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day 3: precious princess angel bird

February 4, 2011

Oh, day 3.

Day 3 was one of those days that just felt snake-bit from the start.  After dropping my kids off at preschool, full of the promise of a few hours of uninterrupted work, I settled in to a giant cup of coffee and a stack of unread articles.  An hour in, I got the dreaded call from my youngest’s teacher, “Um, he feels really warm, and all he wants to do is lie down on a pile of pillows.”

Man, I hate it when my kids get sick.  They are too little to overdramatize and manipulate.  Instead, they look up at me with those plaintive, glassy eyes: “Mommy, I don’t feel good” (and I remind myself that now is not a good time to correct their grammar).

At any rate, the day pretty much morphed into a festival of movie-watching (any Strawberry Shortcake flick is hugely popular in these parts) with some occasional cleaning (by me…  not them).

In straightening up my consistently disastrous office, I came across Day 3’s gift.  It kind of took my breath away.

Maybe I should get a camera? Can I blame it on the phone?

No, it didn’t take my breath away because of its purple and gold-flocked gorgeousness (although I can see why you would think that).  Rather, this journal’s very presence in my office stunned me for a moment — I had forgotten about it.  Seeing it again filled me with (ugh) guilt.

This is a journal I began as a gift to my goddaughter before she was born.  My grand design was to write it in from the time she was in utero until she was, I don’t know, 18, and then give it to her.  Looking back, it was a grand design indeed for someone whose track record included taking 6 weeks of guitar lessons (and never learning how to play), taking 6 weeks of French lessons (and never learning how to speak), and buying copious amounts of unused scrapbooking paper.

Ignoring my guilt for a moment, I read through the journal.  The first entry was made on January third, 2003:

I know it is illegible, but some of that is just my handwriting.

“I thought it would be important for you to know who your parents were before they knew you, and how they lived before you came into their lives…  When you are thirteen or fifteen or twenty-one, when you are sullen and convinced your parents couldn’t possibly love you, I want to provide you with documented proof that no one has wanted anything more than you are wanted right now, today.”

This entry was written on the day my friends announced their pregnancy with a baby they called Precious Princess Angel Bird, a baby who is not yet a sullen teenager but is a beautiful seven year old who wears glasses and loves Harry Potter and plays the violin.

The journal goes on to document the months between January and August of 2003.  I am surprised by the things I documented for my goddaughter; the clippings I tore out about the war in Iraq, the political cartoons, and the email forwards about “How to Be Human.”


There is detailed documentation of Precious Princess Angel Bird’s birth story, both from my own perspective and from that of her parents — I printed and included an email sent on the day of her birth.   The final entry in the journal is from August 17, 2003, the day after she was born:

“We arrived at the hospital a little after 10 p.m.  You were in the warmer, your feet black and smudged from the ink they used to make your footprints.  As tired as they were, I have never seen your parents happier or more beautiful.  Your Dad immediately declared you brilliant.”

Reading through my words from seven-plus years ago, I can’t believe that I didn’t think this journal was a worthy enough gift for my goddaughter when it was written.  I can’t believe I allowed my perfectionism (“But it isn’t finished!  But it’s not good enough!”) to prevent me from giving this to PPAB’s parents before now.

I am resisting the urge to add an afterword to this journal, just as I am resisting the urge to edit this post.  Sometimes a gift is good enough just because it is.

Have a precious day.  Thanks for showing up.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Courtney permalink
    February 5, 2011 11:00 am

    Anne – what can I say? There are no words to describe this gift to Madeleine. You are truly an amazing person. I am happy to embark on this gifting journey with you (may even be inspired myself). Your presence in my life is the best gift you could give me. I love you!

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