Last night I had you overnight at my house for the very first time. In fact, it was the first time I have been with you, while you weren’t sleeping, with neither of your parents nor your brother around. The last hours were about you. You won’t really remember this time. You are still in the getting to know me phase. At 16 months old you are still a process of discovery as you teach us who the little girl is that we call Ana. I can only hope we will listen with our hearts and minds to what you tell us.
I want to write to you now while life hasn’t had much chance to start telling you who you need to be. I want to tell you about the little girl who stayed with me. Maybe someday, if when you are older you have doubts about your worth, you will find hope in seeing some of the qualities inherently you.
You are smart in an intuitive way. Though you have not been to my apartment since you were too small to leave your car seat except to be held, you made deductions about my home. Having seen the main living area and my bedroom, at the word “bath” you headed straight to the one unopened door. I didn’t have to guide you, you had the sense to make that guess.
At this place in your life, you look at things from your own perspective not caring about mundane things like size and fit. You love dressing up. This granny will never be able to have enough hats for you. Coats, hats, gloves all made their way onto your tiny frame. Boots half as tall as you graced your feet. Doll clothes, however, came with a limit. The shoe for a 10 inch doll couldn’t quite stretch around your toes. The pretty dress was too small even to wear as a hat. You are easy to please though. A polo shirt of granny’s filled that need to stretch beyond the size of your clothes.
You demonstrated a love of music, enjoying toys with sound but also gravitating to my pianos, guitars and recorders. You didn’t just want to hear it though, you wanted to make it. When I sat in my chair playing the guitar, you would leave your toys to come and hold out your hands. You wanted to play.
When asked to sit on the couch to hold the guitar, you complied and reached up eagerly. You tried doing what you saw my hands doing but the sound wasn’t what you were trying to make. You would stop and go back to play only to come and ask for my guitar the next time I sat to play.
The last time I played, you didn’t ask for the guitar. Instead you held up your hands to me commanding, “Up!” You wanted to sit on my lap while I played. No. You wanted to play. You pointed to the notes on the page I had been reading and tried to hold the guitar that was taller than you. That chair and those shapes on the page held an answer that changed the sound of the music coming from the guitar. At 16 months old, you could tell the difference.
When I looked for my recorders and could only find an alto which is three quarters your size, you didn’t let that stop you. You listened to the sound I made on it then eagerly took it in your hands holding it the way you saw granny hold it. You blew with your hands over the air hole and stopped. The sound wasn’t right. You moved your hands down a bit and seemed so pleased with the “Toot, toot” produced that you played it across the room, first to look out the window and then to sit in that chair and turn the pages of that book that helped granny make the guitar music you liked.
You played with cars and dolls and trains with equal interest. Your hands and mind understood the symbolism in them, hugging the animals and dolls and pushing around the cars with the proper sound effects. If something had sounds you turned it, pressing buttons and pulling levers to see what all it could do. Always, though, you watched then copied things you saw me do.
Ana, in this world out here you will need all the intuitiveness that is growing in you. I hope you hold on to that desire to do things for yourself while being able to watch and learn. I hope you never lose the ability to hear the difference in the music of life and will take the time to listen and watch for the tools you will need to make the music you hear.
All my love,