19 June 2010

A Birthday Letter To Erin...

[Post Re-written] Our daughter Erin turned 12 today.  My baby caterpillar is turning into a beautiful butterfly!  I look back and have some beautiful memories.  I doubt she will remember some of these moments but if she should ever forget that she has been like sunshine upon my face, even when it stormed outside the window panes of life, I hope you remember these moments in time.  

To Erin, 

I return to you, dear daughter, some of my most cherished memories of why you are, and always will be, so special to your father and I...

I have so many memories of how big your heart is but you will never know how much I cherish the one in which you were eight years old and you wanted to plant a garden so badly.  You, unfortunately, were born to a mother who was not even in the gene pool much less the shallow end when it came from this ability.  

One day, when we entered the waiting room of a doctor's office, you homed in on a geranium plant in the corner.  Just by your questions and expression, I KNEW you wanted to adopt that plant and bring it home with us.  When I suggested that we get a small plant to hang in front of your bedroom window, you were ecstatic.  I warned you about the care a plant needed.  Sun, water, a bigger pot when it grew larger (I was optimistic about it's chances of survival since 'I' would not be the one taking care of it since I have the black stare of death when it comes to plants... not by choice, I assure you!)  I also told you that you had to talk to your plant and you asked why, which I explained.  To be honest, it was something your Aunt Suzanne tried to teach me when I complained about NEVER having been able to keep ANY plant alive.  Even a cactus.  

Your conversation with that geranium is something I will never forget because it was just another vignette of  memories of your kind heart and empathy for all things whether it be plant, animal or people.  I HAD to come home and write it down so that I could show it to YOUR kids sometime in the future.  

You were growing up and although you wanted to plant a garden of the blooming and edible kind, I was blessed to see YOU as part of our family garden, grow beautifully both inside and out.

I also remember the day your feline shadow, Catastrophe (Cat for short) was being especially affectionate and 'talkative'.  You came to me worried about the possibility that he might have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).  It took me quite a while to convince you that he was okay and that he just needed some extra love as we all sometimes do.

I know you are growing into your own unique person, but it surprised me one morning not too long ago when you woke up grumpy and snapped back at your father when he called you for breakfast.  Even though the breakfast conversation was funny, your happy, cheerful self took a while to come back.  You are always cheerful, but especially in the mornings.  

That morning, two thoughts struck me hard.  First, I didn't realize the amount of impact your sunshine every morning meant to me.  It was so unlike you and at first I couldn't put my finger on what was different in our house that morning.  Then it hit me.  Your smile and laughter.  I knew, right at that moment, you were growing up and eventually would spread your wings and fly.  That is as it should be, but now I try to mentally remember to store up and save even more memories of this miracle of happiness that is uniquely you for the future.  Please don't ever change your cheerfulness, spontaneity, empathy, energy and heart.

The second thought that I realized that you would soon become that dreaded being.... a teenager.  While I know it is a phase that every human being must go through (and parents must survive), it still was a bittersweet realization that my last child would soon be growing into a young woman.
You also amaze me with your intelligence and interests... and the fact that you caught on faster than any of your sisters in not believing a word your father says to you.  (you may brag of this to your sisters)  Although I must admit that your father was probably only half-jesting about the joys of an empty house after you graduate.  I promise that Daddy won't do things to make you move out as soon as possible after your graduation.  I'll simply carry around a camera to snap pictures to put into his very own scrapbook.  (I don't think it would be fair to torture him with the possibility of posting them on the internet, do you?)

Erin, having been the youngest in my family too, I understand the frustration of feeling like you have more than one parent.  It is a fundamental law of the universe that all older siblings must boss and torture the younger ones.  Even though you and I never had younger siblings, I can tell you from experience that once you become an Aunt, the possibilities are endless to finally get your revenge so don't forget to keep a journal of every sisterly transgression.  

I suggest you keep a journal only because I wish I had done so when I was your age.  I can imagine myself just reading down the list.  Because I'm very sure I've forgotten some of the misery that my sisters dished out to me, I feel cheated.  Because, in essence, in my mind, they got away with picking on me because I no longer remember what the infractions were.  They got away with it!  That's not fair.  So don't make the same mistake I did concerning this very important topic.  Take my advice and keep a journal.  Make a list and check it twice.

Seriously though.  Being the youngest isn't always easy.  You almost always get to do things last.  You get all the hand me down clothes and toys.  You get left behind by your elder siblings when you would give anything to have been invited along.  (Now think about this: Mommy and Daddy can't afford a vacation at Walt Disney World for 7 but as soon as the oldest ones leave, it'll just be 3.  Three is doable, seven is not doable.  Don't you just love math sometimes?) 
You DO realize that by the time your parents have learned everything from experience, they no longer have children that any of it will apply to?  I wish I had known this important bit of knowledge back when I was your age.  I could have informed my Mom and Dad that they could just stop trying to learn any new parental techniques and tips since there were no more kids after me.  Therefore it would be a total waste of their valuable time.  You, of course, do not have that option because you now know that I know that is just a ginormous load of hogwash.  (huh, ginormous [enormously gigantic] really must be a word since my annoying spell checker is amazingly and unaccountably silent...)

I know you might sometimes feel like your sisters only want your lifetime supply of chocolates but someday they will actually come in handy for advice.  Trust me on this, is does get better and sisters really do make the best friends. 

Happy Birthday, Erin.  It has been a blessing and a privilege to be your mother.  (I especially love that our Mother/Daughter conversations are never like your sisters.)  You were and always will be, the best birthday present I ever got!  (Although your timing could have used a little fine tuning because I really wanted to eat that birthday lobster Daddy had brought home for me.  Your sisters ate it before you and I could go home, the little heathens...)

Love You Always And Forever,


  1. So Sweet!
    and Happy Birthday to you too!
    My youngest is also my greatest present :)

  2. Happy belated birthday to a beautiful girl!


Contents from normal neural synapsis goes here....
Should unnatural neural synapsis occur? Take one cherry chocolate Hershey Kiss and carry on.
Should NO neural synapsis occur? Take two full strength chocolate Hershey Kisses and
try again in the morning.