It’s a strange thing when your baby turns nine. (It’s probably a strange thing when your baby turns 19 or 39. But let’s just take this one year at a time.)
Happy Birthday, Vivienne.
My sweet Vivienne is a life embracer. She skips through life. She sings through life. She hums and dances and giggles and runs and leaps.
Vivienne is life.
Nobody loves her birthday more than this child. She literally wakes up with the BIGGEST smile on her face and it remains throughout the day.
It’s just one of the things that I love about her.
Sweet Vivi Cake, my wee-vee,
Oh, how I love you. Because of you, there is energy in our family.
You bring joy and silliness and… flare…
This year was a big one for you. We fostered some dogs and we got to see more of what we’ve known for years: you’re a natural nurturer. You take great care in caring for others, Vivienne: furry little friends, Baby Shirley, your cousin, all babies, your friends at school, even little roly polys that you find outside… you must, always re-hoeme any insect you see.
In your eighth year you went to camp for two weeks (and didn’t write us one letter because you were busy.) I smile as I type that… when you do something, you’re ALL IN. You also started visiting the orthodontist like your older sister and I and now you the proud wear-er of both an upper and lower expander set. So far, we’ve only lost ONE expander, too! And you FINALLY graduated from / outgrew your 4T jeans that you’ve been wearing since forever. I never thought that would happen.
When I think about who you are, Vivienne. I smile. You are a firecracker, full of life. You always make us laugh. But… you are also thoughtful and kind, recharged by time spent alone with your imagination. You’re a magnetic little soul with an engineer’s inquisitiveness and a grandma’s heart. You always need to understand how things work, find solutions, explain to others, take care of others. You’re a good carrot.
You sing and talk all of the time, Vivi. I think you process information by repeating it. Dull (and quiet) moments are far between with you.
You love school and your friends. You love homework club and athletismo. Your favorite color is turquoise and your wardrobe consists of varying shades of black, navy blue and charcoal. You ONLY wear tennis shoes and mayyyybe a flip-flops. (You wear tennis shoes to the beach.) You loathe brushing your teeth and tomatoes, but you adore cereal and steak. Your love to read Diary of a Wimpy Kid books and your favorite movie is Home Alone. (You and your Daddy love that one.) Legos, Calico Critters and your babies, Shirly, Callie and now Leo Antonio, are your faves.
You also adore your fanny pack and decided that dance was less for you and more for your sister… and that’s ok. (Perhaps it was the makeup job that put you over the edge.)
Lila continues to be the person that you look up to the most. You adore her, seek her approval and blessing, and you two bicker… a lot. If she’s gone for the day at a friend’s house, you miss her tremendously and breathe a sigh of relief when she returns. You’re even happier when she hugs you. She laughs at your jokes and encourages you along. You look to her for stability and help her in any way you can. I love watching your relationship grow. I can see that the inside jokes and memories have rooted and are growing into something that we kind of hoped and prayed for.
I think the best part of your year, though… was Tiana / Luna.
She arrived as a foster, only to be with us for a short while. Immediately you two had a bond. She followed you everywhere. And, you loved it.
She needed a home and someone to love her, and our home was just supposed to be a respite for her to get healthy before she was adopted.
So, you did your job. You loved her…
…and then we said goodbye.
But, as it turns out, Tiana missed you. She left for her new home on a Monday. But while there, she didn’t eat. Or play. Or do anything. Her new owners thought she was sick…, but really, she was just heartbroken.
She missed you.
So, she came home… forever… on Thursday. She came back to you because, Vivi, that’s how life works.
You and that little white rescue dog were meant to be together. It’s unlike anything your Daddy and I have ever seen.
You named her Luna and you told me, “See? I told you I was responsible enough for a dog.”
And you are. We’ve been blown away by much Luna is your dog. You do everything for her, aside from buying her food. You two even shower together. “I wash my head, then I wash hers. I wash my body, then I wash hers…”
The dog you prayed for, you got.
Vivienne, the sweet and kind and loving little girl we prayed for? We got her, too.
We love you to the moon and back, sweet Vivienne. We hope your ninth year is even better than your eighth.
We’re so happy you were born.