Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Birthday Ode


Happy Birthday Madeleine! Four years ago today your dainty moss-covered head was stuck in the birth canal while you presumably waited for me to get the job done. Sorry about that - had to resort to the giant plunger to tug you out. Dr. Polo posted a foot up on the gurney, turned on the suction and yanked you out without so much as a "brace yourself" to your dad and me, who were playing a nice game of cribbage. (The cribbage game has somehow become part of my memory of the day of your birth. Although, after consulting with your dad, there was no cribbage played on that day.) From then on, my heart has stretched and grown and often feels as if it will burst with the enormous and wonderful task of loving you. Now I know why mama bears maul hikers (aside from the fact that they look so yummy in all that down). The thought of something hurting you makes me feel violent. But you are a girl now, and you're learning how to take care of yourself in your own way. Today at school when Andrew was poking you during the name song, I was so proud when I heard you say, "Knock it off buddy." Next thing you know, I won't have to hold your hands and cheer when you poop.

Madeleine, when it comes to describing the wonderfulness of you, I am at a loss for adequate words. Let me just say, in your four years you have run us through the gamut of emotions and I thank you for every minute. Parenting makes me feel manic at times, but in a good way. Like a milkshake spiked with Ritalin. Comfort food with a kick.

Lately I've found I talk to you as if you are my equal, which you have proved to be in debate, reason and insight. Your technique could use a little work, but the mechanics are there. During the day, we may argue and struggle, and I lose my shit on occasion (sorry about that little episode at Safeway the other day), but every morning, when I hear you call me in your husky little morning voice, I rush in to see you again. To fill up my Madeleine gas tank. You force me to be a good parent and a good person, and I thank you for that. I love you Teeners. And wish you the best and happiest birthday yet! Now let's go get some sushi and Coldstone!

11 Comments:

Blogger mama_tulip said...

"To fill up my Madeleine gas tank."

I love this. Such a bittersweet day, our children's birthdays.

Happy Birthday to Madeleine!

12/21/2005 5:01 PM  
Blogger Orange said...

Aw, that's just the sweetest and most honest thing I've read all week! *dabs eye*

12/21/2005 6:33 PM  
Blogger Arabella said...

Just beautiful! What a lucky mom! What a lucky daughter!

12/21/2005 6:59 PM  
Blogger wordgirl said...

You summed it up so beautifully! Four is a wonderful, wonderful age. I'm so glad you are savoring this time. It's difficult as well. I know you're a fantastic mom, Mignon.

12/21/2005 9:41 PM  
Anonymous TB said...

This is wonderful. I have no idea what it feels like to have my heart split wide open from loving a child so very much, but I absolutely can't wait to find out.
Thanks for sharing Mignon.

12/22/2005 6:02 AM  
Blogger Tink said...

Damn. All the cute Aw-type-comments have been taken! So here it is, totally original... Awwwww! Great friggin post. 4 is such a fun age.

BTW: Sushi and Coldstone? Your kid rocks.

12/22/2005 6:22 AM  
Blogger Montana1 said...

Nice work, Mignon. There's always a special bond with number one. No offense to the second child, but the first holds a unique place in mom and dad's heart.

My relationship with my kids gets better every year. Once in a while, a sad bit of nostalgia takes hold, however. Last night, I looked at Malia and realized that, though she's still a little girl in many ways, she'll soon be grown up and I'll be wondering where that little girl went. It's with mixed emotions that we watch our children grow.

I remind myself of my motto; we only grow old once, but can remain immature forever!

Happy Birthday, Madeleine. May you share many more with your mom.

12/22/2005 9:14 AM  
Blogger Ditsy Chick said...

That is very sweet. I love that you debate with her and treat her as your equal.

FYI - they don't ever stop wanting you to hold their hands and cheer when the poop.

My word verification is dckmuj...

12/22/2005 10:24 AM  
Anonymous Mom said...

And I am so in need of filling up my "Mignon gas tank" when I'm just too damn far away to realize anything but the joy of reading your blog.

Thank you for saying what I have felt for the last 40 years but haven't the skill to express the overwhelming love and angst of being a mother.

12/26/2005 2:43 AM  
Blogger Mignon said...

Thanks Mom. For commenting and for the nice words. I miss you too.

12/26/2005 1:42 PM  
Anonymous 1 of 2 Dads in Dresden said...

Happy belated birthday Madeleine!

Herzliche Glückwünsch zum Geburtstag!

I remembered you as a much tinier person, and was pleasantly surprised to find a picture of a wonderful little girl on the blog.

Best wishes for many more birthdays to come little solstice girl.

12/27/2005 6:53 AM  

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