To the 4th power

Dear Baby Girl, Happy Birthday, sweet lady. You have willed this Turning 4 not to come since you've had beaucoup fun being 3, and like Nana Red says, When you have to age 25% of your life by turning another year, who can blame you?

But four is going to be stellar, my love. For starters, you're going to the CIRCUS! Hurrah! And as you twirl your way into this new year of life, we take stock of the many blessings of health and half-eaten cupcakes you have enjoyed.

Please allow me also to take stock of four significant things I have learned from you, Baby Girl:


1. Home is the best.

You are a homebody. You love to make nests and stages in every corner of our home with an entire cast of stuffed animals. You are always curling up on the couch to watch videos with your brother. You oscillate between inside and outside to your swingset, looking hopefully to see if the neighbor gals are coming outside to play, as well. You just love being at home. I am inspired by your comfort and appreciation of home, never begging to be elsewhere, never complaining that you are bored. I am the opposite of a homebody, wanting always to see all the things and meet all the people, finding sanctuary in train stations, museums, cafes. But I am learning to love our home and to build it up as another kind of sanctuary, where we laugh and snuggle and grow.


This would look better in a tutu.

At last count you owned 5 tutus. Baby Girl, that is madness. In fairness, you are not hoarding them. You wear them everyday. Often multiple ones at once. You used to wake up in the middle of the night, look down at the disappointing pyjama ensemble, and hastily throw on a tutu to ice that cake. As if some kind of Sandman Fashion Police were going to arrest you for too-plain pyjamas. You drive us crazy with your penchant for swapping out various costumes and accessories throughout the day, but we love your confidence and pinache. There are many bleak days that are brightened by your tutu fabulosity. You have effectively put a tutu around the darkest of days for me so many times.


Just pray about it.

You always humble me with this one. I'm supposed to be teaching you this by modeling this. Instead, you are always telling me to just pray about it, and you are always so right. I am convinced you are actually the angel Gabriel in the vessel of a little girl.

You can be a friend to everyone.

Your teacher completed a student evaluation for you just before Christmas. Among other praises, she noted that, "Madigan is a friend to everyone." I cannot say that anything could have made me as proud. These last four years with you have taught me that all the money and degrees and prestige and publication credits will not a happy life make. I have had many long days with you as a mother, particularly in your first couple of years when I was home with you full-time and trying to finish grad school and Daddy was working so hard for us, often overnight. The only thing that got me through those days when you needed me to meet your every need was the love and support of our wonderful family and friends. I'm just so glad that you have figured this out early, that being a friend is not only a nice thing, it is the only thing, along with your faith and your character, that you can carry into the next life.


Love, Mama