Dear Liza Bean,
I find this letter really hard to write
[ september ]
Not because I can’t think of anything good or sweet to say or because it’s been oh, 18 months since my last letter to you, or anything like that. It’s just that it’s very hard to sum you up in words. You’re not easily described, unless just using the term “beany” works. You aren’t sweet, charming, personable, emotional, strong willed, spirited, loving, snugly; you’re all of those things (usually at once) mixed with an enormous dose of just Eliza Jane to blend it all together.
[ october ]
Secretly, I just think it’s the hair.
[ november ]
And while I know “hair” may be a weird way to describe you and our relationship, it’s really the best way to do it. As your hair has grown this year, so has your personality. It’s crazy, wild, out of control, pretty much untameable, and a lot like you. It’s surprisingly soft though, not course and kinky, remarkably free of tangles and irresistibly pet-able. Seriously, we often find ourselves petting you much like the dogs. This doesn’t make Nanuq very happy. The fact that you willingly share about half of each of your meals with him though goes a long way in improving the way he feels about you.
[ december ]
I also don’t want to spend this letter comparing and contrasting you to your sister because you are your own person. And being the littler sister, I’m sure you’ll one day say it’s not fair to always be held side by side with her. It’s kind of impossible not to do that though because so much of your life has been shaped by her. She’s big; you’re little; and that’s that. I’ll just say it this way instead, my daily prayer is that I’ve given you a life long gift. I have a very special relationship with Marion and an incredibly special relationship with you but I can never, no matter how much I try, have the relationship that the two of you have together. At least
half most of the time, the two of you bring such joy to my heart to see you together. She really is probably your favorite person in the world. I won’t every forget the feeling I got the first time you told me you saw Marion on the playground at Mother’s Day Out. You were so stinking excited about it and just so proud that there was your big sister. Of course, the flip side of that was the fit your teachers told me all about when you had to go back to your classroom and she got to stay outside.
[ january ]
You might be the silliest child I know. You’re always trying to make us laugh and we end up laughing at you a lot even when that’s not your intention. You have this way of tilting your head and saying “pwease” that makes you impossible to resist. You also seem to hit major goofball status when your daddy is involved. The two of you just make each other laugh until you don’t even know what was funny in the first place.
[ february ]
Thankfully, finally, you love your daddy! I mean, you always at least tolerated him, but for the longest time, it was mama or nothing. Now though, the two of you have really started to develop your own connection and it’s been such a joy for me to watch. You demand kisses before he leaves and when he gets home, he has to say prayers with you at night, and when you wake up at 4:30 in the morning, it’s his side of bed you crawl in.
[ march ]
And understanding mothers everywhere said, “Amen.”
[ april ]
You and I definitely still have our own relationship, of course. It’s undergone a lot of changes this year. From, I’ll do anything to make mama happy to, let me see just exactly how many of mama’s buttons I can push at once and if she really means “no” enough for her to get up here and come over and do something about it. I’m still your favorite person to request and “uppy up” from and you’ll never risk making me really, really, really upset since you know I’m the one that makes all the good blankets for you to snuggle with.
[ may ]
So, things you like: you like carbs in just about any form. You’d eat peanut butter & jelly for every meal if you could. Few things make you happier than waffles for breakfast. You like stealing your sister’s Legos. You’re pretty princess obsessed and show a strong preference for Snow White, which you pronounce as “no night.” You like to count, although the accuracy could use a little work. You like to color okay but you’d rather play with sidewalk chalk. You’d live in the swimming pool if we would let you. You also (and it makes me so proud to say this) love football and already know all the teams to pull for. You love Nanuq and call him “Nunni.” Your pink blanket is your most prized possession. You love dresses, especially wearing your running shoes with them. You love having your hair put in pigtails but don’t always leave it like that. You still mostly love sleeping. You love eating cereal and have perfected drinking all the milk from your bowl without spilling any. You love bandaids but call them “batmans.” You love books a lot too with some favorite ones being the story of baby moses in the basket and Jesus calming the stormy seas. You really love “Madeline,” both the books and the cartoons and would probably like living with Ms Clavel quite a bit. But I imagine you’d get kicked of a boarding school fairly quickly. And probably what you like most in the world is saying “LaLa do it!”
[ june ]
You don’t like vegetables, except for frozen peas. You don’t like wearing pants or socks. You don’t like wearing bows, no matter how much I try to make you like them. You don’t like being told what to do. You don’t like going poop on the potty. You don’t like it when Marion gets the pink ballerina cup instead of you. You don’t really like meat, except for ground hamburger in spaghetti sauce. You don’t like Dinosaur Train. You don’t like Daddy getting you out of the car if I’m around. You don’t like being dropped off at MDO even though they assure me that once I leave, you’re okay. You don’t like Gracie. You don’t like the dark; you say it’s “mookie” instead of “spooky.” You don’t always like sharing the bathtub at night with Marion and you really hate when it’s not your turn with the Elmo towel.
[ july ]
If you had your way, you’d have breakfast as soon as you woke up. You get very irate when I tell you the kitchen isn’t open at 5:15 a.m. If you had your way, there would be more shows with silly talking animals. Nothing makes you laugh like the Aflac duck or the Geico gecko. “Dat’s so silly” you proclaim every time they’re on and make me rewind them. In a perfect Bean world, you’d wear nothing but dresses, applying even to having nightgowns over pajamas. And if you were forced to wear pajamas, they’d all have castles and princesses on them. In a perfect world, you could survive on nothing but squeeze pouches of mushed up fruits and veggies with the occasional granola bar thrown in for something different. If you had your way, the bottle of Tabasco sauce wouldn’t make you cry when you licked it. In your world, you’d always get the pink cup, pink plate and pink fork. You’d live at the swimming pool and never have to wear pants. You’d also figure out a way to take blankie to the pool with you without it causing you to drown.
[ august ]
And while it may not be a perfect Bean world out there, you certainly have perfected our world by being in it.
[ september ]
I love you so much Eliza Jane, you truly are the child of my joy.