It's Sophie's birthday today. (Edited to add: It WAS her birthday when I started this, but now it's a couple of days past.)
I snuck out of the house this morning early, while the kids were still sleeping, to walk to the store for cupcakes and milk. Last night, I told Lex I might do that, just so there wouldn't be a panic if they woke up without me here. (Or a party!) It was already light at just a little after 6am, just like it was at 6am as when she was born, eight years ago. I got in line behind a woman with donuts and milk; she told the cashier that it was her daughter's 11th birthday, and I felt so much better about not staying up late last night to make cupcakes or cinnamon rolls or something from scratch like I used to on birthdays. Because that is how I do it now, single fulltime working mom of four kids, I cut corners and do what I can when I can. And it's fine, really. I think Caroline Ingalls herself might have walked over to the grocery store to get premade cupcakes if she could buy them for less than it cost to get the ingredients and she was feeling a little too busy with other things to find the time to bake. Behind me was an old biker dude, and when he put a dozen roses on the belt, the cashier said, Awwwww, thanks! Those are beautiful. They laughed and then he complained that the edges of all the roses were wilting and discolored. I didn't find out who the roses were for, but it was sweet to see this leather and Harley tshirt dressed guy even notice that detail.
I walked back home and found the candles, put eight of them in a cupcake for Soph and set all the cupcakes on a plate. Poor girl was so tired when she got up that she could barely keep her face from falling into them.
Last year around her birthday, I wrote about her birth. Before she was born, my friend Karen (she was also my doula) hosted a Blessingway for us. At the ceremony, we took a ball of string and the first woman to hold it wrapped it around her wrist a few times, then she passed it along, and the next woman did the same. When it was your turn with the string you got to say a few words, share a few hopes for the new baby. The woman leading the exercise, A, then pointed out how we were all connected here, all brought together by this little baby who we were waiting for. Then we cut the strings and tied them off, making little string bracelets that we kept on until she was born. I still have mine. It's in a bunch of short pieces from where I cut it off when she was tiny. During the string thing, or maybe during a different part, A said, Okay, when I was getting ready to come over, something told me to bring glitter to sprinkle on Jenifer's head. I think that Sophie is going to be a playful little puck of a girl. (Not exactly that -- but you get the gist.) And A was right. Sophie is playful, sometimes innocently, sometimes in full-on mischievous ways. Here's an excerpt from a post I wrote when she was 21 months old:
Yesterday morning I woke to the feel of something cool and almost slimy rubbing the bottom of my foot. Sophie said "Hi Mama!" She was happily rubbing deodorant on me. It wasn't even 6 am yet. . . Later, Sophie dragged a chair to the kitchen counter while I was changing Willow. She picked the counter area with the toaster. Lexy's Lord of the Rings cards were also on the counter. Yes. She toasted Legolas and almost started a fire.
I think that, pretty much, we are who we are. Some of us so much so that people paying attention can tell what we're going to be like before we're even here to show them.
Happy Birthday, Soph. You are never boring, you impress the hell out of me every day, and I have no idea how I will survive you being a teenager. You're your own boss, as you like to remind me (and uh, your church & school teachers and the school principal, and the uninitiated adult who tries to tell you what to do) and I love that about you. In many ways, I want to be more like you, and I hope you never lose your sass, even when I'm cussing under my breath because it's directed at me.
Happy birthday, baby.