Our very first moment together was very nearly our last. In a way that now seems utterly unsurprising, you were quite literally tangled up within me. Wedged inside my womb, stuck between scar tissue from your brother and sister, and the rest of me. Right from the beginning, you accepted as perfectly perfect a pretty busted up version of me. For over an hour, a team of doctors, most of whom I'd never met or seen before and had been hastened to our OR with a sense of urgency consulted and pushed and tugged and carefully made space for you to leave me, or join me as it is. I should've known then as I know now so deeply in my bones. You and I will always be destined to be tangled up in each other.
When you were two I took you to a mommy and me gym class. The instructor introduced himself and his "friend," the other instructor. Then we went around in a circle and the other babies tentatively said their names. When it was your turn, you didn't hesitate: "I'm Hope. And I brought my friend Mommy with me." On the equipment you would climb higher and higher, but as you did so you would always ask, as if to be reassured, "You got me?" I would always answer back, "I got you," but it was only half true because most of the time you've got me. It is you who is always rescuing me.
You are so curious and smart and independent. You always have to do it yourself. It may take you twenty minutes to get in your own carseat and I know the other mothers wonder why we are just sitting in the car after preschool but I can't help. I just can't. It will incite a riot and also you're right. It matters that you learn to do these things on your own. Letting go of the part for where I do for my little ones will be the hardest with you. When your brother was four, it seemed like he was nearly a full grown man. I treated your four year old sister like a teenager. Turning four just before you were born, she seemed so old to me. But perspective and time are powerful. Your four seems so little, so young. And actually you both are and aren't. Your not a baby. We're well past diapers and naps. You are more than halfway through preschool. But you are still so small too. I'm mixed up really. All of it is a little mixed up really.
My God you are so funny. When you laugh, it literally lights up my world. The way you laugh with your whole body really, reminds me of my father and of his mother. Genetics and generations are funny, and when I squint I can see in your eyes my own and a world of people that you'll never really know but live inside you in your wit and smarts and zest. There is this tiny invisible thread pulling us along, tying us all together. Sometimes even when we can't see it, I reach out to you to feel it. Even though you are my present and my future, in this way you connect me to my past.
I know I've said this before, but never have I hit the ball so far out of a park with a name. When we are grumpy or tired or frustrated with ourselves or each other, always, literally always you are the one that will consistently get a smile out of every single one of us. The way you lighten our lives truly does feel like Hope.
Happy 4th Hopie. Today, like everyday, was brighter because of you.