Dear Margaret, Today you turned two years old. Upon waking up, your daddy and I coronated you with a Sleeping Beauty crown. It is pink and made of plastic, glitter and ribbon. Absolutely tacky and absolutely perfect. I might steal it from you.
You don't really understand birthdays, but I have tried to make today special. You want to watch wonder pets? We watch it. You want chocolate? Oh look. I happen to have m&m's just waiting for you in my purse. Pizza? At ten thirty? Sure! Five Bagel Bites coming your way. As we watched the artificial cheese melt into the radioactive-red sauce, it occurred to me that very little about today is different than any other day. Welcome to your life. You are two years old and live everyday like it is your birthday.
As you slept off all that fake dairy and chocolate, I sat down and caught up on the news. Margaret, you are a toddler in a very adult world. The day you turned two, Eqypt was burning. Unemployment had risen and soup kitchens were overwhelmed. America's terror alert was at the highest it had been since 9/11. They called it "Code Really Really Red...Like Almost Scarlet...Seriously." Somali pirates captured a Greek super-tanker. A court convened on the murder case of a Bangledeshi girl. She was 14 and had been raped by her cousin. The village elders decided this made her unclean and sentenced her to one hundred lashes. She only lived to see eighty of them. The Republicans and Democrats continued to yell, too loud to hear the voices of people that needed them. A new study announced that french fries will, if they have not already done so, give you cancer. To add insult to injury, Adam Sandler had come out with, yet another, romantic comedy. (Tragedy can be relative. Why can't he just embrace the perfection of The Wedding Singer and cease all other efforts?)
Pushed the news away, and picked up your princess crown. It looks like it is made of frosting. The day you turned two, I decided not to despair that pink princess crowns exist in a world in which some 14 year olds don't get to grow up. There is darkness, but there is also light. Someday there will be just the blazing, glorious light. Until then, we will spread it the best we can.
The day you turned two, was the day I decided to make our home just like the world I wish you could live in. There will be bagel bites and story time and flowers. We will eat and drink love, charity and understanding.
And we will do it all bedecked in glitter, ribbons and crowns.
Happy Birthday, Darling.