Today, our second-born beauty turns 4. Her eyes light up when we talk about the things 4 year olds do – ride bikes with no training wheels, stay up at nap to play Skip-O, go to summer camp, learn to swim with no bathing suit (she means lifejacket) – and I feel that familiar pull to put life on pause and make the Earth turn just a tiny bit slower.
In our house, everything relates back to food, so when we decided to have The Week of Spike, it boiled down to 4 days of dinners with “Sp” worked in.
She didn’t have specific requests for gifts like her big sis who repeatedly pleaded for a family trip to Mexico but happily settled on what will forever be known as the camping trip officially sponsored by the plague. In fact one of the things I love most about our sweet Spikey is her genuine joy in life’s surprises.
There is so much to celebrate about this kid. She is a character in the most hilarious, dramatic, imaginative play I’ve ever had the privilege of watching. From the animated inflection in her voice, to the unmistakable sparkle in her big brown eyes, to the style in which she pops her little hip, puts her hand in the bend of her waist, raises her eyebrows and points right at you when she really wants you to engage in her story, this one is special.
Not a day goes by when she doesn’t make me laugh. And not like, oh let’s encourage her to embrace her individuality and fuel her spirit laughs … like legit, from the bottom of my belly laughs.
Most mornings go like this: I wake up at 5:40 and try to get ready as quietly as possible. I go downstairs to gather my goods for the day and feed the dog. As soon as the bowl drops, I hear the shuffle of too-long toenails as Mya makes her way to breakfast. My last order of business is firing up the Ninja to power blend my smoothie. It automatically shuts off and within 5 seconds I hear her. She scoots the tiny pads of her kissable feet across the tile and, before the rest of her, a bird’s nest of beautiful brunette hair breaks the vertical horizon of the kitchen wall. She is always rubbing her eyes. She is always quiet for the first minute or so. She is always my favorite sight. I get her settled with 2 yummy nilla bars (oatmeal raisin granola bars, which I realize aren’t the greatest choice but that conversation goes here) and a show before … and this is my favorite part … she commands me to give a “kiss and huggie”. As I walk to the garage smiling, she yells, at an inappropriate and unnecessary volume, “Have a good day, Mama, OK? I see you at dinner! Bye!” Boom. Day made.
We spent the day at the lake, but first, we needed a cake. Her dad whipped up a Cake Without Cake Mix for our Friday night gathering, but we needed something to feed about 25 people for this party, so we stopped into Kroger. Those folks know how to handle their flour and sugar. I grabbed the cutest assortment of cupcakes, arranged to look like an ice cream cone with a cherry on top. It was adorable. I’d post a picture except the only ones I have are from after. After I let Spike opt to do candles outside. After I turned too quickly. After the tray slid off the plastic base. After I dropped 24 cupcakes, frosting side down, onto Great Grandma Marge’s rug. After I made the cutest cupcake ice cream cone into a poop-looking pile of frosting.
But the day was not lost.
Happy birthday, dear Spike. I hope this year holds nothing but new discoveries and happy memories for you, ya little Sour Patch Kid. Keep inspiring those around you to dream out loud and never, ever fear that imagination of yours; it will take you far in this world if you embrace it and share it the right way. Thank you for the laugh wrinkles and warm snuggles, and for being a living, laughing example not to take life too seriously. As you would say, “You know … I love you so much. I really, really do.”