Don’t call us, we’ll call you

September 14, 2012

Dearest Addison, for your second birthday

Filed under: Family, Motherhood — Tags: , , , , — llcall @ 6:58 pm

I couldn’t say “on your second birthday” since I wrote it a month late. And now I’m posting it 7 months late, but who’s counting (besides me)? But I had to finally post it now as a necessary prelude to something else I’m hoping to post next week.

I have considered it one of my central responsibilities to make sure that others and their feelings are real and important to you.  It’s been a worry that with all the attention you get (from us and virtually everyone you come in contact with), you will think that you are the brightest spot in every room.  At this stage it would be hard to undo that line of thought because you are, in fact, the brightest spot in every room for me and your dad . . . even when you aren’t in the room.  I’m almost embarrassed to say how predictably our days end — we put you down for bed and stroll into our room and within a second or two, one of us says that oft-repeated phrase, “She’s so cute.”  Then we launch into telling stories about you from the day, as if we don’t all live, work, eat, sleep, play, talk in the same space 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Thankfully, you seem to have been naturally endowed with a deep concern for others.  We listened to a Radiolab episode recently about how toddlers are like little sociopaths.  But I’ve known sociopaths and you, my dear, are no sociopath.  In fact, rather than a callous unconcern for the feelings of others, there’s at times a ferocious intensity to your concern, even for cartoon characters.  Sometimes this is very inconvenient, like the last night we were in Utah [in March] and I desperately needed a half-hour to pack before our 5:30 am wake-up call.  Cousin Heather obliged with the movie Happy Feet, which I thought would keep you happily engaged for a while.  Little did I know that it is the story of a misfit baby penguin who gets bullied and pushed into a snowy hole.  OH. MY. GOODNESS. were you distraught!  “Baby poco (that’s how you say penguin) OUT!  OUT!!”  “Baby poco OUT!”  Nothing would calm your tears and screaming, not even fast-forwarding to show that he (it was a he, right? I really didn’t see more than a minute of the movie through all the hubbub) still grew up into a happy, healthy, tap-dancing poco.  At the time, it all felt very bothersome since calming you down and then packing with you close on my heels/in my arms pushed back our bedtime by at least an hour or two.  But truly I’m glad you have a compassionate soul — and I hope that someday you unleash a little of that furor on behalf of someone more in need than an animated penguin.

You’ll learn soon enough (maybe you already have?) that we live a little differently than some people. (Grammy has taken to calling it an “alternative lifestyle” for lack of a more specific explanation.) Some people don’t think we’re making the best choices for your future. One person even said that moving you into a 40-square-foot bedroom, which we plan to do, would constitute child abuse (though I’m about 65% sure they were kidding). What you should know though is that you drove us to it! We hadn’t entirely planned on both of us wanting to be your stay-at-home parent, but how can either one of us be expected to go off and not see you for 8, 9 hours a day? With your level of exuberance, 8 hours away would be like missing 275 super important, often hilarious moments. So we jockey back and forth, adjusting who spends the most time with you (daddy would like it known that he does the majority share at the moment), trying to find the perfect balance of income and health and fun. Someday you’ll want dance classes and Barbies (eek!) and a car, but for now you mostly want us. And we are happy to oblige, despite my occasional neurotic posts grappling with motherhood and lost autonomy.

Your dad was supposed to write a letter too, but he’s been busy — writing about 50 love letters to you. You’ll appreciate them when you’re old enough to read them, which may be about 16 or 17 judging by some of his subject matter.

In short, sweet Aa’son, te adoro. Te adoro.

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6 Comments »

  1. This letter is so sweet, just like Addison.

    Comment by Andrea — September 14, 2012 @ 7:05 pm

  2. Oh it is a really good thing we don’t live closer or else she would get another adoring fan. I love the poco story–she is such a sweetheart. Come back to Utah soon!!!

    Comment by kei02003 — September 14, 2012 @ 7:57 pm

  3. There’s also her current favorite conversation:

    “Um. Daddy. Um. Let’s talk about Gaston hurting Beast.”

    Comment by neal — September 14, 2012 @ 10:44 pm

  4. A unique perspective about Addison being the “bright spot” for every person around her: I was the oldest child, and also the last link to my deceased father (who died in a tragic car accident before I was born). Needless to say, I was a joy and delight to my family and to all who knew me, and, as a child, I was spoiled and loved and cherished beyond reason. But I was also taught important values and limits by my mom. The combination of the two have given me a wonderful gift: an extremely high self-esteem and self-confidence that cannot be shaken! I still think I am a bright spot in the world (not to the point of extreme arrogance)! It has made all the difference in my life, knowing I am valued and capable and that I possess unique qualities. If anything, you can just think of all that adoration as a gift to Addison, teaching her how wonderful she really is and what a bright spot she is in this big world! I’m hoping I can do the same for my kids 🙂

    Comment by Jessica Laitinen — September 19, 2012 @ 7:17 pm

    • Thanks for sharing that unique perspective, Jessica! It was very interesting to consider. I think I have a similar sort of self-esteem, derived from both my parents’ adoration and what I can only guess is some inborn trait. I agree, it has been a great gift in my life.

      Comment by llcall — September 20, 2012 @ 4:58 am

  5. I’ll third the conversation on being blessed with an innate and nurtured sense of confidence. There are some downsides, but definitely a gift, especially when paired with Addison’s fabulous compassion! This is a great letter. I need to write some like this for my girls.

    Comment by v. blanchard — September 21, 2012 @ 8:44 am


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