To Tali on her 11th birthday…

Dphoto(73)ear Tali,

When you were born and I realized I had a daughter, I was ecstatic, but also worried. I already had a boy who I knew could do anything he set out to do in this world, but I knew that being a girl came with special challenges. (Don’t get me wrong… Boys also have their own special challenges, but if you haven’t already seen that, I’m sure you’ll figure that one out as you go.)

From the beginning, you were amazing. Born almost two weeks late, you came into this world strong and with your eyes wide open, ready to take on life. We fussed over your little rosebud lips and chubby arms, but your wail was like nothing we’d ever heard.

But still, I worried about how strong you had to be to deal with this world. You were born into a world still reeling from 9/11, checking mail for anthrax and thinking about the then new war. And those were just national issues.

When I was seven, my teacher, Ms. Nelson, brought a tiny bird’s nest into the classroom, and inside was the most delicate, light blue speckled egg. I was enthralled by it and made up excuses to go to the bathroom, just so that I could walk by and peek at the egg in its nest. Ms. Nelson told us we couldn’t touch it, but after school one day she let me hold it. Carefully, she said. But almost immediately, I crushed it and the yolk was dripping through my fingers. I was not only mortified, but distraught. I’d destroyed something I’d completely treasured.

When you were smaller, I wanted to be sure that I kept you protected, handled carefully, the way I’d felt years ago that I should’ve kept that egg.  But as you grew into the fabulous girl that you are, I’ve realized that unlike that egg, you are meant to live and Tali, you live with everything you’ve got.

Everyday I learn from you, my girl. You’re fearless when you play soccer with everything you have and I love to watch how you play goalie with your entire body. You are strong in the way that you maneuver through girl politics, but also so incredibly loyal and kind to your friends. You overflow with love for friends and family, and also for anyone who needs extra care. You spend lunches and recesses with the special education kids at your school, you help them through assemblies and you do it because you understand that you’re learning something from them as much as you’re helping. You are wise and kind way beyond your years.

Tali, we all feel so blessed to have you in our lives. And I have to say that I feel especially blessed. Everyday you teach me how to live with everything I’ve got, and always with a lot of silliness. You are just fabulous. Happy Birthday, Ta. Your day is absolutely a celebration for everyone who loves you.

Love always,

Your ma.

Comments

  1. Safta Sheila says:

    Dearest Tali,
    Everything your Mom said is so true; you are an amazing girl. You are sweet, sensitive, and kind, and you are strong, smart, and brave. We are very proud of your courage and your determination. You get good grades and you take care of your friends…..and your Sabim. We both love you to pieces and wish you every happiness.

    Your adoring fans, Safta and Saba

  2. Safta Sheila says:

    Dearest Tali,
    Everything your Mom said is so true; you are an amazing girl. You are sweet, sensitive, and kind, and you are strong, smart, and brave. We are very proud of your courage and your determination. You get good grades and you take care of your friends…..and your Sabim. You are also very beautiful.
    We are both so happy that we moved up here to watch you, your sister, brother, and cousins grow up. We wish you every happiness.
    Lots of love, Safta and Saba

  3. Karen chetrit says:

    Really nice, Amy. Wish I was close enough to know your Tali. she seems very special.

  4. This is an amazing note to your special girl!!

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