My Dearest Ruby,
I’m sitting on my bed waiting for your fresh out of the oven birthday muffins to cool,
Listening to you whisper to your sister.
You’re trying to be quiet so I don’t hear you
Because I told both of you it was nine o ‘clock,
Way past your bedtime,
And you needed your rest,
But you’re giddy with anticipation.
Tomorrow is your big day,
The day you’ve been planning since your last big day.
You’re sleeping on the floor in your sister’s room
Because your grandma is sleeping in your bed.
She came to celebrate with you,
To celebrate you.
Your grandma birthed me, so I could birth you.
You, my precious being are my reason.
Today, I read that happiness can’t be pursued, but ensued.
One must have a reason to be happy
And once that reason is discovered,
She becomes happy, automatically.
You, my child, are my reason for being happy in this moment
And in every moment I am with you.
I hear your voice, I am happy
I hold you, I am happy
I think of you, I am happy
I prepare your lunch, I am happy
I help you brush your teeth, I am happy
Even when I don’t seem happy,
I am happy and you are the reason.
When we are having a tiff because you didn’t hang up the three shirts you tried on
Before deciding the fourth one was the perfect one —
I am happy.
Or, when I tell you to hurry because we are going to be late for school,
But you insist on lacing your high tops all by yourself and double knotting them.
You are my reason for being happy, even then.
You remind me that life is one double knot upon double knot,
Never to be untied,
But admired like a puzzle you can’t solve,
An accidental masterpiece.
Attempting to see all of the knots is impossible,
But I can relish in the creation it has become.
You and your sister are magnificent creations,
Miracles I can’t try to make sense of, or question.
You are a miracle who ties her own shoelaces,
And picks out her own clothes,
And knows what she likes and doesn’t like.
I am in unexplainable awe, every day, of you.
You, my child arrived out of a deep ache
An unbridled, unknowable pain but to the laborer.
The best things are always birthed from suffering.
This is the reason every mother bears the agony —
To usher the most important reason into the world — You.
You are my reason to laugh,
To keep going
Because I want to see what you do,
How you think,
What you say,
What you feel,
What opens you to the possibility of what will be your passion.
I want to witness your struggles because you will have them
And I will be here to listen
And I will break inside, for your pain,
Yet I will smile because I know you will never give up.
You are a tenacious creature who will search and search,
Until you find that reason,
That reason to be happy.
Although, I think you already have,
You’ve found it.
You’ve met it in every moment,
With love, in love.
Oh my darling, do you know how to love.
Whether it is a helping hand offered to your friend,
Navigating them through the hallway to the classroom they’ve never been,
Or taking out a Tupperware to capture the tiny dust spider by the cabinet,
Freeing it to the bush outside.
Filling your sister’s water cup, so she never goes thirsty.
Cuddling Sandy each night before bed time, “Oh, my boy, I wuv you so much.”
Leaving notes and pictures on the bathroom mirror for me to find when I least expect it,
So I remember the reason I’ve already discovered
To be happy.
You are happiness.
Your freckles are the constellations reflected in the sky.
Your eyes are the knowingness of mother ocean’s depths –
Twinkling through the greenish blue haze of her surface,
With that “come hither, don’t you want to see all the way in?” stare.
Your sweet little hands sprinkled with a single chocolate chip on your palm,
The mark that you are you,
And no one else will ever be known for the same reason.
You are here for one reason and one reason only,
To be yourself.
Don’t ever stop being yourself.
May that remain your reason from age 7 to age 107.
I love you to the moon and back.
Happy Birthday, Ruby