Tuesday, October 7, 2008

New Adventures In Growing Up. (Dear Cadence, Month 15)

In the delivery room; our first family photo

Dear Cadence,

Cadence and Mama less than 1 day

I am writing this to you for the last day of your fifteenth month. Why this day is significant brings with it so many memories I will never be able to put them all down. I first got the idea of writing to you at the end of each month back when you were only three months old, and already I was afraid that I was irreparably behind.

Cadence at less than 1 week

Cadence at 1 month

Cadence at 2 months

Cadence at 3 months

There are a lot of intricacies to the human psyche and relations that I know you will become all to familiar with as you get older, and sometimes we can get mired in issues we can't even define. This past year has been a rough one for me, and for your father, and much to my shock and dismay I watched as month after month went by and each letter I began sat unfinished, a testament to the breached state of my life. You, my lady, were my earth that year. The steady, powerful, unstoppable, life giving force of nature that knocked loose every false mask I had ever put in place to hide from the inaccuracies in what I thought my life to be. I won't lie: it was awful. Unbelievably painful. Horrid. But, you know what else it was? Quite simply, quite truthfully put, it was the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Cadence at 4 months

When you were born, - no, even before you were born, really, it began when you began seemingly so long ago now - you brought with you the gift of true self-confidence. I had believed, in years past, that I possessed the self-confidence any strong independent woman of this age needs, but you showed me that what I believed I had was a well meant mask. You gave me a true power. Because I knew, beyond any possible, even theoretical doubt, and with my whole being, that you were unspeakably wonderful, amazing, beautiful, and so, incredibly, worth everything. I finally understood that this must mean that I am worth it, too. Because, if I'm not, if I'm worth nothing, then how the hell could you believe me when I tell you that you are? If I was nothing, then 'nothing' would be telling you that you were worth it, you would have come from 'nothing', you would have 'nothing' to help you along this journey that is life. And since your worth and wonder wasn't even a question, that must mean that I am worth it, too.

Cadence at 5 months

That gift made me open my eyes. Suddenly, I wasn't willing to put up with injustices I had allowed close to my heart, turned a blind eye to. Suddenly, I was fighting for the respect I had deserved all along but never felt entitled to. Suddenly, I tore down the masks I'd hung over those holes, and found myself standing in a ruin. It was devastating and freeing and terrifying and angering to find what I had been living in...and the thought of moving on, building new, strong, solid walls was daunting at best, but I had you, and your wonderful gift, and thus I knew that, this time, I was up to the task.

Cadence at 6 months

I won't go into too much about how your father was affected, since that is his journey to share with you on his own time, but I will say that I know that you are the reason he is who he is today. And let me say, beyond any doubt, he is a wonderful person, who had been on a dangerously troubled path before your gift hit our worlds like a ton of golden bricks. He went from being a father figure like a silhouette in a doorway, to being your Baba.

Cadence at 7 months

So here we are today, a year after my first attempt at reaching out to you, the foundation of our new lives still damp but set, able to breathe in a way I never could before, and my sudden inspiration to write fueled by growth I knew would come but could never have fully imagined.

Cadence at 8 months

You, Cadence, are a paradigm shift I so needed and so deeply love. You are my greatest work of art, the best thing I have ever created or experienced, and yet there is a spirit in you that I know I didn't fabricate, you brought the spark of life to the table all on your own, and you do it wonderfully, with poise, grace, and a perfectly mischievous grin.

Cadence at 9 months

Now, I sit here writing to the tune of you singing gleefully from the other room as Baba shows you again how to write your name, and I know that you are a baby no more.

Cadence at 10 months

I'm not sure when that happened exactly, but it is pretty undeniable. Was it when, at 9 months, you figured out how to walk? Was it when, at 12 months, we switched you to your big girl bed?Was it when, at 13 months, you started dancing in circles for fun? Was it when, at 14 months, you used the toilet for the first (and second...) time? Was it when you learned how to use simple sign language in place of words just a little too complicated to sound out? Was it when you started playing robin hood to the dogs, taking food to sneak to them in the solitude of the other room? Was it when you realized the mouth shape for the word "out", and found that you didn't even have to voice it to get your point across? When you learned how to climb? When I finally gave in and pulled all the baby food from the cupboard, to be donated to charity? When your teeth came in and those gummy baby smiles turned into big toothy grins?

Cadence at 11 months

If there was any moment in time when your babyhood ended and you toddled into the world of small child-dom, I'd have to say it was when you discovered that you have control over what you give your attention to. That you could interrupt our activities to demand to go for walks, and could take us by the hand, direct us to the parmesan cheese in the fridge, reject distractions we attempted to catch your attention with, go on kitty-seeking adventures, and create your very own systems of organization.

Cadence at 12 months

Of course, this means that you are prematurely turning into a terrible two, throwing tantrums when our plans don't mesh with your desires, beating down the door if our realities aren't fast enough to compete with your imagination, defying our limits while looking us in the eye.

Cadence at 13 months

But, even as the days get more exhausting, they get more exciting to experience. Getting to see what you will come up with, which patterns have been juiced for all their worth, and which ones will yield a plentiful harvest. Seeing how the effects of what we've done the day, month-and now, even year-before have manifested in your psyche, your perception of your word, your opinions.

Cadence at 14 months

You have more to say, and more intricate, varied, surprisingly poignant ways to say it in than most of the college educated 'adults' I have encountered. You may not have many actual bits of vocabulary to work with just yet, but you certainly don't let that stand in your way, and I am so glad for that. Your ability to problem solve disproves half of the child development experts out there, and your myriad accomplishments have taught me to ignore the books.

Cadence at 15 months

You are amazing, but it isn't because you can build huge towers of blocks or harvest basil from the garden, or even because you can feed the cats on your own or designate a drawer for dog toys and matchbox cars. And it isn't because you're still just as mind bogglingly, brain-meltingly cute as you used to be, either, even though your personality and sweet nature just compound it.

Rather, it's the spirit that underlies all of that, the curious, willing, loving, cautious, thoughtful, witty, goofy, stubborn...I could go on and on here and never be able to peg it down, it's the soul of you, the part of you that makes you, you...the part of you that didn't diminish when your tough-as-nails, new york city bravery failed you at the children's theater, leaving you with a lasting fear of the dark that makes you cautious to venture out under the stars.

The part of you that is ever present through your most glowing giggles and your deepest tantrums. The part of you that loves curried spinach and chocolate in nearly equal measure. The part of you that makes you squeal at cute things and give me incredulous looks when I do something silly.

Hey Cadence - guess what?


Love Always,