Saturday, July 14, 2012

Dear Daughter 2012

Dear Daughter,

           Today, you turned three and your daddy and I couldn’t be more proud of you.  Your personality has really shone through this year, though you’ve never been a shrinking violet.  You will often squinch up one, if not both, eyes when asking a particularly philosophical question.  You will run your fingers through your long flowing locks (ahem) when you are flustered and stand with a hand on your hip when taking a stand.  

You’ve been known to stomp when you really want to make your point but with the gift of an ever growing vocabulary, you are able to fluently and clearly communicate your every wish and desire.  I’ve been known to explain that you don’t always get what you want, but still, you do let us know what you want and for that I admire you.  In your third year, you continue to be petrified of Santa Claus as well as ANY other large costumed character.  You seem (wisely) mistrustful of them, skeptical and wanting to keep your distance.  Unfortunately for you, I am your mother, and I still feel that the BEST Santa pictures are ones where the child (you) are screaming.  And you always deliver.  One day, this fear will fade, but until then I will document that moment in time. 

            You went through a strong skirt/dress phase this year and have shown your preference for all shoes high heeled.  Again, unfortunately for you, I am your mother, and your selection of high heeled dress up shoes is rather limited, but you found and wore every pair.  I would often come home from work to find all my shoes splayed out on the closet/bedroom floor with a trail leading into the living room. 
            One of the phrases I’ve now heard you utter often made my heart soar.  “That happens sometimes.”  I’m sure daddy and I both said it often, cementing it in your brain for when something unfortunate would happen.  And it did.  At a Phillies game in the late spring, you insisted on sitting on your own seat and at one point tried to get down from your seat.  Picture the scene.  We are literally in the last/highest row of the stadium with our backs to the chain link fence.  It has just begun to pour heavily.  You caught one foot on the seat and tipped forward and caught your mouth on the seat in front of you.  My heart in my throat, I scooped you up as you screamed bloody murder and, for that matter, spat blood.  I couldn’t breathe.  Being the determined, independent, and all the same at that moment, embarrassed young woman that you are, you refused to let me look in your mouth and my thoughts raced through all of the worst case scenarios (something I don’t often do with you): broken teeth or biting your tongue or some other eventuality that happens to people who don’t stop often enough to count their blessings.  As it was, you had a bump inside your lip and that was it, but I had to wait until you were asleep at home in your bed to check.  The next morning, when you described to daddy that you had fallen (you saw a scrape on your knee, also a result of the fall) you said, “That happens sometimes.”  I was so proud of your resilience.  Mostly because one year old Cece used to wail and faint away at the sight of a cut on her knee, each and every time she spied it.  You used to ask us to put pants or dresses on long enough to cover any scrapes.  But this time, “That happens sometimes.”  That was a big step in growing up.  But you can stop now…with all this growing up.  Sometimes I want to freeze you right where you are, but I’m also curious to know who you will grow up to be.  As you would say, “Cecelia Ann Zschunke.”
            Though your vocabulary is growing every day, you still sometimes say things grammatically wrong.  Some people correct you.  I do not.  I like it.  It won’t last forever, these nuances in speech.  I mean to document them with a sound or video recorder and then another day is over.  Well spent, running through the sprinkler, playing at the pool, conducting epic tea parties, playing with friends, making new friends, going to the playground/park/store/library, visiting with family and friends and going to “another” place.  In those moments, daddy says you are my daughter.  Always trying to squeeze in just one more place into the day.
            You’re very independent, wanting to do it yourself.  There are whole shows dedicated to DIY-ers like yourself.  This is when having us as parents comes in handy.  Because whenever possible, we DO let you do it yourself.  You break eggs into the bowl (sometimes with some hand over hand help), stir ingredients, mix batter, load and unload the dishwasher, put clothes into and take them out of (with the help of a stepstool) the washer and dryer, put on clothes, take off clothes, go to the potty by yourself, spread cream cheese/peanut butter/butter yourself, cut your hot dog into pieces (by yourself).  Are you getting the idea here?

            For as much as you like to do things by yourself, you still like mommy and daddy to carry you, to be close to us and snuggle.  One of your phrases that I don’t correct is “Cally (sounds like carry) me” with arms outstretched up.  One thing you don’t like to do by yourself lately is go to bed.  You’ve been through a tricky transition to a new house and we can chalk it up to that, but you love some mommy time at bedtime and at any point throughout the night that you deem company necessary.  I know that all these moments will be fleeting and I’ll look back unable to remember all the details.  So I try to treasure our night time rendezvous, but sometimes that can be hard.
            At the tail end of your third year, we semi-successfully sold our home, a 2 bedroom condo where you came home to from the hospital.  We have so many happy memories in that home and loved it, but it was time to move on to our next adventure.  Which is in mom-mom’s house!  You have loved having more time with mom-mom and I think mom-mom has liked it a little too.  You often have tea parties and snuggle up to enjoy a movie with mom-mom.  She taught you all about Goldilocks and loves to walk you out to the mailbox.  We are lucky to have such a generous mom-mom who has welcomed us to share her roof.
            Big girl, today you are three.  Which you will tell anyone who will listen as you hold up three fingers, though not the traditional three.  You extend your pinkie, ring finger, and middle finger while you hold your pointer finger and thumb together.  You will also break into the Happy Birthday song on command.  Today, we celebrate with friends.  You’ve recently expressed a real love for art or “aaatt” and thoroughly enjoy crafting.  Today, you have an “arty party”.  But the party for you is every day.  You wake up with excitement for what is to come whether it is your birthday or…a Tuesday.  It’s all the same to you. 

          You have become such a caring and thoughtful friend to others.  I love to see you hug, kiss, and hold hands with friends.  You are gentle with babies and you share with peers...for the most part.  You get SO excited to see friends and spend time doing just about anything with them - swimming, going to the park, playing in a box, it doesn't matter.

          This year, you start preschool and you have been excited to begin for many months now.  We registered in February and you were ready to take the bus (which you won’t be doing) with your backpack (which you’re not allowed to take to preschool) the very next day.  We’re happy that you’re happy and I hope that in your fourth year as you enter preschool in September that every day is one filled with wonder.

We love you, Cece!
Love, Mommy and Daddy


Jen said...

Ellen, this letter is so beautiful!! Cece is one awesome kid and she is so lucky to have you as her Mama!! XO

MB said...

So beautiful! :)