Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Happy birthday, Lu.

To my firstborn daughter on the eve of her very first birthday,

How can I begin to express the change you have wrought in my life? From the delight in your smiles to the heartache at your sorrow. You were born at a crossroads: just a few short months before we decided to radically upend our family, camp our way across the great United States, and re-settle twice more in another few months. We delighted in your newness, your awe at the world. Your birth was spiritual and empowering, full of goddess worship; you came into this world surrounded by strong women who understand the power within our female bodies. You were also greeted by the most loving father in the world and your crazy guy big brother who could not wait to meet you. We were more then excited to have you... we were in love from day one. We thought you'd be a different girl, but your own personality shone through and we named you Tallulah... "leaping waters"... and you live up to that name gracefully and perfectly. You are our little leaping dancer... our leaping goofy girl.

You have a thousand nicknames because we can't handle calling you just one thing, you are so complex and full of life. You are our Lulu, our Lu, our Boogs. Brother's Boon and Baby Fern. بنتي. Binti. My girl. You have this incredible essence about you for such a tiny human. You smile easily and make friends quickly. But when you are sad, you shriek like one of those tiny howler monkeys at the zoo. Some nights I crave your newbornness again, your soft lump of weak baby flesh nestled into my sure arms. Your spastic hands with those long fingers. Your grunts and groans. But then you wake up beside me and maul my face with your wet, toothy kisses and I am fully present in the moment with your emerging toddler girl-child self.

You've awakened in my soul a new kind of feminism. I thought I was a radical feminist before you were born, and maybe it's the fem theories classes I'm taking on one of the most liberal campuses, or maybe it's my passion and righteous anger at the world my darling girl inhabits, but I've become ever sensitized to injustice in this world. I feel a burning inside that is unquenchable so long as these injustices exist. I feel an acute sense of an almost animal-like protection... a mama bear lashing out against those who dare to harm her baby cubs, those who even venture too close. But at the same time, I know the only way for you to face the world to make it a more kind and just place is through your own self, so I hope to give you gifts to allow you to forge your own path, to live an authentic life and find what brings you the most happiness.

For now, though, my Little Lu, I'll soak in every morsel of your sweet baby girl self. This year has brought changes... you entered our lives on the cusp of springtime and brought with you warmth and color. You've lived through a lazy summer surrounded by those who adore you most, a glorious fall in a new city, and a cold but cozy winter with new friends in our little apartment in the big woods. Now, we are on the edge of spring again... of new beginnings.... there is a quiet anticipation of things to come. I look forward to the coming seasons with my one-year-old girl, because it means more time finding out who you as a tiny human are and will become.

You are now peacefully sleeping in the bedroom, unaware of the importance of tomorrow. I will spend a few quiet moments with my not-quite-one-year-old girl when I go in there to sleep next to you. And though you won't remember, I'll whisper to you the meaning you have brought to my life. The wholeness you have given me. Your birth ushered in a new sense of purpose and oneness with my body and my soul. For that reason, at least to me, you are perfect in every way. Thank you for this year, sister.


  1. I love telling Alli every year the story of her birth and the story of how she makes me a powerful woman. I didn't realize Lula was born the day after Alli's birthday! She sounds amazing.

  2. This is so wonderful! I've never read anything like this and it stirred my soul!