Dear Little D:
You are turning 3 this weekend. How did that happen? I remember when you were born and we barely made in to the hospital in time. My main memory is in the parking garage of the hospital, biting your father's shoulder through his green padded vest because the pain was so bad. You shot out, literally with on time for no epidural or even an IV, soaking Dr. M's brand new Nikes because there was no time for shoe covers. I actually called Grandma and when she asked "Did you get a room sweetie?" I was like "It's done. She's here." You came into this world at lightning speed and you haven't stopped since.
I was so happy to have a daughter, especially one as charming as you. You were a great sleeper and then you weren't. You had a smile that took over your whole perfect face. You were constantly stroking my hand, really anyone's hand, and you loved to snuggle. You crawled at 6 months and walked at nearly ten and I forgave you for all that and the fact that you can scale counters, dressers and closets like a little spider with suction cups for hands.
I dreamed of all the things were would do together. You would love to dress up like a princess and we'd play Barbie and I'd get to put bows in your hair. If only I had discussed my expectations with you before deciding on this, I would be much less surprised right now. You, even at age three, insist on wearing your Mets shirt and old mesh shorts belonging to your brother. You ask to wear this ensemble every day. You fight me every time I suggest your wear a dress. You gave away your Barbies because, as you say, "she stinks" and you refuse to let me put bows in your hair. I can't believe it. Your one concession to anything in your hair is headbands like that terrible glow-in-the-dark one that Aunt Vicky got you from Justice.
You are not the girl I thought I'd be getting when I learned I was having a girl. When people say you are beautiful you frown and say "No!" as if it's an insult. I've stopped calling things pretty and started calling them "awesome" because there's a higher chance you might like them. You love things that are "cool" and "rock and roll". You took the play ironing board I got you, ripped off the legs and took it into the shower with you so you could surf, like Daddy.
No, Little D...you are not what I expected in a daughter and yet you are so much more. You are as tough as you are compassionate. When it thunders you worry "Will Big A get home from school safely? Is Daddy inside at work?" You notice everything. You can already do the monkey bars and learned to pump your own swing when you turned 2. You are definitely cool, cooler than I could ever be since I love to wear dresses (the more ruffles the better) and I collect teapots. I've never seen a more fiercely loyal sister to your big brother and you are always talking about "our family" and how much it means to you. You have only 4 friends you really like and you speak constantly about your love for them. You're not a sweet little girl who plays with baby dolls and loves adorable dresses but you are a force to be reckoned with and it will serve you well one day.
I'm sorry I tried for so long to put a bow in your hair against your will. It really doesn't matter if you wear a bow or not, I see that now. I'm sorry for the times I tried to convince you that the pale pink smocked pinafore was "rock and roll" when we both know it isn't. I'm sorry for all the times I tried to get you to watch Dora even though you kept insisting "This is terrible." You were right, it is. I'm sorry for how excited I am that purple is your favorite color. It's the only truly traditionally "girly" thing about you.
But -- thank you so much for being so different than a typical girly girl. Thanks for being here to remind me to accept and support people as they are, not as I'd like them (or society expects them) to be. I'm working hard to encourage you to be you, like in Little Miss Sunshine when Toni Colette encouraged everyone to "Let Olive be Olive." I want you to know that while it was jarring at first to discover I have a tomboy for a daughter I accept you fully.
So Happy Birthday to you, my dynamo of a girl. I got you the Etch-a-Sketch and the new Mets shirt you asked for and not the Strawberry Shortcake collection I so desperately wanted to buy you. Or the Elsa doll, in which you have no interest. Or My Little Ponies. Seriously, it's cool.
Thanks for being the living embodiment of everything that matters. Thanks for making me realize how anti-feminist I was being by expecting you to like all the toys geared towards girls. You should play with and wear whatever you please.
And if your first three years are any indication you're on your way to being a strong, determined, loving happy person and a hell of an athlete. And I love you, just as you are. Now let's clink our tea cups together and cheers to that! Oh, you're running away to inspect your worm collection.