Spinning around me in the driveway chasing one another, the sunlight lit their laughter inside of me this morning. These two beings from me. These two spun my world, and some days I am still dizzy with love and fear and exhaustion and uncertainty and hope. This girl will be 7.
I remember wondering how I could possibly have enough love for another with the overwhelming love I felt for her brother. “You will,” my mom would reassure me, smiling at me, lost a little in her own memories of questioning. And when feisty Kira was born I did instantly feel my love expand immeasurably, and knew then how my mother had felt when she held me.
Oh, Kira, my little lover of wildlife, whose pile of rocks and sticks and leaves and blades of grass grows with each season, how you have tested and taught and touched me. Out the door into the rain, “spinny” dress twirling in the mud. Another doll? Yes, another doll you want, to dance around your room with the others, for you to introduce her to the wonderful adventures you go on in your room.
Kira had terrible bouts of reflux, and in the co-sleeper I would wake to her choked breathing in the night – lift her up, release the pressure and soothe her until she could go back to sleep, as I would lay there, grateful…and frustrated (exhaustion does that) and wondering at her in amazement.
The toughness that carried Kira through the reflux became more, became a challenge, as I would stand in awe of this toddler who would stand her ground, staring me down. And later, when the feeling that had willed her to lash out would subside, she would curl into my arms as though to escape from herself. She does that still, now asking me how she can conquer these bad feelings that come. We’ll conquer them together I tell her.
Just as sternly as she can speak her mind, her love overflows, both to counter the tough times and in a genuine seeking to bring smiles and laughter.
It was determined, unexpectedly, that Kira needed glasses when she was nine months old and I took her to have her clogged tear duct checked. There had not been any indication to me that there was something wrong with her eyes. Perhaps because of the reflux and the long list of medical specialists I’d had with her brother, it seemed one thing too many and I cried and cried. She wore those glasses like a cute little doll, though, and I healed. About 9 months later she needed a new pair and they were back ordered. Two weeks later when they came in, she wanted nothing to do with them. She was like that with the eye patching too, not wanting anything to do with it and making it very clear that she definitely could battle it all day if needed.
There has always been a strong will in her.
Kira is not a young or an old soul, but both. She will stand at the window thumb in mouth with cuddle in hand, and turn to tell me some deep thought she’s had about something she has seen or done or felt. Cuddle in hand and introspection in full swing, I am completely overwhelmed with a sense of profound respect for the who she is, balancing a world that is confusing and unpredictable and sometimes cruel.
We are alike and very different. I see her struggle with her emotions and reach to tell her we can work through it now, that she does not need to battle them, as I did, through so many years ahead. Yet, I know that I also must let her unravel some things for herself, as herself, and we will take it one day at a time.
While our house is a stage she dances and sings and performs feats of stuffed animal jumping in, she does not want to take any classes, certain she’d be much too shy. I tell her, in time…no rush, and her performance continues.
Like me, she is a fan of all four seasons and appreciates both the mountains and the ocean…yet most of all, loves home.
I tremble some days at the thoughts of the teenage years, but then I think of how I could not imagine how I would be able to love her as a baby deserved and instantly did. I know that it will be hard and there will be moments where our mutual toughness will test our love, but we will make it.
For the first several months of her life, Ephraim referred to her mostly as baby. He was quick to bring me to her if she made a sound he felt meant something was wrong. These days, he will pull her hair and tease her, but be worried and attentive if she is sick or gets hurt.
As she has started to surpass him in some areas cognitively, as I suspected would happen in their childhood, I watch the dynamic of how they are figuring out when to teach and when to learn with one another.
At times, she is eager to grow up, to wear make-up and date and do the “things big girls do” and at other times she asks me if she can snuggle on my lap and pretend she is a baby.
For now, we said good-bye to the last bath as a 6 year old, the last 6 year old hug, the last 6 year old kiss good night. Tomorrow we will meet 7, ready for all of the new discoveries it will bring us. Her brother will kiss her on the head, as he did the day she was born and likely will tease her. They will fight. They will make-up. We will laugh.
Thank you God for entrusting me with this beautiful little girl for the past 7 years. May I continue to grow in my understanding of what that means and how I can best raise her to be pleasing in your eyes, Amen,
Happy 7th Birthday Kira!