Seven Times ‘Round the Sun


My Dearest Abby,

My sweet Noodle, you are seven today. On one hand, it’s hard to believe it’s been that long, but looked at from a different perspective, it’s been eons for our family. Your entire life is documented here- from the positive pregnancy test I took at Grandma’s house on a visit to California, through today, where you got up and put on your fancy new dress, your pink crown and your red satin cape and headed off to conquer another day of first grade.

Sometimes I come in to kiss you goodnight and pause to watch you sleep. Don’t worry, all moms do this- and if you’re a mom someday, you probably will too. Your long lashes graze your sweet cheeks, your brow is un-furrowed by the troubles of the day, your dog-eared copy of New Moon Girl fallen on the pillow where you fell asleep reading. My heart swells with love, and I wish I could hold you there, for just a moment, perfect girlhood, so full of ideas and tenderness and brilliance and will and power and idealism.

You are strong and willful in ways that constantly surprise me– on first blush, you seem like a shy, timid girl, but underneath that protective shell is a force of nature, a girl who knows what she wants, and will use her formidable intelligence, vocabulary, and powers of persuasion to get it. And when or if that doesn’t work, you’re not afraid to take on your brothers (or me) and continue to fight for whatever you believe.

I love what a courageous girl you are… I watch you square your shoulders, and ready yourself to meet things that intimidate you. You’re not afraid to articulate complex issues and express your own bewilderment at things that defy your understanding— and therein lies one of your amazing strengths. You continue to ask questions, and you strive to understand, and if I cannot answer your questions, you turn to beloved books and never stop looking.

I know it’s hard growing up with just brothers, and you frequently remind me how unfair this is- I remember, I grew up with just brothers too. But I don’t doubt at all the lessons you learn in communication will serve you well as you move into fields that interest you- science, botany, ecology, and human rights. I am certain, of all my children, that you are going to be the one to try and change the world. I am also certain, without any doubt, that you can succeed.

I love you, my daughter. You have brought with you so much joy, so many lessons and challenges I never would have experienced, and I am grateful every day for you. For your birthday, I wish I could give you an overflowing flower garden with a secret reading nook tucked away, stacked with science books, and a tray of  fine french cheeses and strawberries. I cannot think of anything that would make you happier today.

I Love you,


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