Birth Day: A Letter to Iris

I have a wonderful, large extended family. On one side of my family, there are 23 cousins in my generation including step-cousins and spouses with 13 second cousins and counting. This week is full of Birthdays. On Monday a new little cousin was born at home in a water birth. My heart is full of joy, brimming with emotions: excitement, empathy, and a tinge of sadness that I am past that chapter of life – no more babies. My daughter was born at home 3 years ago.

A big brother kiss during her first 6 months!

To commemorate the occasion, I want to share a letter to my daughter. She makes me want to be a better person. Her brother initiated me into parenthood and has taught me innumerable lessons; but, Iris has pushed me even farther than I thought I needed to go.

Dear Iris,

You are my Rainbow, cheerfully embracing life with sheer delight. From the time you wake up in the morning until you go to sleep, you seem to not want to miss a moment. You are full of enthusiasm, wonder and spontaneity.  As a 3-year-old you are no longer a baby, but a girl. When I look at you now, I see glimpses of the woman you will one day be.

You have taught me by example to dance, anywhere, anytime, whenever the music compels you.  I have told you a few times when it seems inappropriate or simply precarious while out at a restaurant or in a parking lot. But, I love it when you listen to your heart and want to stop and dance!  I have even joined you in public places, forgetting my feelings of embarrassment or clumsiness.

Your favorite playground activity: swing!

You narrate, question and observe details of every day living. This past year, your vocabulary and voice have blossomed. You have started to tell me stories, about your dreams from the night before, or made up phrases that sound like you are from another planet. You also make up songs and sing them whenever you want. I love them, but again find myself reminding you about appropriate timing. Not everyone at the Post Office wants to hear you sing about the letter W. But, I really do even though I have to ask you to wait until we are in the car or walking home.

You have shown me that our bodies are resilient, and what you eat makes all the difference in your health. I have started to learn more about health to help you, but I am also helping myself, Dad and Cooper. I have a good reason to experiment in the kitchen, and savor the process. Thank you for helping me discover this.

You love and adore your brother. The last few months you have started to miss him terribly while he’s at school, but battle him fiercely for his attention and participation in whatever games you want to play. I knew this was coming. But, now you’re also competing against him for little things, like getting ready for bed, or to get shoes on to leave the house. Everything is turning into a race.  Sibling rivalry is a normal development. I hope that one day you realize that you are perfect. There is no need to compete with your brother!

A free spirit, no longer a baby, a girl.

You are fiercely loved by your Dad and me. We cherish you. Your brother loves you.

Thank you for being yourself each and every day.  I am excited to see who you chose to become this next year. You will always be my little rainbow, reminding me to stop and be present in the moment.