Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dear Alice:

This past week, Alice, we went on a vacation to Washington, D.C. You will remember it kindly as the "trip where Mama threatened to sell me to gypsies."

Alice, I love you, more than words can ever express. You are amazing in the way you can light up a room, in the glorious effervescence of your face and actions. You are bubbly and bright and you have the most amazing smile.

But, girlfriend, you are, in the words of my grandmother, SOMETHING ELSE.

During our one week trip, you did the following: 1) terrorized a tiny Chinese restaurant until the management plied you with extra chop sticks and some cookies, 2) tried to escape a Metro car, 3) yelled "GOD LO-OVES YOU" (which you learned at bible school a few weeks back) over and over again to every person walking between the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument with us like some crazed Jehovah's Witness with a methamphetamine problem, 4) picked up about 40 sticks in a park and then laid them at the feet of the poor guy who was supposed to be leading us on a Lincoln Assassination walking tour, 5) other things too numerous to even begin to count.

Part of this is our fault, I suppose, in that we didn't really consider the fact that you would be nearly two years old when planning this trip. Our bad. Another part of this is that your behavior has gone to 11 this past month or so, the trip being no exception. So while we could have seen this coming, I guess, I don't think there was any way to really know how, erm, far-reaching your personality development would be. At this point in your short life, it is hard to guage what you will be from minute to minute--for instance, you were fine at other restaurants we visited during our trip. Perhaps you just didn't like the decor of that poor Chinese establishment.

And as much as your behavior exasperates me at times, I have to say that I love it. You are spirited in a way that is refreshing and fun, in a way that is much different from your older siblings. Sure, you're a bit loud at times. Yeah, you like to run. But you are also sweet and kind, and whenever I say something to you about it, you go, "Saw-wee, Mama!" and I can tell that you genuinely are. I want to see you have that spirit forever, that wild-eyed lust for life. I posted a picture of you on Facebook with that gleam in your eye, and a friend commented that she wished she could bottle your happiness. I agree wholeheartedly, wishing that I could bottle it for when you turn 12 and have some kind of boy issues or a friend who is not so much a friend any more. I sincerely hope that I can always look into your eyes and see that burgeoning mischief.

You and I are alike in a lot ways--same kind of rebellious spirit, same general joviality. In a way, I almost look to you, wishing I still had a bit of that wildness, that devil may care attitude. I think of that, of a tattoo that I've wanted to get since college, and think that because of you, I might just do it.

So, Alice, no matter how many sighes I heave, no matter how many cross words leave my tongue, I never really want you to change. Sure, I don't want to have to apologize for the 10th time to the poor little woman with the cookies and chopsticks, and I'd rather not have to whisk you away to the bathroom for a break when we're in a museum and you discover how to make yourself snort. I do expect a modicum of good behavior. But that wild spirit? I don't want it to be tamed, not now, not ever.


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