When Kelsey was really small, my sister Cathy went to the UK for a few years.  She came back about halfway though for a visit; at that point, it was also about halfway through Kelsey’s whole life.  Understandably, the two year old didn’t know that aunt from adam.  So, when we all went to the airport to collect Cathy, Kels wasn’t sure how to deal with all the emotion surrounding this “aunt person” who showed up out of nowhere and made everybody cry. 

Later at Gram’s house there was a bit of a party.  The crying turned to talking and laughing.  Kelsey’s older sister seemed right at home with the aunt, but Kels wasn’t having any of it.  Then, the aunt brought out a big bag, out of which there stuck some curious and soft looking ears.  Aunt Cathy lifted out a beautiful tin lunchbox for Carly and Carly loved it.  Kelsey, recognised at that moment there was something special about those ears sticking out of the bag, and more so something about that aunt and all the stuff going on around her visit.  And so shyly she expressed it to the aunt:

“I ‘yike’ you.”

The aunt pretty much melted on receipt of that innocent expression of trust and all she could do was pull that bear out of the bag.  Kels and the bear (and the aunt) fell in love with each other instantly.

That bear, symbolic of the love that little girl came to understand that day, has stuck with her through all kinds of good and not so good adventures.  And Kelsey, in turn, reflects that love with steadfast genuineness and honesty.    

Happy birthday Kelsey. 

And many more and… well you know…

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she hasn’t changed a bit

9 December 2009

She started to talk when she was one and she never really stopped.  And now she’s one of my favourite people in the world to talk to.  She was a little older than that when she got famous in our family for asking for broccoli (“barkly”) for breakfast.  Later she turned herself into a vegetarian.  She loved music, listening to it actively from the time she sat in a baby chair.  Today music is still about her favourite thing and if she makes you a mixed CD you’re lucky because she’s insightful and knows what you’ll like before you hear it.   She was bright and cheerful and made being a new mom pretty wonderful.

Oh yeah – and she still smiles just like that.

 

Happy birthday Carly.  At 27, you’re as much of a joy as you ever were.

(and many more and shut the door on you know who)

january daughter

8 January 2009

Happy birthday Kelsey.  I hope turning 24 will start your best year ever.

Many of the brightest lights in my memory are lit upon you.  Like when you were two and my sister handed you Paddington Bear and you about shattered us all with your instant devotion (and everlasting) love for him.  Or when you were four and Mary Poppins was your hero and you could mimic the Jane and Michael characters and their accents with hilarious accuracy.  Or when you were six you used to wish me a safe journey every day after I walked you to school: “Don’t fall mom!”  And as long as I live I will never forget the sight of you and Halet dancing and singing down the street in spontaneous and utter joy in a rainstorm under a shared umbrella.  (I felt ever so guilty for making you come in because I was worried you’d get struck by lightning.)

Since you were small, others liked to be around you; no doubt because of your gentle nature, quiet confidence and self assurance.  When you were a kid, our house seemed to be the one in the neighbourhood where everyone came to play.  You were your own person from time you could walk, and I have always admired how you sustain a clear idea of the things you want, you set your sights on them, and you go after them.  Whether that be making your own bed the way you like it, at age one, getting a new job at 16, or taking over the family Christmas giving project at 23. 

You’re funny as hell, and a great impressionist.  You’re kind to the bottom of your soul, and yet displays of affection are not your thing.  I love you because you’re still that same person you were as that little girl – authentic and smart, beautiful inside and out.  I feel like you’re a gift that was given to us twice – both when you were born, and when you survived that wretched trauma at ten.  There isn’t a time that I look at you and don’t thank the stars.  You belong here, and we’re ever so grateful.  And I’m looking forward to the next 24 years of memories.

And many more and shut the door on ricky hubble.