A little girl turns 6 on Saturday.

MY little girl.

She changed the game, that one.  She entered the world in a room filled with so very many people (hello, teaching hospital!) and so very many happy tears at the proclamation of “It’s a  girl!”

I didn’t trust the shouts and asked Jac to double check.  He beamed and nodded and struggled to force an affirmative through his smile.

A daughter.  A daughter!

Her fuzzy black hair and big, dark eyes were amazing.  She was my papoose with her cocoa skin and red lips. I was envious and enthralled all at once.

Pink poured into the house. I would cuddle and swaddle and cover with kisses this most precious of gifts.  I had toddlers – BOY toddlers – who drove me to the edge of my sanity every day and in those moments I found solace in my little girl’s presence. “Tess, I love you so! I could never be mad at you!”


Tess is a study in contrasts. Drama Queen and go-with-the-flow, soft-hearted and hard as steel, fearless and sparkly princess all in one. And she always – ALWAYS – lives life to the full.  If one is enough, two must be better.  Ice cream and whipped cream should come with a cherry.  And sprinkles.

This is what I love about Tess.  It’s all about the sprinkles.  A headband over braids, lipstick and nail polish, purses on each wrist.  If her brothers climb a tree, she has to go just a little higher and no opportunity should be lost. Everything is better with more. That’s the sprinkles.


I shouldn’t have been surprised when, the evening of Philip’s first communion, arriving home from dessert out, she noticed the neighbors sprinklers on.

“Please, Mama, can we please run through the ‘sprinkles’?”

I agreed it was a good plan though I never would have considered it as it was in front of the neighbors house and it was their water (though it was showering the sidewalk). But that’s Tess.  She notices chances and then takes them.  She thinks of things and acts. It pushes me out of my comfort zone and sometimes, a lot of times, it hurts. And other times? Other times it’s welcomed and inspiring and breathtaking. No matter how it comes, it’s always good in the end.

That night was no different.  She asked for her siblings to join her and they balked, weirded out by the falling water.  Her joy was contagious though, and as she ran, panting and laughing through the “sprinkles,” they couldn’t help but be drawn into the fun. After a half hour she was dripping and shivery but still beaming and giddy like she had soaked in joy. She laughed and giggled and raved about the “sprinkles” and how wonderful it was.

“Can we do this every night, Mama? Please?”

That one.  She’s so good at pointing out the joy in life.  She’s the sprinkles in my ice cream. I’m so glad she’s mine.

This week will be all Tess, all the time in celebration of her big day.  Ohhh man, is she ever excited!