It was on the trip to Currarong that I saw you, contrasted against your friend, and the lines and colors of your person-hood were so clear that I laughed. You, always in a dress, always deep in make-believe, always looking for beauty, and finding it.
You might not remember, but I think I always will, the day we collected shells on the beach.
From one end of the beach to the other - from cliff to jetty there were millions and billions of tiny shells. The whole beach was shells. When our happy party broke from the bush line, out of the trees, and onto the beach, in expectant search of a shipwreck, you plopped down and focused on all those minuscule delights. We tried to persuade you to come see the shipwreck, to explore, to continue, but you were too deep into the world of sea shells. You learned the word "iridescent" and have used it appropriately and passionately ever since. You filled up a large bucket, one by one, and were later beside yourself with grief when they were upset into the dirt path and you wailed "It will be so hard to wash all of them!"
You are so fierce, and I have it recorded in numerous pictures - you yelling straight into the camera with all the savagery and braveness of a ruler. While I protect you, I do not fear for you in the world, or your place in it. I have seen you, often enough, wade into a crowd of boys and girls heads taller than you, to make a place for yourself.
Like at Small Sun's Grandparents' Day concert, where I couldn't find you anywhere, and realized you must be up front, singing with your brother, despite the fact that you are not a student at the preschool and do not know the songs. A tiny shimmer of golden hair next to your brother's shoulder confirmed my suspicions.
And you are also kind. Really, very, wonderfully kind in a way that makes my heart sing.
Sometimes your brother asks you for things he shouldn't. Sometimes I want to draw a line for you to say "you don't need to give him that," but I see how big your heart is to offer him what is yours, with no consideration at all. I see how you respond to him when he is hurting, how you offer a hug and a pat and kind words. You are only small, but you are a very big person.
At the end of the day, while I was filling the washer with laundry, you were wandering around the garden saying "I miss my friends. I wish they could all be here forever!" And, on the way home from eating Mexican food for dinner, your voice rang out from the backseat "can I go to school tomorrow? I want to go to school!"
You see, you're the first thing that stayed in my womb and grew and grew and grew until at four in the morning, after 28 hours of travel, you emerged smooth, and white, with the rosiest lips. In my mind's eye everything is dark except your white, white skin, and that pinkest mouth.
And now, you're such a big girl, as big as the three story dollhouse I painted and wallpapered and sewed for, only to position it at the end of your bed while you were sleeping so that you would wake up to it on your birthday morning. When you did, you hugged me and said "I dreamed two dreams last night. One was a dollhouse, and one was a horse and it kissed me!"
You are a dreamer, and you are perfect. You are four, and I love you.