Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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48 Months

Waiting for her birthday party guests to arrive.

Lying on my daughter's bed just now, four years to the minute after she entered this world. I hold her against my body, her tiny spine nestled perfectly into my stomach. Her silky curls tickle my nose, smelling of sweet hay or flowers and just a hint of the chocolate cupcakes she took to her class today. I close my eyes and concentrate on our inhales and exhales; a symphony of contented breathing.

I hold her tightly and remember the day she came into my life. All red-faced, defiant cries, waving walnut-sized fists.

More contented breathing.

The minutes pass peacefully whether in silence or filled with her chatter of classmates and lobsters in the sand and birthday party reminiscences.

I open my eyes and study the delicately upturned nose. The full, pink lips punctuating her porcelain complexion and try to reconcile this grown-up kid with the baby forever in my heart. I close my eyes to the child of today in an effort to summon a mental snapshot from each year of her life. Click. She's born. Click click. She's walking. Click click click. She's off to pre-school.

Each evening after I read her a story, tuck her in and linger in the doorway she insists on blowing and catching several kisses before uttering the phrase we exchange every, single night without fail.

"See you later, alligator!"
"After a while, crocodile."

The expression of joyful contentment that spreads across her face when I issue my response replicates itself night after night, never waning. It's so easy to please her. It's just as easy to enrage her or make her sad... Such is life with a 4-year-old.

I stand on the sidelines as she blossoms into a smart, quirky, cool customer and I marvel at how uniquely complex, how wonderfully hilarious she is. If, before her birth, you had asked me to describe the ideal daughter I might have responded with some uninteresting grouping of adjectives; "loving, kind, smart, funny..."

Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought to describe the amazing little girl I have the pleasure of calling daughter.

Reader Comments (14)

It's a great day for a birthday! My oldest is 16. I walked around all day in disbelief. My little chunky guy with the big cry is now taller than me. Sigh.
Happy birthday Violet!

January 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

Aw...Happy 4th Birthday to your little sweetheart Violet. Yay!!! The way you describe your precious memories of her precious life is joy inducing! I will never forget that one video you took of Violet on an amusement ride. I think it was a plane and your husband was beside himself...running around, calling out to her, Every kid oughta have parents who make a fuss over them, Your babies are indeed blessed! Hope you are feeling better. Have fun!

January 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergina

I usually would click on your blog from Facebook, but since I got rid of it I have forgotten to read. I thought I would check it out today, and perfect timing!
Happy birthday miss Violet! Most beautiful 4 year old this side of the Mississippi:)
I Adore her birth video, perfection.

January 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKami

Happy Birthday Violet!!!

Monica, such a lovely post and video. I'm 4 months along and so of course i'm in tears watching your birth video.

January 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercharity

Wonderful post - Happy Birthday, Violet!

Your post sums up many of the things I think about with my own daughter. It is CRAZY how quickly time passes. I keep telling her that I'm going to start tying bricks to the top of her head every morning so that she stops growing (she's six). We have our nightly routine, too, and every night when I leave her room it's like this : her (as I stand outside her room with the door partly open) : "Merry Christmas, Happy Easter!" Dad (yells from the living room) : "Merry Christmas, Happy Easter!" me : "Merry Christmas, Happy Easter!" This all then repeats one more time, followed by an, "I love you little one!" as I close the door. I wonder how old she'll be when she doesn't want to do our "routine" any'll break my heart. {sigh}

January 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHanni

You're a sweet mama. Her smile is precious!

January 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMartha

I had forgotten that when I first started reading you, before Babble, before you became "famous", you made me yearn for motherhood. You never made it seem easy, you never made it seem hard either. It was just love. Pure love, pure freedom also. And I yearn for it again. Wylet is still as cute as ever and you're both doing a great job.
Happy Birthday kid, and Happy birthing day Mama!

January 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMiss A

Happy Birthday to Violet. I loved the video... i may have shed a tear or two...

January 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBelinda

Happy Birthday, Violet!!

January 22, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermr

Happy Birthday Violet, I hope your day was wonderful....xxoo!!

January 22, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkacy

:) I just love this post/ that video...So ya know what? (Chicken butt) I think I am going go work in L&D. Know why? ( Chicken thigh) Because " I think she just opened her little eyes" ...and what the heck ( chicken neck)...aren't these little babies the cutest little people you ever did see i the whole world?!

January 23, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergina

:) I just love this post/ that video...So ya know what? (Chicken butt) I think I am going go work in L&D. Know why? ( Chicken thigh) Because " I think she just opened her little eyes" ...and what the heck ( chicken neck)...aren't these little babies the cutest little people you ever did see i the whole world?! IN THE WHOLE WORLD! ( old people a close second)

January 23, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergina

Happy belated birthday to your lovely little Violet! that video has just added to my excitement for the arrival of my little girl.

January 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDanni

Aww, we share a birthday! I turned 40. Hope she had as much fun on her day as I had on mine!

January 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

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