Ada, I write this letter to you for your one year birthday.
I feel no sadness over the passing of your year of infancy. I feel no longing for our quiet midnights, alone together with a bottle of milk. I feel no loss over the all-too-quick growth of my baby daughter from infant to person. In place of loss I feel TRIUMPH! As if you could hear a band of angels singing for your birthday. This is what happens when you raise a child. You came leaping out of your mother’s belly and into your father’s arms. Actually the doctor caught you, and just in time. But I cut your umbilical cord and we wrapped you up and took care of you and gave you all the right milk and foods and love and look what you’ve become! You are dazzling. Nini calls you Sparkles. You are a wonder.
We have a special relationship. I can catch your eye in a crowded room and make you smile, every time. We sometimes play this silly game that involves blinking both eyes for slightly longer than normal, back and forth. You make a kissing sound on command and love to bite your blankets or stuffed animals in kind of an affectionate chomp. You sometimes talk in clicks, sing songs, swing your arms in pantomime, and you love to dance. You took your first steps at your own birthday party, and now we go for “daddy walks” and I hold your little hand in mine.
You stand and sit, crawl, and grab. You push buttons and say words. We have long conversations that mostly consist of words like OUT (Let me out), HUTCH (I think this means hello), UNTZ (I wants it!), BYE BYE (also means hello and is accompanied by cute waving), OUCH (pretty obvious), and AY-DO (this seems to be some kind of happy singing).
You can climb up the stairs, but not down. You love to pull down all the kitchen towels. You are fascinated by the rolling racks on the dishwasher. You are also fond of the remote control, books with flaps, and dirt. I am really enjoying the one-year-old Ada. It is a great pleasure to be your DAT! (Daddy).
Birds sing! It is spring. Perhaps for you this will be a time of year for reflection, regrouping, and reconnoitering the path of your life as you begin another circle around the sun. You are blooming, my dear, like a little flower in front of us. This is the kind of wonder that makes us catch our breath, hold it in, and marvel.
Jude was a wonder, but not that kind of wonder. Now he is more of a weather system. Hurricane Judey. His one year celebration was more about OUR celebration. We reveled in the fact that we had become actual parents, competent parents that could love and care for a child. We were so confident that now there are two of you, both healthy and happy. Your mother and I made that decision to bring you into our family long before we knew that you would be you. And we’ve never looked back.
And now your birthday has come and gone, and the party was lovely. And suddenly you are one.
You were a charming baby, the whole year long. In the wake of Jude’s weather systems you are patient and kind. You are curious and forgiving. You love to be held, but are happy to be on your own. We work hard to keep you safe from the toddler antics, but it isn’t always easy. Jude swings swords and hangers. He throws things, chases you, tackles you, tickles you. This is the strangest part – you seem to love each other and are happiest in the same room together.
It is only in watching the two of you, even at this young age, that I understand the secret purpose of having two children. You will have each other now, for your whole lives. Your mother and I will do our best to give you everything you need to grow up wholesome and healthy and supported and challenged. But you and your brother will always share something that we can’t provide. You will need each other, you will always know each other best, and you will be bound together with the secret language of siblings.
Happy Birthday! I can tell you truly that is a joy to have you as part of our family. You receive a 1/4th share in all of Cornett stock are you are henceforth expected to be present for all board meetings.