As I sit at my computer on the eve of your twelfth birthday, I find myself completely dumbfounded about how we got here. Was it really twelve years ago that your dad and I packed our bags, left your big brother in the care of his loving grandmother and made the life-changing journey to the hospital to bring our sweet baby girl into the world? Your dad remembers a slightly less perfect picture involving me flying down the hall in a wheelchair screaming at the nurse, “I don’t care if you have to give it to me in my EYE! Just get me the epidural!”
Either way, May 21st is forever burned in my memory as one of the best, most meaningful days of my life. So how do I even begin to express how important you are to me? Well, since you’re 12 today, I thought I’d share one thing I love about you to represent each year of your life. Otherwise, we’d all be here forever. And I’d eventually have to pee.
Twelve Reasons I Love You, Vivien
1. Your first word wasn’t Mama or Dada or even Elmo. It was broccoli. Which you spoke beautifully from the very first time you said it.
2. You sang louder (and a full octave higher) than anyone in your class at your school’s closing program when you were three.
3. You actually beg to go to bed when you’re tired and have been doing so since you were four. (We never experienced that before you.)
4. Your teachers have always described you with words like “warm” and “creative.” Or “She could make friends with a sock” and “While the whole class is going clockwise to get to an answer, she goes counterclockwise and often beats everyone else there.”
5. You wore my Annie costume (made by my grandmother, your GREAT grandmother) when you performed Tomorrow in your school’s talent show.
6. You actually crave things like sashimi, Brie, fig paste and high-end chocolate … pretty much all the time.
7. You like to write stories that are interesting and always offer a surprise twist somewhere along the way.
8. You give your pets names like Kevin, Bubba Chubba and Herve.
9. You love theater, specifically musical theater, just as much as I do. And you learn the full score of complicated productions like Les Miserables after only a few listenings.
10. You can watch the same beloved movies with me over and over again, singing the scores (unless there are none, in which case we make up our own) at full volume every single time.
11. You actually cry for joy when you are truly moved. That doesn’t usually happen with most people until they’re much older.
12. You appreciate and even embrace your own uniqueness.
“Dean’s the good one, but *I’m* the FUN one!” – Vivien, on the difference between her brother and herself
“You’re my best girl and nothing you do is wrong, I’m proud you belong to me; And if a day is rough for me, Having you there’s enough for me. And if someday another girl comes along, It won’t take her long to see, That I’ll still be found, just hanging around My best girl.”
– From Broadway’s Mame
From Olan Mills Baby of the Week to now … you’ll always be my best girl.
Per MamaKat’s writing prompt asking for something inspired by the word “sweet.” As in my sweet baby girl.