Dear Lily June,
I admit it. Your milestones aren’t the only the ones I’ve been keeping track of. You see, though you’re only almost five months, as of today, I’ve been tracking milestones for five years in a whole other relationship. Namely, my marriage.
According to the CDC, as marriages “grow into early childhood, their world will begin to open up. They will become more independent… They will want to explore and ask about the things around them even more. Their interactions with family and those around them will help to shape their personality and their own ways of thinking and moving.”
During this stage, marriages “should be able to ride a tricycle, use safety scissors… help to dress and undress themselves…, recall part of a story, and sing a song.”
This year, our marriage will head off to kindergarten. It’ll be a bittersweet memory, kissing our marriage on the forehead with its arms tucked into backpack straps, but I know our marriage is going to learn so much. Think of how far it’s come!
And our marriage indeed recalls a story. A prodigy by any measuring stick, our marriage remembers the very day it was born, when our families came together on what should have been a cold October in Sidney, Ohio. On that unseasonably hot day (85 degrees! In October!), our marriage wasn’t nervous to enter Great Stone Castle where it would come to life. Instead, it was excited, with two (or should I say four?) very warm feet stepping together to enter into the adventure of a lifetime.
And our marriage learned the song it would sing to celebrate your dad’s and my love, what we called, before our marriage even began, “our song”:
Lily June, sweet child of our love, you are the best gift we could possibly receive to celebrate this, your dad’s and my fifth year together. Because of you, our marriage’s world has indeed opened up, like a tiger Lily blossoming amidst my once flung bouquet. Having you, now, to look after has helped our marriage mature, and it finds itself asking things all the time in order to learn more.
Our marriage was never jealous of you, nor should you be jealous of it. It only wants to look out for you, as it knows you’re younger and more vulnerable. Fear not, Lily. Our marriage has eaten paste and tripped over its own poorly tied shoes in order to get to the moments where it can tell you about difficulties, but also how to overcome them. Remember, our marriage can now cut a heart from construction paper using safety scissors ever so carefully.
In fact, today, our marriage will cut three hearts–one for each of us–out of the same construction paper page. It will, in albeit still shaky lettering, write our names on each one, but when it unfolds the hearts, there will be a surprise that, five years ago, neither your dad nor I could have imagined possible: All three of those hearts will be connected like paper dolls. Nothing, our marriage will tell us, can tear those hearts apart.
I hope our marriage, so wise beyond its years, is right. I hope our marriage hops onto its tricycle and pedals as hard as its little legs can carry it, into the brilliant sunset. And I hope we can look on proudly and point and say, Look at what our marriage can do, even if it has dressed itself in two differently colored socks and a bright orange tutu. What else could you expect, from these parents–who love each other still so deeply and desperately–who will always love that marriage no matter what, just as they will always love you.
P.S. “Ryan Moore,” I love you more than the minute I met you and knew and will continue to love you more every second you stand by me. Thank you for my life. Given the option today, I’d still totally marry the sh!t out of you.