Sunday, December 15, 2013


 Dani turned five this week.  Five!  Where does the time go?
It's been quite a year for our not-so-little Dani.
She started Pre-K.  She waits for the bus, with her Super Mario backpack, just like a big kid.  Every night at dinner, she's so eager to tell us about what her buddies did at school, to sing us songs, and tell us about her day.  When we drive around town, she loves to point out her friends' houses, and she's learning how to get places, telling me while I'm driving which way I should be going.
For weeks, she was singing songs in anticipation of her Christmas concert at school.  When the flyer came home, I was scheduled to be in court, but at the last minute, the matter was adjourned so I was able to go.  With some help, I snagged a second row seat.  She walked out with the twelve children in her class, anxiously looking around, and she saw me and Grandma Deb.  She frantically waved, and was so excited to sing to us.  Tears rolled down my cheeks while she sang and danced, "I'm a little snowman, look at me." 
There was my baby, up on stage, at school, in her first concert.
 She's the first one to offer to help, before I have to ask her.
Usually, she's the first one to tattle, unless she's joining in the mischief with Tori and Tommy.
She's quick to laugh, and make silly faces and sounds.
She's getting good at talking back too--Mommy, apparently, is very often wrong, you know.
And she's getting SO BIG--she's the tallest kid in her class, and comes up almost to my shoulders.
And she still wants to snuggle, as often as possible.  But these days, she reminds you more of one of those big dogs who doesn't realize she's not a lap dog, as she piles on top of me on the couch or asks me to pick her up.
 It's hard to believe she's five.
I swear, just yesterday she was a baby, trying to gnaw my face off.
And wow, I had far fewer grey hairs back then!
 It was so much easier back when there was just one.
I had so much time for just focusing on her...and celebrating the silliest of holidays, like her first St. Patty's day photos.
 She loves fiercely.
From the moment we brought Tori home, and she exclaimed "Baby" and kissed her, she embraced the role of big sister.
 And she couldn't wait to do it again with Tommy.
 She usually sets a pretty good example for them to follow.
And she is naturally good at sharing the spotlight.  It's interesting that when she chooses characters that she likes best, it's most often the supporting ones.  She prefers Luigi to Mario, Robin to Batman, Widget to Wubbzy.  She's the first one to hand over the coveted toy of the moment so Tommy won't cry, and to share her goodies with Tori without being asked.  An action not accompanied by please or thank you is nearly non-existent with her.
She changed my life.
She taught me how to love with a depth I did not know I possessed.
She taught me, and continues to teach me every day, important lessons like these:
A walk around the block can be magical if you find pinecones.
The boxes stuff comes in are often more fund to play with than the stuff.
Everything is better with sprinkles.
Always make time for another kiss and hug.
Bedtime songs are way better than bedtime books...Raindrops on Roses is still her favorite.
Getting dressed is more fun if you don't care if your clothes match.
You don't need a reason to turn off the lights and have a glow stick party.
Knock knock jokes don't have to be funny to be funny to toddlers.
All you need is a sunny day and a maple tree seed pod to turn into a unicorn.
And the most amazing part is that this is just the beginning.  The beginning of the life of my amazing little Dani.  As much as I selfishly hate to see her to grow so independent, I love to see her roots grow stronger as my little flower reaches for the sunlight.
Happy birthday, Dani.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Being Thankful.

 I should be working right now.  Have a computer bag full of files that need my attention.
But I can't.
I spent a few hours at a wake for a classmate of mine.  Two years ahead of me, with a young son, and she's dead.  Cancer.
Isn't that our worst fear?  That type of tragedy?  Leaving the world too early, before our children are grown, while they still need us to tuck them in at night, kiss their boo boos, and raise them?
No child should ever have to know that loss; no parent should have to either.
So I am pausing for a minute or two tonight to be thankful.
For sunny afternoons on the playground.
For dress up games.
 For coloring, and silly faces.
Family dinners.
 Playtime with out of town family.
For every moment I get to enjoy with these little kiddos, and their daddy.
We never really know if we will see tomorrow.
Make the most of each day.
I'm going to make sure I try to.