Monday, November 19, 2012

Walk with Me, Suzy Lee

Dear Scarlett,
In August, Dad and I went to the Outsidelands festival in Golden Gate Park. It was a three-day concert, with tons of different bands, and it was, in true summer San Francisco fashion, cold. But we went every single day, leaving you with Nonnie, Pops, Shishie, Uncle Rob, Uncle Mike, and the very new Baby Jack. My legs were starting to get weaker (and they're never very good when it's cold), so Dad helped me walk from stage to stage. Some of them felt like they were miles apart, but we saw every act we had planned to see. Amadou and Mariam were one of my favorites, along with Sigur Ros, Of Monsters and Men, and Beck. On the main stage on Sunday, we saw Jack White sing We're Going To Be Friends, and right there, in the middle of that freezing park stuffed with all of those other people, I started to cry. The song just made me think of you, starting school that month and growing up.

I'm not one of those people who wishes that babies didn't grow. Nonnie says that sometimes to you and Baby Jack, that you should please slow down and stop growing so fast. And I know she only means it in the best of ways, she just loves you so much the way you are now. But I love to see you grow, love to see the new things you can suddenly do, and the changing patterns of your words and skills. I am terribly excited to have a real conversation with Jack that doesn't involve me reading to him from the nearest magazine while he tries to nurse on my shoulder (although I love that, too.)

I think what made me cry was the feeling that you are going to start having experiences that I can't fully control, that I'm not even present for. That you will make new friends and that this will be wonderful, but will also leave you vulnerable in a way that makes me kind of uncomfortable. I never want to see you hurt or sad, even though I know it's ridiculous to imagine that you won't be, or that you can't handle it. I once read that parenting is not for the faint of heart, that if you don't want to see your children upset, you are in the wrong business. And of course, meeting new people and becoming your own person is a good thing.

In the weeks leading up to you starting preschool, I was mostly just excited. And now that I see how much you love it, it's just another thing in our life that makes me happy. You are fine being away from me and Dad, completely confident and secure in the fact that I will always be there to come get you at the end of the day. In fact, that's exactly what you say: "Mommy always comes back." That's what I said to you the very first time I left you at Recess with a babysitter.

And to be honest, I think this was another reason that I cried. Because time is passing, and with it, certain things are becoming less certain. My illness is a part of our everyday lives, but I don't think you're hyper aware of it yet. I guess part of me does want to hold on tight to what we have now. But another, bigger part knows that we have so much more to look forward to. You're going to continue to amaze me with your feistiness and your new abilities. And I promise you that I will do everything I can to show you what it means to be strong.

Last week, we were in the kitchen making breakfast. You were cracking eggs, I was trying to figure out what to do with a pan full of bacon grease, and I heard you start to sing. "Books and pens...Suzy the tree. I can tell that we are gonna be friends." I asked how you knew that song, and you said Daddy taught it to you. I looked over at you, and to my surprise, I just started laughing.