Every now and then, Nirvana lyrics appear in your head at exactly the right time. Or maybe that’s just me? This story starts with lucky words. One nurse to another says, (after my first labor and delivery) “I wish they were all as smooth and lovely as that.” And honestly, I feel like those words set the stage for Scarlet’s life, even rewinding the reel to nine months before her birth.
Scarlet Bella was born on her due date, after a textbook 18-hour labor, in which I did the majority of it at home – and nearly all of it pain and drug-free. She wasn’t even supposed to exist when she did, except that of course she was supposed to exist when she did. That’s why she existed/exists! In a not-too-TMI story, we drove 3,000 miles to move from the West Coast to the East Coast, almost two years after I moved from the East Coast to the West Coast, and 15 years after Cassidy moved from the East Coast to the West Coast – with a 4-year stop in the Midwest.
EVERYONE, and their mother, and mother’s mother knows what happens when you are stuck on the New York side of Niagara Falls, in your somewhat drab Howard Johnson hotel, looking at the winking and blinking rainbow lights of the Canadian side of Niagara Falls and knowing you can’t get there. It’s like the Canadian side taunts you. You have to make your own winking and blinking and rainbow colors on a beautiful night without anything else to do. What do you do?
A girl. A baby girl. Scarlet Bella. With the luckiest name ever, reminiscent of my grandmother, an homage to my father’s first name, my favorite color, my favorite bird, a favorite Tori Amos album, one of Cassidy’s favorite Dead songs, one of our dearly departed loved ones, and so much more.
Not all of life will be lucky and smooth, but that’s all lucky and smooth too. It’s because it makes our children stronger and more resilient, and teaches them to grow their senses of self and worth from within themselves – instead of from a sometimes petty and always troubled world.
You’ve heard my San Francisco puppy story, about a friend who expects wonderful things to happen, like puppies running through open doors. Scarlet’s life is a lot like that. She has pretty much lived 800 lives in her short 10 years – and has another 8,000 lives to live. I worry sometimes that she won’t ever be surprised about anything anymore, because she has lots of love and travel in her life, and as a blogger’s kid, she gets boxes upon boxes of every toy you could dream about, want, or need. She’s also the daughter of two big dreamers who want big lives and big love, and don’t actually accept life without that. This is it, kid. This life. We go big.
Scarlet dreams her dreams into being, partly because she’s the daughter of big dreamers who want big lives, and mostly because of her own magic. We all make things happen, albeit slowly and fearfully and disconnectedly at times, but we make things happen for and with ourselves and each other. I don’t know what it’s like to be raised without traumatic interruption by two living, fun, in love parents who go way too big on Halloween and at ice cream parlors and with partially written business plans, but I think I can imagine it. I can see it reflected in her eyes.
And even with my own childhood trauma, I still saw the good life modeled for me. I’ve seen romance and world travel and rebellion and joy. It’s not always been/is easy, but maybe that’s part of the charm. Maybe that’s Scarlet’s not-so-gentle reminder that things are even more magical than originally believed, because we work so hard for it. And because she does/will too.
So this is Scarlet. She knows real life Disney princesses, has pen pals and friends all over this continent, and forms magical relationships with six grandparents, a dozen loving aunts and uncles, and about 6,000 cousins and local friends. She is full of magic, and I used to think she held it in her curls. Yet now that her hair has straightened, I know she holds it in her roots instead – and with every fiber of her being. And even in the pants she wears on her head.
She is my living and breathing proof of all of the theories I’ve held about myself, and others, that there is magic and there is strength and there is beauty, and wherever it comes from, we may never know, but we know at least one of the sources. We get it from ourselves. If you keep an open mind and an open heart, if your intentions are good, if you work hard, if you expect magical things to happen to you, and if you work to perpetuate that for other people, it’s true.
I have trouble knowing she will stumble upon mean girls and bad guys and bad grades and mean teachers, and the like, but I’m thankful for building her strong and true for the last ten years gone, with decades to come. She is light and strength and beauty and wit and
bossiness great future leader material (of course), and is exactly what I’m in envy and awe of in a person.
Happy 10th Birthday, Scarlet I’m the luckiest.
In fact, I am told that a lot
Now I know all the wrong turns the stumbles,
And falls brought me here
And where was I before the day
That I first saw your lovely face,
Now I see it every day
And I know
That I am, I am, I am, the luckiest” — Ben Folds