When you whisper close in my ear nothing but nonsense words because that is what you think whispering is, exhaling through your rosebud lips, they brush my ear from between your cupped hands.
When you wear your sunglasses inside the house and tell me it's your magic eyes, you point out ghosts and kangaroos in smeared joker lipstick.
The way you purse your upper lip when you mean business and place your chubby fist on your hip not unlike your mother...
You make two perfect handprints in Hershey's chocolate syrup on the floor from jumping off the fourth step.
The dog obeys you better than anyone else in the house.
I try hard to remember that you came to me, you chose me. That somehow through the lilting grace of the universe I am able to share in you. Of course you do not realize how amazing you are. You are three and you are impossible and impertinent and take two and a half hours to go to sleep before you have exhausted every excuse and yourself. You are no longer measured in months and you sing with abandon in your car seat and announce your existence to total strangers. 'My name is Leevia. I have cherries, see?' she says, hands extended.
Having a daughter teaches you more about being, about becoming a woman in the most subtle ways. You see yourself in soft limbs and dancing without music and bangs chopped too short and singing in the dark after bedtime...
People mistake you for a girl for your shoulder length hair and your blue-rimmed glasses in our podunk town. You give them sideways looks and mumble that you're a boy, but I know that you chose these things yourself and that secretly you do not mind the attention.
You are bookish, reading by flashligh at night and lanky, shunning the basketball goal. Your piles of notebooks full of characters and comics and stories speak of your preference for pen and paper as gifts since before you were walking.
Your enthusiastic attempts to spread your love of the Beatles to your peers falls flat. They rarely get your jokes, but I do, and I can hardly scold you properly because of it.
You pronounce words you've only read all wrong, but in context, and it makes me blush with pride.
When you tromp around in full gear, fresh from the renaissance festival, you could not be more pleased with yourself.
I try hard to remember that I chose you. That somehow through the grinding biological laws of nature I am able to share in you. That neither youth nor inexperience nor naysayers kept me from it, and that I will never, ever regret that choice. That in one instant my life changed more completely than I could have ever anticipated and that it was beautiful and terrible all at once, the way all the most important people in one's life are in that moment when you know you will not be the same because of them. Of course you do not realize how amazing you are. You are eight and you hum constantly and annoy your teachers with your sarcasm and ease and charm them with your wit. You are now measured in grades and from one day to the next I do not know whether or not it is okay for me to see you naked any more.
Having a son teaches you more about being a woman to someone else in the most subtle ways. You see yourself extending your arms in comfort and giggling from their quips and being the one who holds dreams while they are busy.
Everything I am has this glint from them. Having children is the most taxing, consuming, rewarding, confusing, amazing experience. Sometimes you have to stop, and look up and realize...