdays); we have birthday week activities, and birthday outings. All of this is rather low key, which mitigates the festival-ness of it all. Last year, for example, our big present for CG was a little set of purple plastic shelves into which I put the art supplies she already owned, plus a few new markers and some space glue, and a plastic basket, into which went construction paper and scrap paper from work. At the party--which had no planned activities--we ended up out in the backyard where we decorated cupcakes, and the guests ended up making collages by using the art supplies to cut up the wrapping paper and paste it onto some paper. Very low key.
When Curious Girl wakes up, she'll be four. "I can't wait to be four!" she said as she trooped off to bed tonight. I know that she's been nervous about being four, too--last week she told Politica that things will be different when she is four, she will play different games, and of course, she will be old enough to ride the schoolbus for Friday Field Trips at camp. She's nervous about the bus. But today, all that nervousness seemed to fade, or at least be masked by her growing enthusiasm for the big day.
I fight sadness, sometimes, on her birthday. I wonder whether her birth parents are thinking about her, and I feel acutely all I don't know about her birth. I wonder whether her birth parents aren't thinking about her, and I wonder what a tiny, tiny CG experienced and who held her when she came into the world. I wonder what CG herself with feel about her own birthday and how she'll integrate her past and her present; I wonder whether she'll feel sad, some years, wondering some of what I wonder. Birth and adoption are much on her mind these days, and I'm glad to see it. I want her to have the language--emotional and cognitive--to work through her questions. I'm so very happy to have her in my life, yet so aware of the losses that led to her being in my life.
At the same time, I'm just so happy about her. I share her exuberant joy at the thought of her birthday, and I've been amused for months at her party planning. Barney has been a party mainstay for months, but lately, she's not talked about him, or Baby Bop, or BJ. Boys are a little iffy: they have been invited, and disinvited, many times over. The guest list has fluctuated with her whims: "you can come to my birthday anytime you want," I heard her say to Politica one day last week. When she's mad at one of us, we're off the guest list. Her highest compliment is to invite someone to her birthday. And I just love that, the close connection she makes between emotional connections and the celebration of herself.
I want to write a beautiful post for Curious Girl, but it's hard to find the words. When I look at my beautiful girl, I'm awed by her energy, her passion, her life. She's so adaptable, so empathetic, so funny. Yes, she can be wiggly, inattentive, whiny when tired; she's taking a darn long road to potty independence, and all the laundry tuckers me out. But she is one of the biggest joys in my life, the force that sweeps me up in its energy at the end of a long day, the person who teaches me to be hopeful, no matter what else is going on, the person who reminds me that perseverance is a virtue, and laughter is essential, and that chocolate before breakfast is fun. She's the person who reminds me that reaching out and making connections with those who love you always makes things better. She's the person who made me a mother, and I couldn't have dreamed of a better gift.
Happy Birthday, Curious Girl. May you always have people around you that you want at your birthday, anytime you want. May you ask your questions, may you wonder about your past, and may you build your own story out of your past and present. And every day, know that you are you, oh so special, and oh so loved.