Okay, okay, fine. And I also took today off because there is a full moon out, and now that I'm back to classroom teaching, I find teaching during full moons to be ridiculous and unpleasant. Neil Degrasse Tyson would tell me I am not being a scientific thinker by typing that statement, and normally I would agree with Neil Degrasse Tyson. Except that I'm pretty sure Neil Degrasse Tyson has never had to teach a large group of easily excitable 7 and 8 year olds during a holiday period AND a full moon, and so what does Neil Degrasse Tyson know about full moons and children anyway? Stick to deep space, Dr. Tyson.
Anyway, back to YOU (because at this point, you're extremely angry and grabbing my face and demanding I focus on YOU, STOP talking about the moon.)
So much has changed in 4 years--you are tall and strong and full of wildly imaginative thoughts. Sometimes you will walk by me, still on your tippy toes, then suddenly speed up and say (to the air), "Come on! Come on, Tinkerbell! We have to save them!!" And you are off...though never very far, because you remain convinced the Big Bad Wolf truly lives in our house's shadows and lies in wait for you to leave the safe vicinity of my eyes or your father's so he can gobble you up. Also, Tasha the Cat has creepy eyes--we did establish this long ago. You also don't like it when she steals your sofa spot. That really rubs you raw.
So half the time I have absolutely no idea who you're talking to, or what you are talking about, and this brings so much joy to my heart because I think all children should live lives embedded in magical worlds of glittery freedom. One day you and I will talk about how not all children get to and why, but for now, I love watching you spread your fairy wings and run around in yours.
Our cat is old. She won't be here next year when you turn 5. This is hard for me (not for you--you live in a world where everything is magical, and you are shielded from the deep understandings of what loss really is). She is the only pseudo sibling you have ever known. When you were 2, you treated her like a sister--tattling on her, complaining about her, becoming insanely jealous of her if she sat on me or got a head pat or hug. I've had to make the hard decision to let her go before we leave for our Thanksgiving vacation next month. She is old and sick and for some reason not really letting go; I do worry about making that decision for her. What if there's a reason she's clinging to this side of Life? And who am I to take it away from her? I cry about it all the time in front of you, and I apologize if it ends up psychologically damaging you in any way. I hope it's making you compassionate; I don't know. It could be making you impatient with whiners.
But then again, the other day, when I explained that Tasha would be going to live with God for a long time and she couldn't come back, I asked you if you would miss her. "No," you said pretty breezy, with a lot of confidence.
"Why not?" I asked (silently horrified at the callous nature of children--what IS it with you people??).
"Because she'll be here," you said then, pointing at your heart. And my own heart melted. Did I tell you that once? Or a teacher at school? Or did that come from somewhere amazingly mysterious, like when I used to show you pictures of your Grandpa Samson and Grandma Eula and ask if you knew who they were, and you'd say, "Angels" which was totally mind blowing because, at 1 year old, you had no real concept what that word meant and we had no idea where you had learned it in the first place. Neil Degrasse Tyson would have a scientifically literate way of explaining that away, and this is when my Spirit Self tells my Science Self to shut up, sit down, and stop being such a party pooper or my Science Self is uninvited to my birthday party forEVER.
You are like your daddy in that you do not have patience for my weirdness. You are like me in that you are extremely weird yourself. But in other ways you are just you, and we are just we, and we all live together in this green house we never thought would have any children in it. I feel so blessed that you are with us now.
Because here you are! You are you: if left to your own devices you'd eat candy all day like a starving man would eat a salad, and after you inhaled all the candy you'd turn around and demand more treats as if you were Marie Antoinette her own diva self. You are the scariest grumpiest angriest little girl when you wake up, and you will throw a little daycare friend under the bus faster than you can say Bubble Guppies. I love and adore each of these things about you even and, in spite of, when they drive me absolutely nuts (and you do, on a daily basis--which is your job of course, as my job is to reign you in and silently laugh at your ridiculous reaction to being reigned in which drives you nuts, on a daily basis).
At four years old, you are a sports playing, princess obsessed, fairy loving, impatient, demanding, sweet, silly, creative, and smart girl with unnerving diva tendencies. You think the term "private parts" is hilarious and disgusting, and when you dance, you give new meaning to KC & The Sunshine Band's "Shake Your Booty."
I love you, sweet Princess Melissa. I hope you never have to kiss a frog. But I also know your DNA heritage and realize you will, and you will kiss many. I will squish them for you if you'd like. And we will dance together wearing sparkly shirts and shiny pants to bad 70's disco. I'm so happy I get to be your mommy. Happy 4th Birthday, big girl (who regularly invites and uninvites me to phantom and real birthday parties including but not limited to ones I'm paying for...and regularly threatens to grow up really fast and never be my baby forever if I don't do what she wants). You help me get out of bed on rainy, gross mornings.