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  • Kristen Kehoe

This is You, Livvy Love.

Olivia Anne, today you are eight. Eight. You're a second grader who loves Harry Potter, dancing, fancy dresses, vaulting from your bean bag to the couch, bikinis, and make-believe. You love nature and animals, though bugs terrify you and we have yet to reconcile your desire to be outside with your terror at seeing a fly...or an ant...or just anything that buzzes past you, making your jump and squeak. On the other hand, you love Dr. Oakley and have zero issues watching an animal be castrated...I think that makes you unique.

You wore a Kate Spade dress for your Harry Potter quarantine birthday, and then told me you were "Hermione but fancy." I believe it, though I think you're more emotional than highly logical. That's okay--you're also kind and fun and stubborn.

With every birthday, I find myself in a paradox: I'm so proud to watch you grow, and so happy to be at each new stage with you, but I'm also realizing that time goes so quickly, and I'm forgetting things I promised I wouldn't, things like how you called Diego "Dego," and pronounced vanilla "ballilla," or put your baby dolls in time-out after you got out of your own time-out. Or cried for your binky and Gigi whenever you were sad/tired/hurt/angry. "Binky-Gigi, binky-Gigi," over and over again. This has made me realize that what I want is to write reminders of what we have together, right now, so we can look back on them later and laugh over them, like we laugh over the videos of you as an almost-one-year-old barrel-rolling around in order to get places, because you were so unmotivated to crawl or walk:)

So, on your eighth birthday, here are the memories I hope we look back on when you turn eighteen:

  • You just learned to do a flip on the trampoline, and you just started to actually like your bike. Every time you and daddy go for a bike-ride, you come home and announce, "we went all the way around the neighborhood, and I didn't even whine once." You're nothing if not reflective.

  • You could listen to Harry Potter on audible all day. Seriously. We've done it.

  • You love music, all kinds, and you and daddy have begun dancing to his favorite 80s tunes.

  • You love dancing and "The Greatest Showman", and, I suspect, Zac Ephron (<-- so does Mamma).

  • Your favorite desert is anything chocolate, and if I let you, you would eat bread and chocolate and nothing else for every meal.

  • You make me take videos of a fake tv show you are creating, "Livin' in Nature," where you pretend to talk about nature but actually make up magical mysteries about rocks and superpowers and faeries. I love that it's your practical being overtaken by your fantastical.

The last thing I want us to remember as you go into your 8th year is that when we were put into quarantine for the Corona virus, you said, "I'm okay with this--we get to spend more time together as a family." While there are times both you and I are absolutely not okay with having only each other and daddy to talk to, most days when we play UNO or Cribbage, or lose spectacularly at Mario Delux (Damn Lemmy and his lava), we laugh and laugh and laugh. So, I hope we always laugh, even when we both have to take a timeout from each other and have a good cry<3

I love you with all my heart, Liv. Thanks for making this family into a triangle--it is the strongest shape, afterall. Happy birthday, beautiful girl.

xoxo Mama

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