Letter to Violet

Though I tend to be pragmatic and matter of fact about milestones, I've been finding myself pretty emotional about Violet turning five. Compared to our experience with Laurel (and yes, I realize first-borns are a totally different ball of wax), it's been a completely different ride parenting Violet. And while there have been plenty of bumpy patches, she has taught me so much. Today I wanted to write Violet a letter. Happy birthday, sweet girl. Keep shining on in your fiery way.

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Dear Violet,

Five years ago today you arrived -- to my great relief! -- following a grueling 58-hour labor. And I’m finding myself emotional about this milestone. Perhaps it’s because five just feels so major; a year replete with transitions and development, new challenges tackled and new skills acquired. You have, throughout it all, been my greatest miracle and my greatest mystery.

You were my greatest miracle because I was convinced that – despite my desires otherwise -- my reproductive system had closed for business. And you’ve been my greatest mystery because you’re so incredibly different from Laurel in so many ways. Parenting you has been a completely different experience and I have learned so much from being your mom – acceptance, humility, patience, the boundaries of my strengths and weaknesses. I love so many things about you and I wanted to write them down because the reality is, you are a second child and so has gone out the window things like baby books. So I’m writing here, on this blog. Here goes:

I love your sense of humor. You are so damned funny. Very early on you picked up on the beauty of jokes and making people laugh, even if your jokes don’t make sense.

I love that you prefer super heroes over princesses. I can’t believe I have not purchased a single piece of princess product for you in 5 years. I was ready for it, but instead, you’ve favored characters who can scale walls, flex their muscles, and turn invisible.

I love how much you love writing your letters and drawing animals. You make my heart break daily in this domain. Keep on writing and drawing, girl.

I love that you wear your heart on your sleeve. At first, the intensity with which you feel and express things confused the hell out of me. The rest of your family tends to hold emotions close to the vest and while sometimes I don’t understand why you are screaming about something, I appreciate that you let your feelings hang out. You probably will need less therapy thanks to that.

I love how easily you let things go. As intensely as you feel things, it’s amazing to me how quickly you’ll transition and move on. That’s a good trait and I hope you’ll keep it with you forever.

I love your determination and focus and desire to do things on your own. I’ve learned to follow your pace, to factor in the time so you can zip your coat by yourself or buckle your car seat. I love seeing your independence grow.

I love that we bear resemblance to one another. This might sound a little selfish, but I love that people say we look alike. You, Laurel, and Dad all have brown hair and you and Laurel definitely look more Caucasian than Asian. In fact, my journey in parenting started with someone asking if I was Laurel’s nanny (OMG PEOPLE ARE THE WORST SOMETIMES). So thanks, Vi, for sharing my chubby cheeks, pointy chin, and little nose.

I love that you share your blue blankie with me. I know I should back off your blue blankie, but, well, BLUE BLANKIE. It’s so cuddly! Thanks for sharing it with me.

I love how brave you are. You’re always willing to give things a try AND you’re brave enough to say when you want to change course. Both of those things will serve you well in life.

I love how low key you’ve become about material things. When you were a toddler, we’d go into a store and the first thing you’d wail is, “There’s nothing in my hand!” And while you do cherish your Owly and some other stuffed animal friends, largely and for reasons unbeknownst to me, you’ve become incredibly low key about material things. When I asked you what you wanted for your birthday you said, “Well, maybe some things, but there’s nothing specific I want.” And when we recently went to Target to see if something specific caught your eye, NOTHING CAUGHT YOUR EYE. I’m not sure this has ever happened in the history of people going to Target. It is awesome.

I love how you have embraced sisterhood. One of the hardest things to watch in your early years was you fighting with Laurel or shunning her affection. But that rough start has made the development of your relationship over the last year all the more wonderful. To see you two playing, snuggling, and laughing together…it’s pure magic and sometimes brings tears to my eyes. I’m so, so glad. It’s what I dreamed about.

Thank you, Violet, my fiery miracle and mystery. I can’t wait to celebrate your amazing little life today.