The heart of the matter.

Dear Sweet Girl,

Wow, what a nice break, huh? We spent the holiday’s doing the best thing ever: intensive, restorative, giggling family time. We got people from around the world that we love and put them in our home and we cooked and laughed and ate and drank and sang. I haven’t seen you that happy and full in a long time. I mean, you’re always happy, but when you have a full house of people you absolutely shine.

The other night while your dad was out of town, I told him on the phone that although I hate (HATE) his travel schedule, it does give you and me some bonding time that makes me so happy and connected to you. You are growing into a person who is funny and smart and can hold up a pretty decent conversation. You’re crazy and scared about a lot of things (you wouldn’t let the dog in the other morning because you were concerned he may have turned into a wolf in the preceding 8 minutes, and you didn’t want to have to deal with the pain of realizing your sweet dog is now a wolf that you can no longer cuddle with. I swear this whole conversation happened.) but you can rationalize things pretty well. I have to keep reminding myself that I can’t turn you into the person you should be. You are already that person. I’m just giving you pointers and nudges.

Sweet Girl helped me last week with a shopping list. Girl knows her stuff.

Sweet Girl helped me last week with a shopping list. Girl knows her stuff.

Last night, you and I went grocery shopping together. It was a fairly quiet night there, so I let you weigh and label all of the veggies and fruits. You did most of the picking out too, and I saw you do what I do: you picked up each thing, checked its heft, turned it in your hand to make sure it looked good all over, and gently put it in the sack. Baby, when I saw you do that I almost cried. Actually, tears welled. I realized at that moment that you are absorbing lessons at an astonishing rate. You don’t let anything go unnoticed.

You are so like me in so many ways –  despite that and because of that – I know you’ll be fine. You’ll be better than fine. Your ability to flesh out the heart of the issue will keep you able to relate to so many things. You can pick out veggies at five years old. You know when saying sorry is the right thing, even when you don’t think it’s your fault. You value your family and friends above things. These are the lessons you need. I didn’t have to tell you this.

Thank you for this amazing holiday season. I promise I’ll write more often, sweetheart.

Love,

Mommy

Daddy Issues

Dear Sweet Girl,

No one, except *maybe* Chris Farley, can match your father’s physical comedy. True, he doesn’t mean to be funny, but when he hits his head or stubs his toe or stabs himself in the hand or has another not truly serious injury, he can make Chris Farley look like Sir Lawrence Olivier. The falling over, the crashing into things, the yelling profanities (our neighbors probably think that we’ve named everything in our home “Goddamned Mother F#&*ker”, which of course were your first words), they’re all classic moves that we’ve come to love in our family.

Outside of your dad’s penchant for colorful  language, he’s also done something that I’ve never experienced: he’s a true caregiver. I mean, I’ve seen this happen before: my brothers are caregivers, but I will guarantee that wasn’t emulation. Your dad was (is) lucky enough to have grown up with a father who also cared for his children. I want you to understand how lucky this makes you.

Dad's really CAN do it all? Really?

Dad’s really CAN do it all? Really?

This may sound odd to you, but there are fathers out there who don’t care for their kids. In that they don’t actually do things to ensure their children have basic necessities, support and tenderness, or even a relationship. I’m not talking single moms, divorced parents. I’m talking people-living-in-the-same-damn-house. You are lucky. Moreover, you’re not only surrounded by YOUR engaged father, you’re surrounded by your friends’ engaged fathers. I mean, these dudes are completely on the Dad Train. Grocery shopping, kid-dropping-off, play date hosting, soccer coaching, dinner cooking Dad Train.

All of this said, why do they feel like they’re treated like bumbling idiots? Why, in your books, are the dad’s always silly, stumbling bozo’s who can barely boil water? When your friends’ Daddy asked me this the other night, after he and your daddy prepared dinner for all of the kids, I couldn’t think of a really good answer. I am really stumped to find a *GREAT* and *REAL* dad in media for young kids. He pointed out The Berenstain Bears dad being a buffoon, and I didn’t remember that being the case until I went back and re-read some of them.

I have made it my mission to find some great books that depict dad’s the way they are to you and your very lucky friends: they’re men that are present in all things, loving, positive forces in your lives. Your relationship with your dad will have SO much to do with your relationships with all men throughout your entire life. And if you can find a partner half as good as your dad, you’re on the right track, love.

And for my friend, The Potato Fluffer, here’s some books to hold you over: 20 Children’s Books Featuring Fathers.

Love,

Mommy