a blog about raising a daughter with cerebral palsy and learning unexpected lessons along the way

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

On the Day You Turned Three

Dearest Esme,

No one ever told us how steep the learning curve is from age 2 to 3. A little warning would have been nice. Or maybe not. What a beautiful and refreshing surprise to ruin. The ride along this year's learning curve with you was straight up, way up and fast. And it was downright incredible. The two year old in you, Esme, has had me wishing that forever there would be toddler feet pattering the floors of our home and that the sound of your mispronounced words would always come from your nubby little body whose head barely reaches my waist. I loved age two. And I adore you. It's bittersweet this growing up thing you've chosen to do, and a part of my heart was truly sad to see this formative year of your life side right past your Daddy and I.
A typical conversation in the weeks leading up to your third birthday...
How old are you?
"Two", you'd say with two fingers extended.

And how old are you going to be?
"Free", you'd answer with a twinkle in your beautiful brown eyes and three fingers extended.

When is your birthday?
"July twenty", spoken with the sweetest emphasis on the u. "I'm having an Under the Sea party!"
And yes, Esme, that's exactly what we had on the day you turned three. On Joooly twenty. An Under the Sea party for you, our beautiful baby girl who believes in "mernaids". Especially the red-headed ones.
On the day you turned three, I softly sang "Happy Birthday" to you as I entered your room to greet you for the day. You were cozy, and warm, and still covered. You gave me a sleepy smile as you stretched your arms above your head, then asked "Am I three now?"

On the day you turned three, I felt the need to photograph your every detail just as it was, right then and there. Somewhere among you are last remnants of baby and I'm still desperately trying to capture the last of it all before it all fades away. Your silky hair, your eyelashes, your shiny nose and cheeks, your fingers, your little legs and feet. But you denied my camera on the morning of your birthday and played shy. That's ok. I like this side of Esme, too. It's very you.
On the day you turned three, I reflected on the day you were born. Naturally. I did so all day long really, but especially so while alone in the garage as I hung the jellyfish decorations for your party that you, your sister, and I made together. Happy tears flowed the moment I first saw your pink little body fresh from mine, as well as on the day you turned three. I will always cry on the birthday's of you and your sister because reflecting on fond memories and giving way to happy tears are a few of my favorite things to do.
On the day you turned three, we celebrated you with a small but powerful fraction of the dearest people we know and love. And who know and love you. Your NeNe and PaPa were here. And among these dearest of people also includes Suzie, Sawyer and the Butler's, who traveled the morning of your party from North Carolina, then back again on the same day. You are so loved, Esme. And so fortunate.
On the day you turned three, you carelessly and joyfully ran around our yard barefoot with all of your little friends. And you bounced nonstop in the pink bounce house we rented for your big day. It was the same one we had for Oia's birthday party last year. You loved it. We all did. You jumped so long and hard that there was not one strand of dry strawberry blonde hair left on your head. You have always been a little hot box.
You celebrated your birthday with your PaPa, who turned 75 on the very day you turned three. Calling my Dad, your PaPa, from my hospital bed on the day you were born to announce the arrival of you, his second granddaughter AND to wish him a happy birthday in the same phone call was one of the neatest things I have ever done. Celebrating each of your birthdays together since then is nothing short of a blessing.
Oh Esme. A couple of weeks before your birthday you asked me if I would still love you when you turned 3. Such innocence poured from your voice. Realizing in a moment that such a thoughtful question needed reassurance in it's reply, I said I'd love you no matter how old you'd become. And no matter what you'd do. It's unconditional, this love. A Mommy's heart never stops growing and filling up with love for her children. Trust me on that one.
So go ahead and grow, Esme. I want you little forever, it's true. But some big and mighty things are destined for you. I'm certain of it. Grow up, and be kind, be love. Be 3, be 4, be whatever age the good Lord is willing you to be. Your father and I will always, alwaysalwaysalways love you. And so will many others. Especially that pretty cool big Sis of yours. We love you so much, Esme Anne. Even more than you love mernaids. We will never forget the tiny you and everything about you, on the day you turned three.


  1. Beautiful post, Mo!
    Happy Birthday to that sweet, gorgeous girl of yours. I feel so blessed to be able to watch as your girls grow up - even if it's just from the other side of a monitor.

  2. This made me cry. So very beautifully written. I too am watching with wonder as "2" slips away from my littlest one.

    Esme is a beautiful little girl. You are so lucky you get to be the mama to two such beautiful souls.