Sunday, February 01, 2009

a perfect ten


It humbles me, confounds me, astounds me that my daughter is a whole decade old. The girl who made me a mama and taught me how to be patient and gentle and kind. Her difficult nature as a baby, her demanding intelligence as a toddler, her inexhaustible wisdom and wonder as a small child, her busy plans and schemes as a big kid all required of me something that I surely did not have before she came along.

Even though I chose her name, in part, because it's not nicknameable and even though I think her given name suits her absolutely, in that sweet singsongy way parents can have with their babes, when she was still very new and young I started calling her Fifi. And then, because I'm so fond of alliteration, I tacked on Fantastic. The Fifi faded, over time, but the Fantastic has remained because she is, indeed. Fantastic.

The most surprising, blessed, Fantastic thing that has happened to me, becoming her mama. Such a gift. I'm not an overly lovey dovey soft focus person, but I am still pretty much in awe of this wonderful girl creature I get to watch grow and learn and be. I feel a little bit lucky every day, just for knowing her.

And can you believe I'm still hanging construction paper numbers?? I wrote before about our little family tradition. One of those funny spur of the moment ideas that unwittingly becomes *the thing we do* year after year after year. It's important. But I thought she'd outgrown it, and also? I thought it was a one digit phenomenon. But as we eked into the last week of January, she asked me, sweetly, if the nines would be replaced with tens. What else could I do?

I admit that the double digits stumped me for a bit until I decided to work with negative space and voila! The cutting was a snap.

She was up so early on her birthday and she said she opened her eyes and saw the numbers twirling, the larger 10 shadows cast all about, and knew it was really true: she was Ten.

I had tacked a note on her bed, a happy birthday good morning, we love you, sort of note, which she read upon waking and which set her off on a whole house scavenger hunt for her gift. I attempted to make obscure clues, leaning on her love of literature and language and history (for example: one clue was 'ovum' -where to? the egg carton, of course. another clue? 'dogeared achilles' she ran directly to our most worn mythological reference) and it was fun. She enjoyed it and I was glad I bothered to stay up the extra hour it took to arrange it.

These are little things: construction paper numbers and quickly written clues hidden about the house. But it's my hope that all these little things I do will together make a picture of a happy childhood, someday when she looks back.

Because I'm already looking back, as much as I look forward, and feeling so overwhelmed by the goodness, the sweetness, the joy of spending my days with this girl.


ap said...

watching you mama from afar really has shaped how i have welcomed children into my life...thanks for coming along Fraya!

the 10s look amazing.

made by kort said...

sorry i didn't realize AP was signed in. that comment's from me not him :)

omy said...

My goodness, you are such a good mama. it's the posts like these that tell me that, aside from your wonderful kids, who of course speak volumes as well. :) This made me feel all mushy and happy to read.