To the girl who’s sun and rain…fire and ice, I’m praying deeply for you as this next year of your life blooms.
Those old Garth Brooks’ lyrics crack a smile fathoms deep in me when I think about you, my girl so fiercely determined to live life on her own terms. Our corn-silk hair, big blue-eyed baby, my exclamation point in the Byxbe sibling line up. Our babydoll, tutu toting everywhere we go toddler. Our worm-finding, bug holding, dirt digging explorer. Whereas your brother always has extra room at his table, you maintain exactly three open seats, and while you may keep your circle small, you are exceedingly loyal and bountifully loving to those you invite to pull up a chair. You’re not scared of the world but you do make sure to study it well and good before making a move.
Your sweet, loud, rowdy relationship with your brothers brings a lot of life into our home. You’re the only one Luke allows to call him Lukie and the only one who can convince both of those boys to play baby dolls with you. Your days consist of riding with me to drop Luke and Reed off at school (always a touch miffed that you can’t go to their school yet), playing with your friends in Ms. Hedda and Ms. Jenny’s class, eating lunch just us girls, still taking that midday nap, cuddling up with me on the couch (which is the place I know you’d pick to spend most of your day if you could), making up your own songs for every little thing, running up to Luke after school for a big squeezy, pick you up off your feet hug, running the dogs, swinging on the front porch, drawing “sumpin” for me or daddy, demanding the pink bowl, plate, spoon and cup at dinner, giggling through bedtime and then sneaking into my side of the bed at some point before dawn to snuggle.
When days and months and years have passed and turned you from three to four to ten to twenty, I think I’ll still be able to feel your tight squeezes and hear your giggly request to be tickled again, trying to both let you go and hold onto what has been one of the sweetest years yet with you.
Happy birthday, Elisabeth Ansley.