Friday, July 11, 2008

Happy Birthday Sarah

I have never known anyone who lived in the moment as well as you.

You'd rather be home than anywhere.

Outside at home is better than just at home. But anything's better than going to town.

Luckily we have a fairyland right here at home.

You are so generous and kind.

And much, much cuter than a bug's ear.

As soon as I get all melodramatic and wistful, you know something or someone is gonna slap me upside the head.

The thing is, I happened to drive by my family's homestead the other day. The newish owners cut down about a dozen enormous, I mean gigantic, colossal, heritage-sized Maple trees. My Karmann Ghia branch is in a little old woodpile that could heat the White House for a couple of years.

My brother's and my swimming hole? Completely exposed to the sun... no sheltering trees or shrubs at all... and the amateur hydrologist in me says it's not long for this swimming world. The Cedar-sided house in the (now-nonexistent) woods? Painted builder beige. Nice. Very nice. Every once in a while it's good for my soul to have my security blankie sent through a bleach cycle.

This is what I'm telling myself.

But the really funny part is that right as I posted yesterday, I had an immediate flash-forward to the quickly approaching day that our girls are asking for completely inappropriate little sporty cars. This is too bad, because the EGE is already planning on Volvos and Crown Vics for them. In light of my position as a parent and not a teenager (very often) I am so grateful to my dad for the unsexy, safe and cheap car that saw me through high school. My bratty inner child is still a majority immature vote, but holy cow. There's no way I'm buying for the girls or myself a Karmann Ghia or today's teen car equivalent, the Miata. In the long-ago words of dear Dad:

A semitruck would drive right over you and never know you were there.

Which is exactly how I felt, soul-wise, when I saw my childhood tree gone. I wonder what are the sheltering branches of my children's baby lives? Sometimes I think I won't know (until the day I read it on their blogs). Madeleine L'Engle wrote in one of her journals about the power of true icons. Not idols, surely, but representative images of what's pure and true. A teddy bear can be an icon of safety, and a teabag can represent afternoons with Grandma. Of course these icons exist for my children just as they did for me. I hope we give them lots of opportunities to reflect on purity and safety and truth.

Today is Sarah's eighth birthday. Happy Birthday Baby! The Suite tradition spreads birthdays out over a week, at least. Last week was the big visit from the EGE's family; lots of grandma and grandpa and auntie love, along with lots of ice cream. Tonight we will do the bonfire with friends and toast marshmallows. Tomorrow my mom is taking her out to see the new American Girl movie, and next week all the girls and boys of our village will descend upon our farmstead to pretend they're dolphins in the ocean. (Or at least to have their faces painted as though there were dolphins swimming thereupon while they scarf wave-painted cupcakes.)

I hope her birthday is happy, happy, happy, and that her childhood feels sheltered and adventurous. I hope her inner life is joyous and the joy bubbles over throughout her years.


Misty said...

it all sounds like a truly lovely, well planned birthday week!

you are wiser and more mature than I. I just cry at change and stomp my feet.

Chickie Momma said...

Happy Belated Birthday Sarah!!
Loved the photos... she's adorable.

Becca said...

Happy b-day Sarah.

(ans I guess you can never go home huh?)