A few weeks ago on the family vacation that remains unblogged, we celebrated the birthdays of 40% of the Handful. Thumb's birthday occurred when we were actually on vacation, but poor, neglected Ring who has been forced to have her birthday just whenever in the three years since she got a second little brother didn't actually turn seven until today.
I know the birthday coverage around here seems sort of spotty. One sibling didn't get so much as a nod, another got a fairly impressive tribute. I spent the Bird's birthday puking and longing for oblivion. Pinkie and Thumb also got no coverage. What does it say about who I love or don't love? Almost nothing. What does it say about my reliability and commitment to responsible journalism? Volumes.
Nonetheless, today since I had to sing to the answering machine (seriously, why do they always screen me?) and since it's been nearly two and a half weeks since I gave her a gift, I honor Ring with a birthday blog.
I've only been at the hospital for 40% of Handful births. I arrived on the scene a half hour too late for Pointer, and for Bird and Thumb who were both born in the wee hours of the morning, I was on big sister/brother keeping duty, which I was happy to do. I got to be around for Pinkie because he has the good sense to arrive in the early afternoon, so a nineteen month old Ring and I went to hang out at the hospital with everyone else. And for Ring, I was there. I was on my way to Kentucky for Father's Day weekend seven years ago yesterday when my moma called to say that if I'd light a fire under it and get there, I could hitch a ride with them to Lexington for Ring's arrival. So I hightailed it. We got to the hospital late at night and sat and waited and killed time and dozed a bit until the next morning when she finally made her appearance. She was so worth the wait. Still is.
So to commemorate her birthday, here are my five favorite things about Ring.
5. Ring is probably the girliest of all our girls. From the time that she was able to name her colors, she has been devoted to pink and purple (and lately green). Nearly all of her stuffed animal friends (and there are plenty) are girls. She went through a stage last year when she would pick a skirt to wear over shorts or pants or anything else. When Thumb was born, she was quite vocal about her preference for a sister, and with the exception of her Daddy, she has always preferred women and girls. When she was three or four, she routinely split people up into teams and the delineation was always girl vs. boy. Yet for all her femininity, she's an energetic, tough, little mess. She is the big sister to two little boy monsters, so I suppose she has to hold her own. And she does. She's strong and loud and competitive. But when she plays t-ball, she does use a pink glove.
4. Ring is a goofball. Being funny is kind of a big deal in our family, but this girl definitely has a sense of humor all her own. She's silly and makes herself laugh just as much (and maybe more) than she does anyone else. Her voice gets higher and higher the funnier she finds herself, and her expressive, little face gets more and more ridiculous. She's at her funniest when she's falling to pieces cracking herself up.
3. She is so much like her moma. My lovely sister-in-law is a delight, and I truly feel that we won the in-law lottery the day we got Susan. And little Ringo shares so much of Susan's personality (and looks) right down to the quirks. It's always sort of amazing to me to recognize the grown folks in the little people of our family, and when I see these two together, I know exactly where Ring came from, and it makes me hopeful that she'll be just as delightful a grown-up as her sweet, smart, tender-hearted, stubborn mother.
2. My girl marches to her own beat. Maybe it's homeschooling; maybe it's being the oldest in her family; maybe it's all those personality quirks she's inherited from her parents, but whatever the cause, Ringo does things her way. She's obsessed with Webkinz and has at least ten to her name now. She'd rather have a pet or be a pet than play with a doll or house. She loves books and stories and was ridiculously excited to receive a book about Greek myths for her birthday. And when she could pick any sort of theme under the sun for her birthday party, she chose China and proceeded to regale anyone who was interested (or wasn't) with facts about Chinese culture.
1. In the end, I can't pick one favorite thing about the little squirt. She's a blast and a pest and a hoot and a mess. She can be bossy and stubborn and sweet and loving. She's independent and sassy, but she's still not too big to crawl into my lap or hold my hand. She's gorgeous but more proud of her missing teeth than any other feature. She thinks the sun rises and sets in her daddy, and since I think he's pretty great too, I trust her judgment. She's not afraid to scuffle and fuss with her little brothers, but they're hers to pester, and she'll defend them to anyone else. She's a million great things and a few not-so-great, but the love that connects us and wraps us tight makes her perfect, just the way she is.
Sending some big slobbery kisses to my favorite seven-year-old in Kentucky. Aunt Ellen loves you mucho, baby girl.