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05 July 2017

Oh

Alana,

You'll never realize how stinking cute you are. 

You are an enigma, really, though. 

You have this easy going demeanor until the minute you don't. 

I am convinced there has never been a cuter tantrum-thrower than you. 

The way you immediately slide into the floor like a baseball player stealing home. 

You'll roll, tumble, wail, shake your head. 

Sometimes, if you're really feeling an epic battle raging within, you'll even pause to survey the floor, do a pirouette, and proceed to the slide. 

It's quite artistic, if I do say so myself. 

But they never last long, do they. 

Perhaps because mommy is nonplussed if not amused. 

I want to capture you in all your cuteness. In all the ways you look at me. The way you move quietly to a corner when you don't want me to see what you're playing with.  The way your eyes innocently lock mine when you see me, see you, doing whatever it is that you shouldn't be doing. 

The way you rifle through my wallet and toss around my major credit cards. 

The way you point at everything and nothing. And you say "oh" as you do it. 

Your chunky arm lifting, rather lazily, in whatever direction the wind blows as if to show me something even when there's absolutely nothing to see. 

Oh.

I want you to know I love you so much it's almost painful. Or whatever word that doesn't exist in our English Language that embodies the ache of a complete love.  Even when the love drives you crazy. Even when the love creates super big messes. Even when the love has tantrums. 
 
Oh.
 










 


 

15 May 2017

If I'd done that

If I done that, I wouldn't have this.

If anything were different then,

I wouldn't have Sayler.

And in the years that followed her birth, if I'd done anything differently, I wouldn't have Alana.

I wonder about "what ifs"

I sometimes stare at pictures, or I get lost in memories, or I hear something on the radio or see something that makes me pause and wonder "what if?"

And then I remember, on a day like today, that I'm in my car, parked outside of an elementary school, and I am waiting for my almost-six year old.

And I wouldn't be outside this very school, waiting for that very girl, if it weren't for things exactly as they've turned out.

But then I drift....

Back into a "what if?"

Could I have changed anything? 

Could I have made anything better? 

Could I have made anyone healthier?

Could I have said more? 

Done more? 

And then I remember if anything had changed many years ago, I wouldn't be in this exact white car, with a Costco-sized box of Capri Suns to give to Sayler's teacher for her end of year school party. 

I wouldn't have my husband's texts in my phone-  who I text each day with reminders, questions, jokes, or vents about my day. I wouldn't have his quiet sense of humor in (most of!) our days. 

If any single thing had been different, today would be different. 

Everything would be different. 

I try to remember that.

Sometimes it's hard.

14 May 2017

Gorilla: Our one year old

We say you're like a gorilla.

Make no mistake: we think that's pretty much the best thing ever. 

I know as you get older one of the many, many things I will miss most is your extended belly.

The round shape that sticks out so far and creates an imbalance as you toddle forth... a side-to-side heavy footed motion that thrusts you forward- reminding us of a gorilla.

It doesn't help that you also squat like a gorilla.

Surveying whatever is on the floor in front of you. 

Carefully examining, using small, delicate fingers to pick things up....

You're like a gorilla. 

For now.

One day I will miss this gorilla stage terribly.

I will remember it, think on it, tell you about it. 

I'll tell you about your first word at 9 months: "mama", and your second dada" at 11 months.  

You have progressed to word number 3... "wow". And it's almost as sweet sounding as ''mama' is. 

I'll tell you about all these things...

Love, mommy.











 


27 April 2017

Ethan

Daughters,

I want to tell you about when I thought I'd have a son.

It was long ago... so very long ago... 

I was dating someone I thought I might someday marry, and we would
often talk about the kids we would someday have.

And I unilaterally decided we would have a son, and his name would be Ethan.

And I was quite sure of it. Perhaps as sure as I was that I would someday marry that boyfriend I adored and loved.  

The boy with the warm and honest smile. 

The boy with whom I laughed and danced.

The handsome boy I talked with on the phone all hours of the night.

And every once in a while I still smile when I think of that would-be son, Ethan, because
it reminds me of a great love, and because his name was significant and well-thought out.

Someday I will tell you how I derived at that name, Ethan.

If I told it to the world now they would see deep into my heart, and maybe that's a place I only want to tell you girls about. 

But I can tell you and the world now that my boyfriend with the warm smile seemed to quietly agree it woud be a fitting name.

And I should add that though I would have loved Ethan, I am complete and happy and fulfilled and overjoyed I had my 2 beautiful and distinctly unique girls. 

But... I admit....

 I do think of Ethan from time to time.

Not in the way that you miss someone, or miss a place or time, or feel sad, or like you've lost anything.

But I think of him in the way people sometimes think about and miss a small part of themselves.

A dream or memory that you shared with someone once upon a time, that
has long gone unspoken of with anyone else. Like a secret, but the good kind of secret that connects people to each other. 

That's the good kind of secret.  

The kind of secret that reminds you of a warm, honest smile. 



Sent from my iPhone

26 April 2017

Window Seat

I like the window seat.

It's where I think real hard, remember real good, and dream most big.

It's where I stare out at moving clouds and pretend the person next to me doesn't exist. 

It's where memories dazzle my brain.

Vivid flashes of family, friends, lovers, and encounters of both the bizarre and profoundly normal- moments that I had managed to almost forget until sitting on some plane, flying somewhere, in some time zone, staring at some clouds rolling by. 

These clouds from this window seat- They remind me.

01 April 2017

Birthday Girl

Alana,

361 nights ago I held you in my arms at exactly this hour.

Nursing you, cradling your warm, naked, new body close to mine.

Completely in love.

So in love.

I hope you know that kind of love someday.

It's transcendent... unmatched... calming... whole...

And you were held, unnamed, in those hours, and it would be 2 days later that we named you, officially. 

(It turns out- we couldn't leave the hospital  without naming you).

So let me tell you how your name came to be.

Alana,

Your name was on the short list for a while.  

Your dad always liked it.

It is my middle name.

And when I was pregnant with your sister, gender unknown, he tossed around the name Alana if we had a girl.

But I knew the baby I was carrying was not an 'Alana'.

Sometimes, you feel things deeper than in your heart...

It's in your soul.

And so your sister came to have her name, and if fit her perfectly.

And then nearly 5 years passed of our lives...

And when I held you, my new, calm, gentle baby who arrived nearly 2 weeks late, Alana seemed to fit so well.

A calm, easygoing name to match my easygoing pregnancy (save for the first trimester), the calmness that enveloped my body as I carried you, the way my whole world changed to reconsider all of the things that were important...

But let me tell you how I came to have the middle name Alana.

My uncle's name was Allen.

He was my mom's brother.

He was someone my mother loved, dearly.

A harmless man Iast saw when I was around the age of 11 or 12.

I remember him as a gentle person, an uncle I'd see in passing.

And to validate that name further, my mom's mom loved the actor Alan Ladd.

You see? 

It's a little complex.

But complex is beautiful.

Your name was chosen carefully after we saw you, held you, nursed you, stared at you, slept beside you 2 full nights and passed you to be held by grandma and then, a full day and a half after your birth, your sister.

And for reasons unknown I had never thought to search for the meaning of my middle name, and now your name, prior.

But here is your befitting name:

Alana is a common female given namecoming from the Goidelic/ Hawaiian community meaning fair, beautiful, offering. It also is an Ibo given namewhich means father land or father's land in Igbo language. Alana or Elana can also be the female name in an English translation of Elan which in Hebrew means tree.

Alana, you get so many compliments from strangers "she's beautiful" they say...

And even your pediatrician has said, more than once, "she's perfect".

At your 1 year checkup you weighed in just under 24 pounds, falling in the 93ed percentile for both height and weight.

We're certain you'll be a tall girl, which will go nicely with your beautiful spirit and contemplative nature.

(If you end up petite, I promise I'll be as surprised as you).

Alana,

I must end this post now because you have gotten into my wallet again...

Love, Mama Bird

(Weekend in Monterey ❤️)












 


 














01 March 2017

Kind

Sayler is kind.

It's the kind of thing that could go unnoticed rather easily... Behind her boisterous confidence and cool shoulder shrugs- she sometimes projects a kind of  'unaffectedness' common in 5 year old children.

But nothing goes unnoticed by her. 

Last week she asked to borrow my nice stationary- the set I had *just bought from Target that I immediately loved. 

I sighed heavily, longingly looking at the adorable cardstock and envelop that I would not get back, quietly calculating who I would have to forgo sending a card  to from the pile.

But I relented, because it's Sayler. 

Smooth, slick, sugary, spicy Sayler.

She proceeded to write an assortment of sight words on her card. "Amarillo"... "Rojo"... "Esta"....

She added a few hearts- the skinny tall hearts that are not chunky and round as mine were as a child. The reduced fat hearts... The paleo-hearts... The Atkins hearts...

She said she was going to give it to 'Emma'- a girl I have seen from time to time, but one who is not among her closest friends.

"Because the boys were being mean to her and made her sad..."

My own heart melted a bit.

My chubby, round, deep fried, chocolate-covered heart.

It melted.

She put that card in a baggy, along with a small chocolate donut, and responsibly put it in the fridge... And then her backpack the next morning. 

And that was that.

We didn't talk about it further.

Sayler went back to her cool unaffectedness, but I know better.

I know the kind, thoughtful, perceptive little girl that lies beneath my tomboy. 

I love her. 



 

 

 

06 January 2017

Hands

Alana,

You are a wonderful and easy baby.

I look forward to cradling you in my arms each day, and staring into your eyes.

I can't do it for long.

Because you wiggle free, or your eyes dart to the attention of your sister... always your sister.

Or as we stare at one another you may use a free hand to grab the fat of my cheek or the fat of my chin (ouch!) and our staring session ends because... It can be a little painful, AJ.  I only have one face, you know...

But it was worth the pinch and reminder I need to lay off the Milano cookies.

But in those moments before you wiggle and grunt under the weight of my hands trying to hug you closer, I am devoted to only you.

I want you to know that I love when you smile and look my way.

You extend your arms outward and wave your wrists.... Up... Down... Up... Down... Your delicate fingers sometimes following with their own movements.

And this means,

You want to be held.

I will pick you up, pull you close, so close I know it makes you uncomfortable.

But I can't help myself because all I want is to see your wrists wave up and down and to have a moment to squeeze your warm and round body, your heartbeat close to mine.

You are our greatest Joy.

And just the other day, quite randomly as I drove along with my own mom, your sister said "I'm glad you had 2 kids".

Which of course made grandma and I smile.

We couldn't agree with Sayler more. 



 


09 December 2016

#alanajoybirch

You're one of a kind.
You're walking.
You're 8 months.
You're asleep.
You're clever.
You're sweet.
You're observant.
You're forgiving.

How did I come to deserve you? 



 


 
 

05 November 2016

Sunshine

Your hand on my knee,
Come drive with me
To wade in an ocean salty

I'll claw fingers through sand,
Sun on my hands
The warmth to the cool on wet palms

For a time, we'll bask
Good humor with laugh,
Hold tight, hold tight, remember



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