Readers, You’ll have to indulge me on this one. Thanks in advance-


Dear Adelaide,

Since we last talked, you mastered the big slide, quadrupled your vocabulary, sprouted molars, and learned how to change your own diaper (mostly).  You, sweet thing, are a marvel.

It’s the last full week of summer for us, as I’m going back to school next Monday and Dad starts teaching the week after that. All of us will miss this summer—it was a wonderful one.

You went to Colorado to see Uncle Daniel off to Thailand. Spent a week on the beach in Florida with your cousins. You successfully completed two rounds of swimming lessons in Central Park, went camping four times, left the country once. You’ve been swimming in a lake, an ocean, a river, and yesterday afternoon, in the fountains at Columbus Circle. (Where complete strangers cheered you on as you laughed and ran in the opposite direction, forcing me to follow you in.) Also, last week, you were featured in an exhibit at the Moma.

We just got back from driving Nana and Papa to the airport. Within seconds of their arrival you were sitting on their laps, bringing them your toys, showing them your dance moves (the shimmy and the bobble head). Your grandparents are as good evidence as you’ve ever come across that the world does revolve around you. And you loved every second of it.

I think you’re young enough to still know that we tend to love people in direct proportion to how much they love us, and when Nana and Papa walked through the door you were head over heals and they were through the moon. (So much so that we all started speaking in clichés.) 

It was a fantastic weekend. Nana taught you how to say “apple.” Papa kept on talking about what a great sense of humor you have. “She really gets it,” he would say. You told the same joke over and over again (the one where you count to three with your lisp, throw the tennis balls up in the air, jump onto your bum, and then yell, “oooooohhhhhhhhhh”), and we laughed uproariously each time.

Just like everybody warned me you would, you’re growing up too fast. You started going to nursery about a month ago. Dad said he couldn’t wait until you were old enough to go, but then checked on you no less than fourteen times your first Sunday. He came and found me during the third hour of church and waved to get my attention from the doorway. “She’s O.K.” he mouthed.

Of course you were. You walked right in to nursery and starting fighting over the toys and saying “mine” like you’d been doing it all your life. Accounts say you watched the other kids intently and wanted to do everything just as they did it. You sat on the chair during singing time even though the teacher (one of your favorite adults in the world) offered you a spot on her lap. You picked up toys when they picked up toys. You did all of the actions to Popcorn Popping. And then, when we came to pick you up, you fell apart and started crying. Not that you didn’t want to leave—more that you didn’t know what to do with all of the emotions you felt when you saw us again. You see, you love us too. 


It’s a funny emotion parents have, this one part wanting to watch your child progress and one part never wanting them to change. My heart was caught in a stupor the other day when you finally learned how to jump. Every single morning, Dad and I sit on the couch with our breakfast and you come begging for a bite. Once satisfied, you run to the center of the room, turn a lopsided circle and then practice jumping—bending down and throwing your whole body upward but never actually leaving the ground. Once, twice, three times you try. You worked on it for weeks and a couple days ago, success! You caught air. I expected that I would cheer when you finally got it right, but the recognition that you’ll never again not know how to jump stopped me short.

That was hard enough for me—heaven only knows how I’ll handle the disappointment of your incisors growing in. I love your fat grin with those four gaping holes. And if you ever move past one of my favorite emotions of yours—the one where I do something to make you cry and you then come running to me for comfort—I’ll start pulling at my hair on the spot. Clutching at my heart and screaming that I can’t take it anymore.

It’s your love affair with your pacifier, your “pbiiii,” that keeps me sane. The second you get hurt, you scream for it. Sometimes you lie in your crib (the only place we’ll let you have it) and get all romantic with it.  You never cry when we put you down for a nap or the night. “At last,” you say, “some uninterrupted time.” When a pacifier will no longer fix ninety-eight percent of your problems, I’ll know you’ve grown up.

The habit is so strong that your front two teeth are bucking a just a touch. We realize that if we don’t wean you soon, it will mean thousands of dollars in orthodontics one day. Then again, it might also mean we found a simple way to curb your impending popularity.  (You tan well, you giggle easily, we’re afraid it’s inevitable. Just today I swore I’d given birth to an Olsen twin.) 


Of course you will get older. We spend all sorts of energy imagining what that will look like, and like everything in life we try to envision, once it actually happens the reality will fill the space the dream used to occupy and erase it entirely. I’m writing this in hopes that I’ll remember at least this much of what we’ve surmised about your future: we were always completely confident.

We pray daily that the things your future holds and the things we want for you align. We want you to love God. We want you to love yourself. And we want you to love a good man who loves you back.

Because if ever there was something to get our feet off the ground…

All my love,