you and your sister like to hear the stories of when you were born. we tell you all the time, especially around the time of your birthday. a few days ago, as i was recounting the story, i added in a part i have never told you before – i added in something from the afternoon, when you were a few hours old. i said, “edith, the afternoon you were born, dad went home to check on finley. and it was just you and me at the hospital for a couple of hours. i laid you right next to me on the bed, and i remember feeling like… she is my buddy. and i haven’t stopped feeling that way about you. you are like my buddy, who i always want around me, hanging out and doing things with me.”
i could tell as i was telling you this part that you were really listening, and taking it in.
and then a couple days later, sitting on the counter in the kitchen, you said: mom, i will always be your buddy. you are my favorite person in the whole universe.
this is it, edith. this is just it. we are aligned in this way – where, we mesh. we hang out. you sit on the counter while i cook, while i make grocery lists, while i wipe the counters. you watch what i’m doing, you talk to me about it, you offer to help. if i don’t have something specific going on, you will say “mom, can we do something together?”
and i say, sure baby! what should we do? (and then you usually say: i don’t know! tell me the options!)
edith, you are by far the most observant child we’ve ever known. EVERYONE knows this about you – it is fascinating. you see EVERYTHING. and you listen, too. we will drive by something once, and then you will see it WEEKS later and go, “this is where we were when we went to that park that day.” or, “this is the street where that mailbox is.” or, “the person over there just dropped her keys.”
you watch everything.
and sometimes you don’t report it.
what i like about you edith is that you know how to be quiet in your own mind. you know how to sit with yourself.
you know how to not give everything away – because you know how to give to yourself.
edith, on that day you were born, that afternoon, that first afternoon of so many afternoons of us hanging out, i had an overwhelming sense of peace. i felt at peace with you, and i felt at peace knowing you were in the world.
you were always meant to be our middle child – our middle daughter who can play both sides, who can tow the line, who can observe us all and love us through it.
i live for your sparkling eyes and your watchful soul.
and i hold you dear, forever.
happy birthday, my darling girl.