Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Go the F(moon)K To Sleep

So when I say I've been asked to review Go the F**k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach, and that I've perused said book, I do not mean to imply that I have been contacted by Mr. Mansbach or his agent or his publicist or his publisher or his anybody....or that I was mailed a book or am going to receive any under-the-table money for a better-than-stellar critique (I wish).  What I mean is....an actual real-life friend and fellow attachment parent / unschooler type person asked me to give my opinion (via my blog) on the book.  I had seen the book when it made the rounds on Facebook before Facebook took it off because of the fact that the cover has a big F, then a moon, and then the letter K on it.  That's right.  The moral majority at Facebook wasn't fooled by that moon! They are, however, apparently fooled by every status update of my teen "friends" none of whom bother with a moon, unless it is in one of their pornographic photos, that unlike breastfeeding pics, are also not considered offensive.  Anyway - when it was still circulating...I read the entire thing....even the pages with no moon.  And I laughed my A-moon off.

Apparently, some parents have taken offense at this book.  I think they totally get that it is an Adult Picture Book....they get that.  They're not under the impression they're supposed to read this book to their babies and toddlers.  But they're offended by its tone, which they take to be disrespectful to the rights/needs of a child and the relationship with its parents.  Now you know how I am folks....I'm the last person to tell you how to feel...I find it incredibly difficult to exert my will (see how hardcore attachment / unconditional aka Alfie Kohn I am?) over someone else....or to invalidate or trivialize your feelings of indignation....I can rarely even give a direct order of any kind.  Ask my kids....I will merely suggest TO DEATH but I will not TELL YOU TO DO SOMETHING.  I just won't stop suggesting until either your head explodes or you follow my suggestion, whichever comes first.  Ellie recently said to me, "God, just tell me to come home..." during a phone conversation about how late the hour was and her not being home and all. And I said, "You know I can't do that."  Because I can't, alright?  I'm a Sick Person.  I want the Rest Of The World to come to the general conclusion that I am Right About Everything under their own accord. No matter how long it takes me to get them to come to that conclusion.

So where was I? Oh yes.  The book and its critics and their delicate dispositions.  I never tell people what to think or feel - but really, if you're one of the people upset over this book....LIGHTEN UP.

The book has page after page of beautiful artwork found in all truly classic picture books, illustrated by Ricardo Cortes. I like Ricardo Cortes immensely, even though I don't know him.  I'm basing my opinion of him based on his Amazon biography, which has a photo of him looking like a young Carlos Santana, and factoids about how he has also illustrated books about marijuana, electricity, the Jamaican Bobsled Team, and Chinese Food.  What's not to like?  About ANY of those things? 

Accompanying Mr. Cortes's beautiful illustrations is the poetic prose of Mr. Mansbach.  I want to say I like Mr. Mansbach in the same way I like Mr. Cortes, but the truth of the matter is that I looked at his biography and he is the successful author of some wonderful-sounding novels and that pretty much just turns me into a jealous green-eyed monster so sorry....like to love him but, no. He's smug. I know this because I would be smug if I were in his shoes.

I did, however, order up a couple of his novels (The End of the Jews and Angry Black White Boy) on Amazon.  Even though he didn't ask me to. Or send me a free book for a critique so that you, my 20 or so peeps (and I know that most of you are here by accident - directed here by the wicked sense of humor of the Google Gods) can go all Oprah-Bookclub-Crazy and overwhelm Amazon. 

Mr. Mansbach's prose begins innocently enough....sounding like any other lovely childrens' picture book about bedtime...Runaway Bunny comes to mind, as does Raffi's Baby Beluga, the song turned board book.  Only each page ends in some version of the phrase....Go the fuck to sleep.

The tone becomes a tad more desperate with each page, with the author falling into the pits of despair and questioning his ability to successfully parent this child who is supposed to just go to sleep after all - with a quiet song and story and hug and kiss.....like all the kids do in all of the other picture books about bedtime.  And all this author wants to do (as it turns out) is join his (now sleeping) wife/partner on the couch in the den to watch a freaking movie like normal folks after the kids go to sleep only his kid won't go to sleep. 

My opinion?  This is the best book ever written.  This is the most honest, hilarious, heart-warming, and inspiring book about nighttime parenting.  I know you're wondering how I can use the phrase Night-Time Parenting, thereby bringing up the God-Like Dr. Sears, in the same breath with a guy who just pleads like crazy for his kid to go the fuck to sleep...but in all seriousness, where night-time parenting is concerned....the one thing missing from the general nasty business is humor.  There is darned little of it in respect to this particular aspect of parenting....those horrible, frustrating, and exhaustive sleepless nights...wondering why your kid, who obviously hasn't read any of Dr. Sears books, won't just go the F**K to sleep.  Because you used to have a life, right?  You used to watch TV, read, catch a show....and now all you can do is be chained to this kid's bed/crib while your popcorn gets cold.  And then you resent the kid just a little, and then you hate yourself just a little, because after all - this must be all your fault because clearly, everyone else's kid is freaking SOUND ASLEEP. 

AP People - here's my disclaimer.  YES - the baby/toddler would be better off sleeping with Mom and Dad and nursing all night like a soft little kitten blah blah blah....and mine did that yada yada yada....but dang it - I still wanted out of that bed!  The dishes needed washing....I needed to pee....and I had something like 8 unopened movies from Netflix.  I would disconnect my nipple from the sleeping angel's mouth and begin my escape only to have said sleeping angel turn into a burrowing, snorting, enraged piglet hysterically searching for the breast.  And I'd reattach the piglet to my breast...feeling the call of a million other things....and think, "God....why won't you just go the f**k to sleep?"

This book reminds parents that they're not alone.  Because nobody feels more alone than a parent trying to get a baby to sleep.  Nobody.  This book is a humorous lifeline to the rest of the night-time parenting community; to the parents who very well might look as if they have their shit together on their daytime blogs, books, and tv shows....who arrive looking rested for playdates and such....but who won't mention under the bright, blazing sun that the night before had found them curled up in a ball on the floor or awkwardly crammed into a jr. bed or hanging on for dear life at the very edge of a king-sized bed for fear that moving the baby over one inch would be taken as a General Announcement of an All Night Play Fest.....who might have whispered their own personal version of When Will This Ever End and Why Won't You Go the F**k to Sleep all night long.  If the pages of this book make one red-eyed parent smile instead of resenting his wakeful child....or at least smile while recognizing he's not the only one currently resenting his wakeful child, then it has its place in the world of night-time parenting literature.  Even with the F-Bomb.  Actually?  Because of the F-Bomb.  Because sometimes it just feels good to drop it, and the middle of the night with a kid who won't go to sleep is definitely one of those times. Even if it's under your breath or in your head or within the pages of a fabulous new book.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Everybody Just Calm The Hell Down

That was a cheap shot...the title of the post, that is.  I just did it to get your attention.  'Cause I have become a negligent blogger - as in neglecting my blog - and probably some of y'all don't even remember me.  So I used an Alarmist! Strategy!

But seriously. There are several things that were causing excitement around here that I could tie into my bogus title.

A. The Snake Has Been Found.
     A few weeks ago Jasper informed me that he had seen a large snake (looked like a rattler to him) slither beneath my leather sofa.  I can tell when Jasper's fibbing (I've had practice at making this discernment) and he didn't appear to be fibbing.  So I told him and his sister to guard the couch while I went and woke up the boys.  The boys are generally hard to wake up if it is before noon - but the promise of pulling a rattlesnake from beneath the sofa was a good carrot to dangle beneath their noses and they very shortly made their way to the sofa in question and pulled it away from the wall.  No snake. Jasper swore it hadn't come out on his watch.  So they flipped the couch over.  No snake. Possibilities were discussed.  Maybe the snake slithered away while Jasper and Camille shared a simultaneous group-blink.  Maybe Jasper was fibbing.  Maybe the snake had CRAWLED UP INTO THE COUCH.  The boys went back to bed (thanks for nothing) and Jasper worked at sustained indignation when it was suggested that he had maybe mistaken a shoelace, sock, or pair of Spiderman briefs for a snake. 

We forgot about the snake - I had dispensed with the notion that it was a rattlesnake - as rattlesnakes tend to hold their ground and say "Come and get me you stupid dumbass....I can KILL you with my tiny little teeth....that's right MoFo...just bring it...I'm not going anywhere but right here..." rather than slink off to hide in sofas.  Also?  They rattle.  I did, however, avoid sitting on the sofa, preferring to offer it to guests.  'Cause I have what we call Southern Hospitality. Anyway, a couple of days ago the situation was resolved as the snake in question (turned out to be a bull snake) was found curled up beneath the bench in our hallway by the back door.  Jasper was vindicated....I TOLD YOU SO....the snake was escorted outside....and the You Know I Seem To Recall Seeing Something Out Of The Corner Of My Eye stories began. Jeff says he heard something slither away when he picked up a pile of dirty clothes to put in the washer and I was like Holy Cow No Way....you picked up a pile of clothes to put in the washer??  I'm pretty sure the thing slithered along the wall in my little meditation nook while I sat in a chair writing....everyone else is pretty sure they almost stepped on it in the middle of the night.

Now you might wonder how a snake managed to find itself in my house.  This is not the first time we've had a snake loose in the house...but it is the first time my sons were not directly involved.  Snakes do like to curl up by our back doors (I always say stepping out the back door is more dangerous than walking barefoot in the tall grass around here) and I guess one could have slithered in on somebody's heels.  And occasionally, our doors remain open for indeterminate periods of time.  I'm not going to name names or out any fellow bloggers / homeschoolers....but let me just say that there is a specific mom who shall remain annonymous and whose identity I shall take great pains to protect who has 9 stinkin' kids, all of whom suffer from an unfortunate genetic infliction that apparently renders them incapable of shutting doors.  Just somethin' I've noticed in passing, is all. Not that there's anything wrong with that.  Unless you live in Texas and have a general dislike of cohabitating with snakes. (The family with the unfortunate genetic predisposition is a transplant family - dang Yankees every last one of them except for the littlest 3 - so I'm cutting them some slack. After all, they called the police when they found a snake in their garage. And I'm pretty sure the police are still talking about it.)

Let's see....what else to calm down about?

B. The World Did Not End
     Ellie and I were in Wyoming the day the world was supposed to end.  She was in a practice room at the University of Wyoming and I was napping comfortably in a hotel room.  I woke up to see that it was 5:00 Wyoming Time...which meant it was 6:00 Texas Time...so I called my husband to see if the End of The World had begun at home.  "What's shakin'?" I asked.

"We found the snake!" he said.  See Above.

And that was that.  Not even an earthquake.

Ellie and I were in Laramie, Wyoming for the Snowy Range Piano Competition and let me just say that people in this particular town are freakishly nice.  And speaking of freakish - it was snowing - and it had been something like 96 degrees when El and I had left Texas....so we did indeed assume the freakish snow was a preclude to the end of the world.  We had some discussion about whether the predicted End Times consisted of the Actual End All or just The Rapture.  Or does The Rapture involve the Actual End?  We didn't know and we were highly curious, because if it were The End of The World - it might actually affect us, whereas if it were The Rapture, we intended to go about our business minus a few more or less irritating people.  Although, seeing as how dang nice the people in Laramie were, we might have found ourselves quite alone - but maybe Ellie would have placed 1st instead of 2nd in the piano competition.  Either way, it is my understanding that the Big Event has now been postponed until October 21. 

Laramie was a lovely town surrounded by mountains.  I bet they are prone to the occasional snow-in and resulting isolation.  They are, Ellie pointed out, highly susceptible to a zombie attack....or at the very least....a Shining Type of Mishap where someone goes stark, raving insane with an axe during a snow storm.  That's why they were all freakishly polite - it wasn't so much that they were happy to see us as they were just hoping we wouldn't murder them in their sleep or bite them and pass on the zombie virus.  Throw in the possibility of the Apocolypse and you can see why those folks tiptoe around like they're walking on eggshells.  Delightful people - and the town also seemingly contained a higher than average number of extremely good looking Wyoming men.  Not that I noticed.

Ellie performed in the semi-final round and was chosen as one of the five finalists.  I heard she played very well....I wouldn't know.....I sat in the car.  The little stinker prefers I not listen to her during competitions.  Recitals and other performances are okay....but competitions are not.  "I just don't like walking out on the stage and seeing YOUR FACE, Mom."  Some moms might take offense at that - luckily I'm not one of them. 

The young man who placed first was delightful.  Originally from Korea, he now lives in Texas with his piano teacher.  He holds both a bachelor's degree and an Artist Certification in Piano Performance (an advanced degree).....and here's the kicker....he's ONLY SIXTEEN.  When I commented on how impressive this was, he shyly shrugged his shoulders, gave me a little-boy-look and said, "Well, I'm Asian."  Ellie wants to be Asian but like Mick says, you can't always get what you want.  You can, however, freakishly play the piano and pretend to be Asian....even if your mom insists on behaving in a very un-Asian manner by banging on the practice room door and saying, "Hurry up! Justin Timberlake is hosting SNL and I want to get back to the hotel!"

The finals were held in the recital hall / auditorium at the university, audience attended of course, and I was asked to stay below in the dungeon where the practice rooms were.  I did sneak up at one point because I didn't want to miss the awards announcement - but when I heard, from the lobby, that Ellie was still playing, I obediently stuck my ear buds in and listened to Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik - which is what I like to listen to whenever I'm anxious.  I try not to bop my head or make facial expressions or move in general as it tends to mortify anybody within a hundred-mile radius who happens to share any of my DNA. But if I'm feeling extremely anxious, I might tap my foot.  Ellie says I have "anxiety."  I do not have "anxiety."  I simply like to imagine the worst case scenario and then repeatedly play it in my head until I find it necessary to listen to Blood Sugar Sex Magik.  Ellie did not pass out, vomit, fall, or begin a round of hysterical laughter at the piano.  Not that I thought she would.  Well, maybe I did a little...but that doesn't mean I have "anxiety."  She played (according to the strangers who watched her) beautifully.  One of the judges told me she was mesmerizing.  An elderly gentleman (good looking guy) told me she made him cry.  She won a sh*tload of money - and worked dang hard for it. It was a great trip and I enjoyed every minute of it....always grateful for any time I get to spend one on one with my little girl before she leaves me in the dust.

That's it for now.  You can just calm the hell down because I'm done blogging.  Hopefully, I will blog again soon.  I've been asked to blog about the soon to be released picture book called Go the F**k to Sleep.  I have perused said picture book and am anxious to share my Solicited Opinion.  It isn't very often that one gets to share an Actual Solicited Opinion, so I don't want to pass up the opportunity.  I've also still got to come up with something sappy about the two youngest kids - or the earlier post will be something else for them to hold against me. God knows we don't need to add anything to THAT list.

Signing off as a very calm, peaceful, and non-anxious Sardine Mama.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

It's The Way That You Love Me

I set out this morning to write about each child.  But I've stopped after three.  Exhausted.  Teary-eyed.  The last two - my babies - I'll write about later in the week.  Writing about the first three dang near took everything I had.


I'm afraid I tend to love you somewhat hysterically.  I can't help it.  You were my first. The occasion called for a certain amount of hysteria in the absence of any calmer emotions. It was a long labor full of bad advice and old-fashioned doctoring that did nothing to boost my mothering instincts or confidence. When you were finally born, you took one look at me and screamed.  I took it personally. And I'm pretty sure you meant it that way.

The adrenaline rush never wore off.  I'd read a million baby books but you apparently hadn't.  You didn't do anything according to how the million baby books said you should do it.  And you were terribly unhappy with the help, so to speak, which was basically your big old inadequate pile of mommy nerves. But God, how I loved you!  I loved you to the point of hysteria.  Hysteria over everything you did or didn't do.  And always questioning....questioning.....until I finally let you teach me.  

I love you from more of a distance than I'm comfortable with.  You like your space - physically and emotionally.  I'm not sure you realize I'm doing this loving business from afar....I'm pretty sure you think I'm doing it in your face.   

I never know what is coming up around the corner...just when I get used to one thing, the next thing pops up.  You were my first baby, my first toddler, my first big kid, my first teenager.....  How can I know what to do and how to do it?  I've never done it before.  Neither have you.  And there's that whole thing about you not getting any of the memos about the Way Things Are Usually Done. 

I'm walking blind, running wild, desperately floundering....that's how I love you. 

I've loved every You I've been presented with.  The precocious toddler, the surly little girl, the intense pre-teen, the driven teenager, the beautiful young woman.  You were always defined by your bulletin board - Bob Dylan pics and lyrics....poetry....pins and bumper stickers.  And by your music - you little B-Side snob.  Always finding something new - something edgy....then backing off when the masses caught on. And by your books: You're reading This is All again.  And you're reading Extremely Loud Incredibly Close again.  You're reminiscing, aren't you?

And always - the tattered and torn Pride and Prejudice.  You've been carrying it around like a security blanket.  You're excited. But I think you're a bit nervous.  I always know what you're reading....it's one of the ways that I love you.

I'd like to say it'll get calmer, more peaceful, less intense....somehow.  But it won't.  You're leaving. And I'm supposed to keep breathing anyway. 

Hysteria just below the surface. 

Someday you'll do something huge; like maybe get married or have a child. And I'll be hysterical about it.  Or maybe you'll do neither and I'll be hysterical about that.  Or you'll study abroad, or go on a world tour, or win a Grammy.  And I'll be hysterical.

Someday soon, you'll be playing the piano for people who are Not Me....songs I haven't heard....I won't have memorized every little facial expression you make at this point or that...every little mannerism of the wrist or shoulders....for the songs you're playing now - this is familiar territory for me. Watching you play - I know what to expect. Now.  But someday soon - I'll show up to hear you play something...unfamiliar....and I'll be like everybody else.  I'll be an Audience Member, watching you on the stage of your life...of your world....not paying attention to the rules...and I'll be unsure of what's coming next...not even knowing when the song is over.  Is it time to clap? I won't know.  But I'm your biggest fan.

This bittersweet time of anticipating the hugest change....this Going Off To College Era....it's making me love you with a fierceness I haven't felt since you were a newborn screaming in my arms and not wanting to be held.....and me squeezing more tightly because I simply didn't know what else to do....Only this time I can't squeeze more tightly.  This time I have to let go. It's counterintuitive. It's making me crazy.  And yet - I'm so thrilled. And excited. And happy.

That's the way I love you.  In a way that doesn't make sense. With a desperate, fierce, hysterical love. It's the way I'll always love you. And you love me quietly. Undemonstratively. Intelligently.  Respectfully. Patiently.  Slowing down every so often so I can catch up.  You say things, every now and then, that let me know you approve of how this has all played out.  You're content with the way you've been raised. The way you've been loved. 

And that's the way that you love me.


I love you with a carefree heart and a silly smile.  I've never been able to stop smiling around you.  You crack a joke - I laugh - you say I'm easy to impress.  But the truth is, nothing's been easy for us.  So we both deserve to laugh. Also? You're pretty funny.

You were an easy birth.  You were of normal weight, no jaundice, no complications.  No Screaming.  Grins, giggles, and chubby cheeks. Everything was By the Book with you.  And....I waited for the other shoe to drop.  Because I'm kind of wired that way.  But it all seemed fine....it really did! Until it was time to talk. And you wouldn't.  Until it was time to follow simple directions.  And you couldn't.  But you communicated with me very well....through sound effects and sign language and charades.  And I understood every word. Perfectly.

I sent you to school - because that's what we do here, after all.  We cross a line where the parents are no longer qualified to teach simple things like counting, letters, shapes, and colors. There's some sort of mystery to this educational process....we must send them away so someone more qualified in counting to ten can do it with a lot of kids all at once.  So I sent you.  With a sinking heart.  And your smiles became rarer, your grins went away, your happiness retreated to a place deep inside you.  You could not read or write.  You could not count to 100.  You didn't cooperate with the multi-level commands, demands, instructions and directions.  And I loved you sadly.  I loved you guiltily.  I loved you protectively.  And I yanked your ass out of that school. 

We never gave up, did we?  You are anything but lazy - the hardest little worker.  When I would begin to doubt that we'd ever get there, you'd close your book and say, "Maybe tomorrow. Right Mom?"  I'm not a patient person - it isn't in my stratosphere of virtues...but you taught me to love you patiently.  Waiting. Always waiting.  You taught me to enjoy the sights along the way....the hours spent reading aloud to you because you couldn't read for yourself - the most precious hours of my life.  Sometimes I'm sad that you won't let me do it anymore.  I've loved you through books...the adventures we've shared. 

I love you more selflessly than I've loved the others.  How could I not give a lot to someone who gives everything of himself?  I've loved you peacefully - for you are the peacemaker in our house.  You're the Calm Factor.  The Cooling Element. The Therapeutic Puppy.  You diffuse situations with a joke or a facial expression.  I love you with gratefulness.  I love you with a tenderness that almost breaks my heart.

I love you happily - and humorously - because the two of us?  Are funny people, even though not everybody thinks so.  We appreciate that about each other. I cherish the car rides, where you tell me nonstop jokes.  I love that you laugh at mine. I love it when you talk like Richard Nixon and call me a damn hippy. Or a stinkin' liberal. Because that's the way you love me.

I love it when you're laughing so hard at whatever it is you're saying that the rest of us can't understand you.

I love that you like me. 

You're getting your learner's permit soon - you'll be driving. And I'm nervous, but not hysterical.  Hysterical is reserved for Ellie. 

I love you with....reckless abandon. 

I've loved you through the school days and the playgrounds and the minefields of expectations....the ones you navigated with a grin. I'll always cheer you on. I'll never turn my back on you. I'll always believe in you at least as much as you believe in yourself - and that is a lot.  I promise to be the loudest one laughing in the room.  Because that's the way I love you.

And I love the way you love your brother. Always knowing the right thing to say or do....when I'm all out of ideas.


I love you...differently.  I love you desperately.  And I love you energetically....for loving you could never be a spectator sport or a passive activity.  Sometimes I worry that if I lower the intensity, you'll disappear.  Sometimes my love for you is draining, but often it is invigorating.

You were so tiny when you were born.  The nurse blamed me.  "Did you eat while you were pregnant?" she asked.  Of course I had! But maybe not enough.... And that was the first of many times I would feel responsible and guilty for things that are beyond my control where you're concerned. 

Of course, you WERE tiny (5 lbs 13 oz) but we now know it was normal for you.  You are hard and lean....nothing soft on you.  You look exactly like my Uncle Gene.  You are a double gift carrying my mother's smile.  You're the only one who looks like my family, even though, oddly enough, that means you look nothing like me - ha! Since I'm famously known for looking nothing like my family. 

You were the one who finally brought out my inner attachment mom.  How could I put you down, as small as you were?  How could I stop nursing you, as small as you were?  How could I let you sleep alone, when you were so tiny? I loved you protectively.  And I was always frightened.  Of what?  I couldn't say.  I just held you closer.

But eventually you wouldn't stand for it any longer.  And you assumed your role of middle child before the other two had even arrived. I was always searching for you....with this unshaken feeling that you'd slip between the cracks.  And you were always in my blind spot, beneath my radar, just outside of my peripheral vision.  "Where is Jules?" I would ask.  "Right here," you'd say quietly. 

But I never felt as if I'd found you. 

You often didn't respond when I talked to you.  You often pushed my buttons.  You seemed to have no boundaries. 

You couldn't hear. 

"Why didn't you bring him in sooner?" the doctor said.  "Maybe we could have saved his hearing in this ear."  The second time I accepted blame. 

I love you with a terrifying desperation.  With you, we looked over the brink - stared down into that unfathomable darkness of loss - and then stepped away from the edge.  "Come back in six months and we'll do another MRI.  For now, we'll just watch the brain tumor.

I didn't think I could live my life in six-month increments. Turns out I could.  And now I live it in yearly increments.  Pretending to look forward to our yearly trip to Los Angeles.

I love you with a strength I didn't know I had.  And with gratefulness I didn't know I could feel. You've taught me to take nothing for granted.  You've taught me that life is a gift. 

You love me differently, too.  We talk. About Things. 

Star Trek, turtles, snakes, the universe, Star Wars, the weather, marine life....always Things.  Mostly you talk and I listen.  And in between is silence.  I love you in silence.  It is comfortable with you in a way it isn't with others.  I feel your love for me in the silence; riding in the car on the way to the orthodontist....resting between topics....companionable silence. 

"How are you feeling today?" I'll ask.  "Do you know the relationship between Boba Fett and Darth Vador?" you'll reply. Sometimes your answers indicate anxiety or depression or extreme happiness.  Sometimes you just really want to talk about Boba Fett and Darth Vador.

"No," said the doctor. "His hearing impairment shouldn't interfere with his ability to socialize to that extent...you're dealing with something else."  We learned about The Spectrum. The third time I accepted guilt.

The way I love you is foreign to me.  I am a girl of strong emotions, of intense feelings....a demonstrative sort of girl.  And yet, I love you by bringing up topics like time travel.  By being interested....all the time....and by never passing up an opportunity to connect with you.  Because sometimes you reach out for me - and I have to be ready to grab you up.  Right then.  Because I'm always afraid you'll slip away. 

You bless me with hugs - you've figured out they make me happy.  And so you'll be halfway across the room, walking away....and then spin suddenly on your heel to come back and give me a punfunctory hug.  Because that's the way you love me.  With an endearing thoughtfulness....a premeditated show of affection....a calculated demonstration.  I've never been so intentionally loved, before.  I don't think many people are intentionally loved.  Love is something that "happens" to us.  But I'm not sure that is the case with you.  You are loving me because you want to.  You make a choice to love me.  You make a choice to show it in a way you hope I'll appreciate. Nobody's ever loved me like this. How could I ever have lived without you?

It's the way that you love me - Full-Intentioned. Whole-hearted. With everything you have. And I promise, I'll never let go.  I'll never be too tired or too old to hold on tightly.

My first three - you make me believe that anything is possible.  Every single day.  I love you all insanely.