How sweet it is
When I found out I was pregnant 9 years ago, Richard and I were very sure we wanted a son as our firstborn. We were so sure that already, instantly, we had a name for Baby Boy. We had a nickname, too, that did not necessarily sound very much like the name.
But what do you know, God had better plans for us (as usual).
And chose to give us a daughter instead.
A scrawny, tiny, pinkish-red little someone we took home swathed in a yellow blanket and a matching yellow bonnet, who cooed a lot and cried even more, and who had a thousand little faces to make each day.I remember spending my first few days as a mother just staring at her and holding her forever and ever.
This is how she looked then.
This is how she looks now.
How time flies.
In between, she has been, and still is, everything we imagined a little girl to be ---- a happy mix of sugar and spice and everything sometimes naughty but always nice. All that. Plus more.God threw in a big bonus before He bundled her up to send to us.
Juliana is crazy funny, and I always say that if she were a dessert she would be Roshan's famous Chocolate Cupcake Surprise, delightful through and through but with a delicious, surprise filling inside. Translated into her 9 year-old body and mind, that 'surprise' would be her send-you-laughing-out-loud-and-wanting-more-and-more sense of humor, an innate gift that just gets better and better each day. It is quite unexpected for someone so shy. And sweet.
She is so much of that, too. Juliana is tenderly and wonderfully sweet. She hugs and kisses and says 'I love you' in regular abundance. She always leaves little presents along my, and her Daddy's, way. In her pureness and innocence, everything is and can be a gift. How wonderful is that?
She has this endearing habit of getting some of my favorite things: my favorite book, tubes of lip gloss from my kikay kit, a bar of soap, a lovely blouse hanging in my closet, a hair accessory. She will wrap each one the way she knows how, presenting me with a bundle lopsided and paunchy here and there, something that resembles a happy, beribboned dumpling. I already own these things but when she wraps them for me, it still feels like a real gift, and a new one at that.
About 3 years ago she chanced upon eye-shadow I had just bought, sitting on my desk, yet to be used. She wrapped it and gave it to me.
She had just started school when once, right before her Daddy was due back home from a trip, she got the already empty plastic milk bottle she was drinking from, proceeded to the garden to pick whatever wild flowers she could find (I do not exactly have a green thumb and thus cannot boast of roses and orchids and daisies growing here and there) and tucked them into the impromptu vase. Then she placed the whole thing solemnly on her Daddy's desk. I wish I took a picture of that then, her very own 'welcome back' present for him, because if I did I could share it with you now. But I didn't. So it is just a memory from the heart that I share with you through words. That is all I have of that moment.
When she could walk and talk, she followed me like a little shadow, curiously asking about the why's and how's of the world she was discovering. Whenever I shopped for shoes online she would also be there, peering behind my shoulder and helping me choose styles and colors (she was maybe just 4 or 5 years old then and already had good taste and a fine eye for detail). I would always drool over the Loboutins, but in the same breath lament about how outrageously expensive they always were, and how it felt like such an indulgence and a sin to buy even just one pair. I have never been one to shop impulsively (that is my Dad's training right there!), and would always sleep on my choices until I was absolutely sure I needed and/or wanted them. Having no concept yet of cost and spending, she probably could not understand how I could like something so much but not go right ahead and buy it, and make it mine. It should be that simple, her eyes seemed to say.
'Too expensive' i would always say.
'Too expensive?' she would repeat, as a question.
'Too much' I would add.
'Too much?' she would again echo.
Weeks later I came home to find this on my desk.
She said it was her gift to me, so that I could buy all the Loboutins I wanted, 'Loobooteen' she called them then. To this day, many years after she first presented it to me, I still keep that little pink coin-filled purse, that rests in a heart-shaped craft box she embellished in an art workshop one summer, in the second drawer of my desk. Each time my eyes drift to that little pocket of space, I feel like the richest mommy on earth, with or without all the Loboutins my feet would be very happy to meet.
Things got even better when she learned to draw and write. A flurry of little notes would constantly drift my way, finding their way to my pockets and purses, pillows and shelves, my desk.
Here are some of them. I have lots more but these are the ones that have been stuck on the edge of a shelf, right above my desk for many years now.
This particular doodle, my husband has always loved. He says it reminds him of H.R. Ocampo's work. Juliana was barely 3 when she drew, and colored, this on a Post-It.
This one ..................
Rolls open to this .....................
Yes, Juliana:) You rock!
Even her handwritten reminders are sweet, all doodled up, and always with at least one heart somewhere.....
she has a thing for hair conditioner:)
I feel the love in the work of her little hands, as they spring forth from her big, sweet heart. It is fascinating....the magic a child can create for adults.
Before I became a mommy, did I even know for sure that a child can have so much power over the way a day begins, and ends?
When the New Year rolled in I told myself I would make more of an effort to document all her wonderful little presents and sweet little notes, not so much for myself but for her, so that she will remember when she is all grown up just how delightful she already and always was, even when she was little, and all mine.
This came wrapped in Kleenex early in January. She made me close my eyes, and placed it on my palm, one night right before we were about to go to bed.
I turned it over and saw that she had stuck a little heart made of orange foam on top.
See, with her, there always is a little something extra. A gift is never just what it is.
She also so loves leaving notes written on handmade cards for me to find on my desk after a long day's work. I look forward to finding them, as they come, in many unexpected ways and days.
For this one she used pretty wrapping paper we salvaged from gifts we received over the holidays. This made a tired January night feel like Christmas still.
A gentle reminder for me to help her with her project, propped up on a little flower thingy no less