Happy 8th Birthday, Madison!

Madison’s birthday got off to a much better start than did mine. While I was at work Madison went on a reef walk field trip. With Lynnette!

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When Lynnette posted the first picture of the two of them between the blue of the sky and the gold of the sand, my heart sank. I spent all my personal days on Cole and Avery back in November and so I would have to settle for spending my 36th birthday mired in jealousy. When I got home Mad was quick to tell me that she held a sea cucumber that “peed” on her; that she was lucky enough to hold a few starfish, including a brittle star; that she poured vinegar onto samples of sand to see if it bubbled. When I asked her what it meant if the sand and vinegar bubbled, she said “That means it’s fake sand.” “Huh?” I said. “No,” Lynnette said. “It means that there is residual organic material on the sand,” she finished. “Yeah, that,” Madison said.

2Both pairs of grandparents, uncle Paul, aunty Jenn, and Charlie helped Lynnette and me celebrate Mad’s birthday with ice cream cake (but also pizza, poke, manapua, and Coke). I love this picture of her here. We had just finished singing “Happy Birthday” to her. Immediately following the song, someone said “Make a wish!” then someone else said “But keep it a secret!” then somebody else said “Or it won’t come true!” then somebody else – possibly someone who had already spoken once and is also Madison’s mother – said “Hurry up!” so then Madison put her hands to her head and shouted “I’m thinking!”  Eventually, she did come up with something to wish for as she blew out the candles.

3I assume that Madison had a great 8th birthday because she got to spend time with her family. I suspect that she’s also pretty thrilled about getting her Adventure Camp Treehouse Lego set. She’s been eyeing this set for months. Both Walmart and Costco had it in stock and every single time Madison saw it, she’d make some noise about it. “I found a set I like,” she’d say. “I have all the jungle adventure sets…except that one,” she’d say. “It’s only $87,” she’d say. “That’s so much money!” I’d object. “It’s only 8 ten dollar bills and 7 ones!” she’d reply. Thanks, Common Core!

But that’s where Mad is now: old enough to know things, but not necessarily understand them completely. She’ll always be my little girl, but then I think back on my own life and realize 8 years old is about as far back as my solid memories go. She’s right there. I started playing Little League at 9, she’s a year away. Then middle school, then high school, and my heart aches just thinking about this.

Happy 8th birthday, Madison. If you feel like you want to pump the brakes on the growing up, I won’t stop you. I know you won’t, but still. No matter how sassy you get, or how much you use the things I teach you against me, you’ll always be the best thing that ever happened to me.

Love,
Dad

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