Thursday, May 16, 2013

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl

Quinn had a fan-tabulous birthday party on Saturday at an historical carousel in our area, where I (and my siblings, mom, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends... basically everyone I know) used to go as a kid.  More to come on the party itself later - we're still gathering photos from the party, and still have celebrations to come :)

Despite the proclamation on the invites - "Your presence is Quinn's present" - our overly generous family and friends showered her with beautiful, thoughtful gifts.  The most incredible was a special project created by my best friend of 28 years (?!?!) - a book of beautiful letters from so many of our family and friends, to Quinn on her First Birthday.  It is something I will treasure forever.

And in its spirit, I wanted to write and share my letter to Quinn on this, her First Birthday.


Dear Quinn(y),

It's hard to write to you, right now, on your First Birthday.  My instinct is to bemoan all the things you'll miss, curse what ails you, and rage against the unfairness of it all.  But what you'll be cheated of is not for now.  Now is for what you have incredibly managed to do thus far.

The whole time you were in my belly, I knew you were a girl.  I'd deny it, even to myself, because admitting what I thought would be recognizing that I yearned for you.  For someone to share mani-pedis with, to dress in pretty dresses, to teach about boys and their silliness and girls and their strength, to spar with during your teenage years, to befriend in your adult years.  

And then you were given to me.  "You have a Female" was the announcement.  And my first action as your official mama was to apologize for ever thinking I didn't want a girl in the first place.

Recounting your medical concerns and everything you have managed to overcome in such a short time, in such a tiny body, seems bad form on such a celebratory day.  Instead, it's your spirit I'd rather capture.  The spirit of a 13-year old trapped in this teeny baby body.  You give the world's best diva looks, shortly before (or after) rocking the world's most amazing, engaging smiles - both of which equally melt my heart.

You have elevated me, and everyone else around you, to a new and better plane.  Your simple presence - and eminent wisdom behind those wide blue eyes - make us all better people.  I have been told stories upon stories of how you - you tiny little thing - have inspired people to become better parents, better spouses, better friends.  Better People.  How you and your strength are lending strength to a woman who has recently lost everything - her home, her husband.  You, Baby Girl, help her get out of bed in the morning.  And she hasn't even met you.

That may be one of my favorite things to do with you.  Introducing you to people who have heard of the famous Quinn Linzer, but who haven't previously met you.  How you manage to surprise - no, shock - them every time.  How they hear of this "poor, sick little baby" and expect to basically find a blob in cute human form.  And then there you are, with your grins, your bored looks, your playful demeanor, your old soul.  And they are astounded.  And I swear we both giggle a little bit on the inside, complete with a shared knowing look.  They should be astounded.  You're pretty freaking amazing.

A First Birthday letter should contain promises of what's to come, mention all the fun things expected in the next year.  Sweet baby, I can make no such promises.  This will, very likely, be the only birthday letter I get to write to you while you are here, sleeping right above me.

What I can promise is that we're going to continue treasuring you, every single minute - every single second - we get with you.  We're going to laugh with you and stand on our heads to make sure you laugh with us.  And we're going to love you - we're going to love the hell out of you, Little Girl.  Because you deserve nothing less, and so much more.

So like I end every night laying with you in your bed, I will close this letter.

I love you so so much.  Thank you for picking me to be your mommy.

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl!

I'll love you forever
I'll like you for always
As long as I'm living
My baby you'll be

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Tree Grows in Lynbrook

Two beautiful trees graced our backyard until last Fall.  The first was unfortunately diseased and Brett & co cut it down - thankfully prior to Sandy (it was pretty small but it would have done some damage to the house if it had come down in the winds).  We lost half of the other tree in the Nor'easter that followed just a week after Sandy.  What a fun time it was to live on the south shore of Long Island...

our sad little dirt patch

The little tree shaded our (little) deck, so we definitely wanted to replace it, and the idea of planting a tree as a family really appealed to us on a number of levels.  As with everything we seem to do lately, it took on a much more significant meaning than just a fun weekend activity.

So we began researching trees.  Asking those around us with the proverbial green thumb. Observing trees on our street, in the park, and on the parkway.

And the one thing that became clear was that we had some pretty specific requirements.  

In addition to being viable in zone 7 (apparently our zone - thank you Google for that information!), the tree needed to be:

Unique
Beautiful
And most importantly, flower in mid-May

See, it's the last request that had people puzzling at us.  The man at the nursery finally said, "uh is there a special reason you need it to bloom in May?"

One Quinn Madeleine Linzer was born on May 16, 2012.  And this tree that we were to plant as a family of five, that is to live in our backyard for many years to come, should come to life and bloom as beautifully as she did during the month of May.

So, YUP!  There is the most special of reasons for it to flower in mid-May.

reasons don't come more special than this!

And without knowing the circumstances, this man led us to the
perfect tree.  The Eastern Redbud.

It's fairly unique (most of the flowering trees in our area are some type of cherry blossom or dogwood).

It's really beautiful - the color (a pink that is almost purple - Quinn's color :) ), the shape, and the way the blossoms hang on the tree as though they're on a wire.

what they look like now
what they will look like eventually
It's well-timed - it is May 7th and the buds are getting a bit bigger and stronger, but it has not blossomed yet.  At this point we seem perfectly on target for a mid-May bloom.

And - this was the kicker - the leaves.  After the tree blooms, and the petals have all fallen to the ground, it was the leaves that truly assured us we had our tree.  Every leaf, per the man who knew nothing of why we wanted this tree, will be in the shape of a perfect heart.

<3
(photo credit: extension.iastate.edu)

We bought the tree and planted it, as a family, on Sunday.  Looking forward to many blooms - and leaves - over the coming years.

the Linzer men, prepping the site
showing off her teeth
smiling because she doesn't have to do the grunt work
Daddy finishing the job
view of the tree from inside the kitchen