Happy birthday to my dear little Toots, who turns 5 today. I’ve got so much to say, but I’ll start with:
Oh my Lord, 5 already?! This leaves me precious little time to help you grow into a secure, confident, empathetic, contributing and contented member of society.
Wait. Did I say “member of society?” Just so you know, it’s not all that important that you be a member of anything — other than of the world — and I’d much rather you develop into an independent-thinking individual who marches to the beat of her own drum (as long as that drum is not sociopathic or prone to serial dismemberment).
Everyday, I see bits of me woven into your personality, and I wouldn’t be your mom if I didn’t say this gives me pause. I’ve spent years worrying about what other people think, with being insecure, and cautious about going forth into this world, and I do not want that for you. Still, you can have my curiousity, and my eccentricity, and my sensitivity. As for your dad, well, I think Booger got all his genes, but please God please, absorb your dad’s money management skills. And patience with the overdramatic, moody, Chicken Littles of the world. (Not that I’d know anything about that.)
The other day, my heart split when you opened our second floor sliding glass door and shouted out to Paula, our florist neighbor, “Can I help you?” You love decorating and arranging and art and colors and aesthetics and nothing would please you more than to spend time in Paula’s garage composing floral bouquets. But when Paula replied that she was done for the day, you said “Thank you,” all staccato and short-like and then slammed the door. In an instant you were by my side with tears in your eyes, and when I said I was sure Paula would love for you to help her tomorrow, you pleaded, “Will you ask her? I don’t want her to see me cry.” Right then I nearly hugged you to death. My lovely, fragile little Tootsie.
So anyway. Here’s the deal. I’m going to stop nagging and yelling so much, and begin laughing more when you tell me that drooping flowers have “fainted.” And I’ll make a sincere attempt to be a mom who makes you proud and does her best to help you to bloom, and you? well you just make good on your promise to be a scientist or party planner and live next to me forever.
P.S. We celebrated Toots’ birthday with a party on Sunday, and I’d like to publicly thank Mel, who wiped counters, disposed of trash, and ensured I didn’t set anyone on fire, while I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how to make salt stick to the rim of my plastic margarita glass.