Sunday, July 6, 2008

Lily is....

Lily Lu,

If you or London ever need to trace back the demise or success of your childhood in relation to how I performed as a parent, it would be to this : my philosophy on raising you. I'm not sure it is correct, or even the best way, but what I do know is this little philosophy is what I have felt deeply convicted of long before you were even here with me.
You are who you are, and always have been. I am, for now, a lucky (extremely lucky) keeper of this delicate and infinitely magnificent spirit you have encapsulated in the tiny limbs of your squishy little exterior (a darling exterior at that). My job, from the beginning of your first breath, has simply been to get to know that spirit. Slowly and surely, through intent observation and adoration I begin (or at least think I begin) to see who you really are, who I've actually received as a very blessed mother. Equipped with my mere 20+ years of life experience, as I get to know the real interior you, it is then my job to hopefully channel that spirit in the direction best suited for both its safety and its expansion. I can't let it be crushed or maimed or dented, but at the same time must also provide the discipline, direction and opportunities to send it heading into a place of positivity and growth.

Daunting, isn't it? (And some people think the challenge of motherhood was diapers...) There are days when I look at you sleeping soundly in your crib, your innocent little cheeks and cherry lips exhaling in slumber, and I just say, "I'm sorry." I wasn't a good keeper that day. My so-called channeling of your spirit was more like suffocating. My lack of sleep translated into impatience with your energy and boundless curiosity. My need to converse on the phone (over nothing more important than you) meant you had to scream (loudly) to get me to notice your milk cup was empty, which in turn meant I screamed (even more loudly) right back in frustration that I couldn't get a minute in of adult conversation. It is in a moment of quiet reflection in the soft night light of your bedroom that I am often brought back to center to remember how precious you are, and how lucky I am. Hopefully, more nights than not, I haven't needed to say I'm sorry. Instead when I come in to peek on you, you often still are awake and look up at me sweetly and excitedly, requesting, "Ching? Sching?" (Sing? Sing?) Then I hold you and we Ching. And my heart melts.

So, my dear Lily, I have a few observations thus far to share with you. I've had many from the time your were born. Some qualities have softened, some have expanded, and you never fail to reveal a new little hunk of your wonderful personality and spirit. All of them mix and mesh to create the most unique little Lily, one that has never existed before...
(And London, don't worry, my observations on you will most definitely be shared as we head into the coming months...when you begin to morph into something a little more challenging than the tub full of indescribably pure, chubby delight that you are)

Lily is...

LiLy iS BoLd. In fact, I swear your motto should be "I go where no child has gone before." You aren't afraid of water. You aren't afraid of the big kid slides. You aren't afraid of being left alone in the mall parking lot when I threaten to leave you for refusing to buckle in your car-seat. The other day a fellow father at the pool observed you and remarked, "Wow! I wish my two girls were that courageous!" as you dove and swam for your floating toys (more like drowned...but you didn't care). I replied, "No you don't." But I guess I didn't really mean it. It will serve you well in the coming years, once you learn to actually swim.

LilY is SmArt. You know your way around town, telling me “No Mom! Go da udder way!!!! Da udder way! (the other way!)” when we don’t take the turn from our home headed towards Ga-ma’s house. Driving past McDonald’s signs mean “Nuggets! Nuggets! (chicken nuggets)”, Wells Fargo signs mean “Chuckers!” (suckers), and grocery stores mean “sopping” (shopping). You count to ten, you have the second verse of our lullaby song memorized, and you somehow manage to unlock our inside doors using your hair clippies. I used to tease that my daughter was “gifted” when you were just days old. It didn’t matter if you were slobbering or pooping, I would sigh, “Oh, that’s my Lily….she’s gifted.” Now, I’m not joking. Bragging. But not joking.

Lily is fRiEndLy.
This may come as a shock to the fellow toddler you walloped over the head with a wooden dowel a month or so ago, but it is true. You love other little babies, and try to feed them bottles or pacifiers whether they really want it or not. You wave at people and say, “Hiii!” and “Love ya!” frequently – most often to any child in the 7-13 age group, who I assume must be the “cool teenager” group of toddlerhood fantasy.

Lily is saSsY. After repeated offenses and failed attempts at naughty chair banishments, in mounted frustration I will give you a swat on the bum. The problem is you swat right back. I lose my temper and scream, to which you scream back louder. The lovingly cheerful sigh of “Oh, what did I do to deserve this?” while I cuddled and mothered my sweetie pie Lily earlier that day occasionally morphs into “WHAT DID I DO TO DESERVE THIS?!!!!!!” as I struggle and squirm with my sassy Lily.

Lily is cuRiOus. Or at least that is what I believe is the politically correct term. I have been known to substitute mischievous and naughty as well. Deep down, really really deep down, even after I have found granulated, sticky sugar all over my freshly mopped floor, the baking cocoa spilled all over the pantry, the lotion rubbed into the carpet, the urine all over our bills and calendar sitting on the countertop, the over-pressurized squeeze tube of BLUE “Go-gurt” (yogurt in a tube form for kids) exploded all over London and the entire interior of my vehicle, I know you are really just experimenting with different cause/effects. You are curious. And I am trying, really trying, not to kill the cat.

Lily is a LoviE. You are a busy girl, and busy girls don’t always have time to sit around getting all mushy. I get that. But I ache for you sometimes. I wish you would curl up on the couch with me for a solid three minutes without wanting to get down and play. But suddenly, out of nowhere you will give me a kiss or give a big hug. You adore London and look out for her safety. You wait anxiously for your Daddy to get home. You tell us to “Buckle cheets! (Buckle seats!)” when we go on a date. The other night, we had you sleep in our bed for a little extra cuddling. When Mom and Dad were ready to go to sleep, you weren’t, and so we turned our backs to you in an effort to speed up the snoozing progression. Soon, I felt a squishy little hand rubbing my back and tickling the back of my ears. You were caressing Mommy to sleep. All that scratching and caressing and tickling made for a whole lot of melting and dribbling of my sappy heart over my lovie Lily.

Lily is EnThuSiasTic. Every airplane is a new airplane to be shrieked at, every ice cream cone is yummier than the last, every bug is terrifying and deadly, every Wiggles song must be danced to. Every field of grass must be ran across, every trampoline jumped on, every bath an adventure in the deep blue Nemo ocean. Every day is exciting, every opportunity offers something to explore and learn. Your enthusiasm is contagious, and a reminder that although I have 20+ years on you, I’m nowhere near done learning too, and that most definitely is something to be excited about. So with you, I enjoy my ice cream more, I pay closer attention to bugs, and airplanes seem a little more miraculous.

LiLy is bEaUiTiFuL.
And London too. I can't even take the credit. Tyler and I's BEST features combined pale in comparison to how darling you and Lundy are. It isn't our signatures we can put in the bottom corner of your canvas...God is quite the artist.

The other day at the pool, as you dove in and out of the water after your toys, I turned to your Daddy and remarked, “You know, she really is amazing. She’s going to be just amazing.”
I’m sure of it. And that's a candid observation, without the bias speaking.

Love you Lu, forever.


Daniel said...

Sniff... both Ali and I are crying (actually, I think I got some dirt in my eye from a manly task I was working on earlier, but Ali was crying).

Amazing. Lily is everything you listed. She is a treasure (and awfully fun too!).

Mom and Dad aren't bad either! You're both doing a great job. We're hoping our munchkins turn out as great.

Anonymous said...

Lily does have a mind of her own and that makes her so very beautiful. You have your hands full, but what a wonderful gift.

Joan Koplin said...

Gosh, Rae. I feel so ego centric and shallow. I am sitting here reading your eloquent post on your darling Lily and thinking, "Didn't I just post on some lame art work I did? Why don't I write thoughtful, in depth letters to my children on my blog?"
I hope I can be just like you, Rae...when I grow up, that is :)

MOM said...

Rachel is.....(was my "happiness baby" our "angel baby")
Rachel is....FUNNY, she makes me laugh. Her and Sarah (my other wonderful daughter) are the two funniest people I know.
Rachel is...BRAVE. She will do or say things I can't bring myself to do and should do.
Rachel is...BEAUTIFUL - but not remotely fact her ability to laugh at herself and analyze herself makes her even more attractive.
Rachel is...LOYAL. Don't ever cross one of her siblings or she will take your head off...just ask the boys who bullied Jacob in elementary school or ask the honors english teacher at Manogue that declined Ian entrance into the class, or Sarah's opponent for Student Body President that made snide remarks...the list is long and justified.
Rachel is HOME and FAMILY CENTERED...This is her life long desire. When she was in high school and nominated for homecoming queen and the nominees had to make an entrance while the emcee read off their future goals - her fellow nominees stated they wanted to travel the world, help orphans in Africa, become doctors or lawyers...Rachel's was to have a house full of children in a big farm house someday. At that point, I didn't care if she won - I was more proud then ever.
Which brings me to my final thought:
Rachel is...the best mom ever (but she will have wicked competition from Sarah, Mallory and Larissa...but it is a competition I will enjoy!)
Thank you Rae...You daily bless our lives.

Jacob Hansen said...

Rachel I love your blogs they just melt me. What angels you have. I MISS THEM SOOOOO MUCH. Also your writing abilities are second to none. Well give lots of kisses to those little angels for me. Miss you guys.