November 6th 2016
To my amazing son Wilder for his 3rd birthday:
We have made it another year and I can honestly say that things keep getting better every day. Parents will often be warned of the “terrible twos” and while this past year has not been without challenges, each one has been accompanied by grand accomplishments. It has been unbelievably inspiring and an honor to watch you grow not only physically but also emotionally and intellectually. Your willfulness and my reactions to it have been a learning experience. There is no doubt that you have inherited some of my best and some of my worst traits. You have been a mirror to me, which has allowed me to contemplate not only who I want you to be, but ultimately who I want to be as well.
When it comes to “milestones” you knocked it out of the park. At just over two years of age you were able to spell your name. You learned early how to manipulate your parents, which was demonstrated when you told your Poppa at 25 months “Mommie gives me candy.” I was at work and was shocked to read the text message asking if that was true, since I am probably the only parent who doesn’t give you candy. You have shown a penchant for memorization and became borderline obsessed with states and their capitals. Before you made two and a half years of age, you knew all of them. You would take me by the hand and say, “Let’s do capitals.” I think Clint was instrumental in helping you develop a love for geography, since he has one as well. He helped you learn many of the countries and their capitals as well. When asked you will say, “I like South American countries.” Although I’m not exactly sure why.
You traveled a lot again this year. Mostly with your Daddy who is lovingly dedicated to showing you as much of the world as possible. You went to Texas, New York, Florida, Mississippi and Oregon. Each trip was punctuated by events where you became the star – visiting backstage on Broadway with your Nanny, acting as the “flower girl” in a wedding and of course being the apple of your extended family’s eye. On the trip to Oregon your Daddy took you to Mount St. Helen because you had shown a lasting interest in volcanoes. When you returned I was so happy to see you and the first thing you told me was, “When the lava came down the mountain, not all the animals could get away and it made me sad.” I couldn’t beleive that was most forefront in your mind, but was so proud of your empathy.
Some of my favorite memories of the past year include the following: Your love for singing and dancing and how you would take my hand and say “Mommie dance.” Once you heard Daft Punk, we had many dance party nights. How right around 26 months old, you became fixated on flowers and if you saw any, you needed one for each hand. When you went through your brief “Mommie, mommie” phase and wanted me to do everything with you. (Side note- you have also gone through a Poppa, Daddy & Clint phase over the last year.) When you began to ask me “What’s hers name?” about anyone we would see or meet, thinking that I must know the name of everyone in the world. Also how you refused to be confined to normal gender pronouns and continue to refer to people not only as “her” and “him” but also “hers” which can represent either gender. How you often refer to yourself using ambiguous gender pronouns, although no one has taught you that. I have been challenged by your strong personality and your disdain for being told what to do, but it has been instrumental in making me address my own control issues and truly dedicate myself to being a good mother to you and what that means to me.
Your fathers have been so instrumental in your happiness and development. Poppa is the one who puts you to bed every night when you are at our house. Even when I am home, you still ask for him. He is the one who creates and maintains family traditions with you. He is so patient and is dedicated to making sure you get a lot of outdoor play time. Poppa is very popular at the park with all the other parents there (particularly the moms). Clint goes through periods of being your favorite, as you have told me as much. He is always so happy to see you, and takes you to play dates and film premiers. You and Clint have the same sleep schedule as you both like to stay up late and sleep in. As far as your Daddy goes, there is hands down no one in the world like him. He loves you endlessly, as does his entire family. He has given you a gift that none of us have been able to, which is the love of his family. He has made it a priority to take you to see the world and introduce you to all the people that he loves, so that they can marvel in your charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent.
This year has had its ups and downs. Poppa and I became engaged last February when I asked him to marry me. Clint pulled off another successful year with the Film Society. Daddy has been focusing on his art and costume design, procuring a few wonderful jobs in both theater and film. Poppa has continued to run a successful bar, and also hone his skill in stand up comedy. The streetcar finally arrived on St. Claude Ave, which will no doubt bring many changes to our business as well as the city. I started a new job at Ace Hotel and love it. You completed your first year of nursery school and didn’t really enjoy summer camp, so we pulled you out early. My health has dramatically improved and I completed my second half-marathon at the end of October. I reunited with my nephew Jonathan, who is one of the most important people in my life. You had to get tubes put in your ears, which not only improved your hearing greatly, but also prevented you from having reoccurring ear infections. The hardest thing that happened this year was the passing of your Mal Mal, Cornelia. She was an amazing woman who loved you like no other. So much of who your Daddy is and who you are is tied to Cornelia. She will be greatly missed by all of us, but she lives on through you. We will all be sure to keep her legacy alive by telling you about her adventures and taking you to her property in Texas.
You experienced a few challenges this year as well. You had to give up your beloved “binkle” and it was not easy. You also learned how to use the potty like an adult, many thanks to Daddy who took the initiative and had the patience/resolve to get you potty-trained. You had to learn what “no” means, although your new phrase is “Mommie, you don’t tell me ‘no,’ you only tell me ‘yes’.”
Thank you again for another year of being your “mommie.” There is no doubt in my mind that parenting is one of the most intense things that a person can choose to do, but it is also by far the most rewarding. You continue to inspire me to be a better person, to take risks, to find the love and joy that exists in every day, to be present in the moment, to believe in myself and to check my expectations. I couldn’t be the parent that I want to be without the amazing fathers that you have. Without them, our family wouldn’t exist. I am so excited to watch you grow and become your own person, hopefully guided by the love and support of all of us. I love you more than anything in the whole universe. More than books, more than stardust, more than flowers and art, and sunny days at the beach. And yes, I absolutely 100% love you more than cake.