Vera is five.

Okay, I know I said I'd write everyday, but who am I kidding? How about just more. More is good. The past couple of days have been fantastic, all told. I needed it, too. I needed a dose of fantastic. But I'll save that for tomorrow and keep this short and sweet.

I meant to write about this on her birthday back in February, but whatever. Vera is FIVE. How did this happen? I still remember that blustery day. I remember my two-day adventure in labor land, the transfer to the hospital and back home again… Mostly I remember the wave of joy I experienced the moment I held her in my arms sitting on that kitchen floor. I was ecstatic. I still am. She's magic, to me. She woke me up to a love of life I couldn't know before her.

The last year with her has been new. It's always new, but this year kind of felt like she moved from "my baby" to "kid" pretty quickly. She's everything she ever was- smart, silly, curious, willful, creative, compassionate. But now? Now she is autonomous, and it's bringing all those things to light in a new way. She belonged to me before, in a way. You know, in that passing way that a young child just is a part of their mother. Now, I don't feel that in the same way. I'm wistful for it sometimes, but mostly I'm awed by how the passing of time brings her more and more into herself. She came from my body, but she is all her own.

And yet, we are so connected. I feel like I was meant to be her mother, and she was meant to be my kid. I could gush on for hours, really. One of the things I noticed about her this year was her conscience. She's got a very active conscience that I am so grateful for- but I know it will also bring her pain in her life. It has me wondering where she'll go and what she'll do. She grieves injustice and feels remorse when she's wronged someone else. She is inquisitive and unafraid of hard truths. She and I recently had a long candid conversation about starvation in the world. We talk about food justice, social justice, prejudice, and the culture of abuse. I mean, in words that make sense to her, but she's with me on it all. She's up for it. If ever I try to shelter her or underestimate her strength, she proves me wrong. She is a creature of this world, and I know she's up for the task. For me, it's both reassuring and terrifying. Scary-awesome, the way most of the best things in life are.

Anyway, I'll share a couple of recent Vera-isms (little conversations we share). I share them quickly on my facebook, but I don't want to forget to add them here:

*Dean Martin playing in the background* "…I go to sleep and keep grinnin! If this is just the be-ginnin, my life is gonna be BE-autiful!"

Vera: Hey! Like how I'm beautiful!?
Me: *kissing her cheek* Yes! Don't you ever forget that, kid.
Vera: And don't YOU ever forget that I love you. Like, even if I get mad at you, or if you make mistakes and stuff. I'll still do love you!

Me: Here, put these socks in Papa's drawer. He doesn't want them folded, so just throw them in there.

Vera: Ha! He's so silly! You should have married him or something.
Me: I did marry him, sweetie!
Vera: Oh. Well, I'm just sayin…

Vera: Mama, was it hard for you to clean up all of the things when you turned into a grown up?
Me: Well, not really. I had a lot of practice first. Like when I was a kid, I started by just picking up my toys and things, just like you do!
Vera: *giggle* Well, the last time you told me to clean up my toys I just kind of stuffed them in my bed. All of the toys and the clothes and the blankets! *giggle giggle*

Vera: Oh man! This is the worst day of my LIFE.

Me: Why?!
Vera: I dropped my coconut! Ha! It was all a joke, though, about the worst day of my life.

Vera: Hey mom?
Me: Yeah?
Vera: If the people who have lots and lots of money… well, like, they should probably give some of their money to the starving children and the people who don't have enough food or water… or silverware. And people have to have underwear! And clothes. And food. And also cups! And all of the things that we have!
Me: Who has lots of money?
Vera: Oh, like the people with the big big farms like Old MacDonald and Burger King and the people who make plastic…

Yesterday while I was out Bri and the kids did a couple of activities to celebrate the equinox. In one of the activities, they meditated on a story and used their imaginations. They imagined that they came to the spring maiden who embraced them and whispered something into their ears. They each shared what they felt like she told them, and it went like this:

Asa (2.5 yrs)- "It's springtime!"
Lilly (4.5 yrs)- "She said I'm going to get something sparkly!!!"
Vera- "She said to go outside, sit down, enjoy the breeze."

On this day we spent time together in the greenhouse just cleaning up and amending the soil in there. She wanted to help so I gave her a tool and she got to it. Soon she exclaimed "I'm getting tired!". I told her she could stop any time, but she replied "No! I can feel it in my body. I can feel the energy." <3

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.
(Khalil Gibran, The Prophet)


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