Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Tenderness and the birthday girl

Yesterday was an unexpectedly busy, and at the same time, tender day.  I woke up to a phone call from one of my closest friends. She was organizing a last minute birthday party for her daughter who turns 2 today.  Little Missy is at Dad's house for her actual birthday (this is the first time since they separated that a birthday has been at the other house).  Of course, this set off a flurry of activity- I had to go buy her a present (alright, I bought her four to be honest), shave my legs (pool parties require a little less fur), and get the kids ready.  In all the noise and chaos of a child's birthday party, you wouldn't expect to see much tenderness, but it was there.

Missy hates to be cold, and after playing in the pool, she was shivering and chanting "Cold. Cold. Cold." I wrapped her in a towel and settled into a chair to warm her up.  After a minute or two, she tucked her head against my chest and began playing with the towel, content to be warm, cuddled and the center of my attention. The birthday girl got soft, delicate kisses from my oldest son before he stroked her cheek with one finger, smiled besotted smile at her, and jumped back into the pool.  She always watches him with big, dark eyes and rapt attention, since the first time she was him.  My younger son, who is more a boy boy, and rarely takes a minute for her, came to kiss her cheeks delicately and whisper/sing Happy Birthday in her ear while she sat on my lap.  My husband, when he got to the party after work, sat with the chilly little one on his lap keeping her warm.  Patiently, he let her explore the different textures of hair in his beard and on his arms. Every so often, hes lean down and kiss her curls (And boy does she have some!). After presents, my youngest son came to color with her and show her all the features of her new doll, which was a sweet and rare occurrence, especially since there was macho fun to be had.  I had my one moment when I checked on Missy while she lay on her bed- she was sucking her pacifier, hands clasped and watching her show from bed.  I tucked a few curls behind her ear, and she looked up, smiled a sleepy smile and leaned into my hand.  Before we left, she'd hopped out of bed and decided to play with the boys, but she stopped to kiss and hug us goodbye, and there is nothing so sweet as hugs and kisses from toddlers.

I sometimes find it amazing how much love and tenderness one little person can inspire.  She's been part of our life for only two short years, but we all love her to pieces.  From each of us, she draws something different to the surface.  My oldest son is her protector and will likely be her first crush (Even as newborn, she was totally entranced with him).  He drops everything when she wants him to pay attention to her, and he always is trying to teach her older brother how to be a good big brother.  My younger son is practicing his big brother skills on her, and is using her as his very first student.  Yesterday he taught her how to take the shoes off of her doll and tried to teach her to say violet. My husband likes to hold her and be still with  that little warm body in his arms.  I indulge Missy's girly tastes and bring her old purses and sparkly things to play with- things her tomboy mom has no experience with, while still making her mind her mama's rules.  Our family hopes to add a little girl in the near future, and if she is anything like Missy, she'll bring out some our best qualities and most tender tendencies.

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