Marni is my middle child, my 2nd born, my 3-year old, the little reiteration of my soul. I knew how bound we were almost from the time she was born. She had an affinity for daddy almost from the beginning as she looked to me, constantly, rose in her crib when I got ready for work, scuttled across the floor to greet me when I got home. In her infancy, she saw things I could not.
Asking me who my favorite kid is like asking me what my favorite song is - it's unanswerable because it is such an absurd question. Zeke was good as gold all day while the girls were fighting, fighting, fighting and then Zeke takes a favorite houseplant and turns it into a mound of mud on the carpet... there is no playing "favorites" on this journey. There is only a heart a-glow with three little burning fires, sometimes one outshines the others but only for a moment and then only because it is another's turn to shine. That's just how it works out, just like music.
Ten years ago I couldn't imagine that I could split this kind of total, unconditional love three ways but now I can't comprehend how I could have been so miserly with my love. Before I became a father, friends of mine talked about how parenthood "transforms" a person. I thought, yeah, you have tons more to do and zilch for social life. There was no possible way I could have known what they really meant, just how profound that change would be. Learning to love without limits is just one of the many gifts brought to me by my kids.
Although Marni resembles me in temperament, personality, love of music, so many things, she is not my "favorite", she is just the most like me. She is also very willful and brave (two qualities I do NOT possess) and that can be frightening. Today she ran out into the street and I flipped out, running out to grab her (and proving a poor example for the other two by not looking both ways) and then scolding her with no undue frustration. She cried, not because she had been yelled at, but because she was not getting to do what she wanted to do.
I fear she's going to be the kid who runs into traffic, blindly. Just like I was. I hope she also has my blind luck.
She has my creativity, for certain. She has a talent for making something from nothing and letting that entertain her for hours. In The Dulcimer Shop, she is immediately drawn to the strings, plucking, strumming, making music - she has a natural rhythm. I've wanted to get her into Dance Camp. She is tiny, nimble, a sprite. But Lilly's not getting Acting Camp and Zeke's not getting... well, Zeke's too young for camp and prefers sticking close to daddy... no Dance Camp for Marni but swimming for everybody in the fall. The creativity of compromise.
Interestingly enough, Marni was born on the day I was due to turn 40 (I was a preemie by almost a month). I'm an Aquarian, she's a Pisces. I don't know what that means but plenty of other people say they do and I'll leave those people their assessments. There's coincidence and there's spooky coincidence but I'm a skeptic and call it all Just Coincidence. Spooky thing on the genes, though.
Anyway, since she was about to turn three she's said, "I'm Blue." "Blue" the cartoon dog, she loves that show. Has a "Blue" stuffed animal, "Blue" pajamas. "Blue" is a girl puppy and she sets up puzzles for her friends to solve, so I don't mind that she's "Blue". She can have her Blue Period, like Picasso or Miles Davis, I don't object.
I took the kids for a short stroll through downtown tonight, all 700 Yards of it. A hot summer night, tourists looking for a way to stay cool, bikers filling the frosted mug of The Royal. A friend of mine, Joe, about to be a dad himself, saw me on the street, came over to shake my hand, meet the kids.
"I'm Marni," Marni said.
A small part of my heart broke at that moment. A precipitant sigh of loss, her Blue Period over. As I am cursed and blessed with an almost photographic memory, I can recall all of these moments, in all of my kids, the snaps of development where I see their lives pass before my eyes, arriving back in that point of their becoming, emerging, Marni, not "Blue".
If she's anything like Lilly, she'll be "Blue" for a couple more months and then the fascination will fade. Only to be replaced by another obsession and more of it, but a fascination of more complexity, more depth, more things in it. Marni already tells stories, plots, themes, intents; listening to her integrate more of her world into those stories is astounding to hear. I know she's already gotten a lot of mileage from being Blue and she figures out Blue's puzzles pretty easily.
Then again, Marni is a fighter, persistent, maybe she'll be Blue into Middle School. It wouldn't surprise me; like me, she's also eccentric. However, I'm betting she'll soon find something else to become, more Marni, less whatever it is she fancies herself to be.
Tonight just saw her blaze a little brighter on the street, her flame high in my heart.
OK, your first clue is, she was a baby. Got your handy-dandy notebooks? Your second clue is, she was "Blue". Now, we just need one more clue and we'll have figured out "Blue's Clues".
So, here's the third clue: Daddy is elated.