"What should I wish for?" That's what my daughter always asks just before she blows out the candles on her birthday cake.
"Whatever you want," I always answer. "Just be sure you really want it."
Of course, if you really want something, you won't need the wish at all. Or even the candles.
My daughter called it "Thinky." Is it a blue ghost with a lightbulb over its head? Is it a third grader's interpretation of a shadow? Is it a symbol of the ambiguity of learning? I should ask her what it "Thinky" is supposed to be.
But I never ask.
My daughter's imagination created Thinky. But it's mine that gets to decide what it is.
Mirrors aren't just for checking your hair and your lipstick and making sure the jacket works with the pants. Mirrors are about a reflection, an image, a reality check.
Next time you pass by a mirror, say hi.
It never hurts to say hello to yourself. Otherwise you might forget who you are.
Boots go with everything.
"Will you always be my Valentine?" I have asked each of my girls that question on every Valentine's Day since they were babies. "I'll always be yours," I added.
"Yes," she answered. "Yes, I will always be your Valentine." Of course she is only 7 years old. And she might change her mind.
But I won't.
The One Signature Birthday Cake. Fluffy white cake and devil's food, in alternating layers between buttercream frosting. Topped with a single candle. The test kitchen's first creation.
The best journeys are the ones that take you right back to where you started.
I pick the orange one.
"Look! They are just my size!"
This was not a true statement. But I didn't tell the four-year-old whose feet were wearing the metallic high-heeled pumps.
If you really want something big, never stop trying it on. Who knows? Maybe tomorrow will be the day it finally fits.
A house is not beautiful because of its walls, but because of its cakes.
"Wait!" I reached across the kitchen counter and stopped my daughter's fork, just before it grazed the frosting.
I pulled a second fork out of the drawer. “I’ll join you,” I said.
Sharing is delicious.
Guess what? You’re gorgeous.
What's the point of soccer practice?
According to the second grade soccer player, the point of soccer practice is to get better at playing soccer.
According to the older sister who does not play soccer, the point of soccer practice is to take a nap in the sunshine.
And according to the mother of the second grade soccer player and the older sister who does not play soccer, the point of soccer practice is to watch one daughter practice. And give the other one a lap to lay on.
I love soccer practice.
Two sets of feet, hanging through spindles in the upstairs loft.
Children are wonderful. They remind us to look up.
Title: New Eyeshadow on Jewelry Display Counter
Artist: Gift to Self, Circa 2014
Color: Lucky Green
“What’s all this?” My voice rose with each word. I suspected a first grader and a blue Sharpie.
Then again, what was the big deal? Magic marker on a window pane cleans right up.
What a gift it is to look at the world through the imagination of a child.
“That's a Mommy Cake!" My daughter pointed to the five-layer cake studded with fondant blooms. "You're pretty smart," I said. The cake my daughter had singled out was my favorite.
"What makes it a Mommy Cake?" I asked.
"It's got pink flowers," she said. "And it's the prettiest cake of all."
Isn't every day Mother's Day?
Roses, top down.
Change your perspective and see a whole new kind of beautiful.
Iced sugar cookies, in Fourth of July colors. Red. White. Blue.
Yes, and pink.
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"I love the smell of sunshine," said the four-year-old sitting next to me on a park bench one Saturday morning.
How can I top that? I can't.
How wide is a sidewalk? Five feet, technically speaking.
How wide is a sidewalk? A sidewalk is wide enough for a mother and two little girls to walk to school together, side by side, hand in hand.
How wide is a sidewalk? A sidewalk is wide enough. Which is just perfect.
Vanilla buttercream frosting doesn't always have to be white.
In fact, frosting tastes really good when it is blue, like the sky. And the ocean. And a second grader's favorite color. Ooh. Especially that.
"You cut off part of my painting in the picture you just took," my daughter pointed out, studying the screen on my phone. "The right side of the 'O' is missing."
So I had. “Love,” in my photograph, was spelled with a wide open "O." The ”O” looked like a big “C.”
Isn't that what love is? It's not about what's missing. It's about the parts that are there.
A little voice called out from somewhere on the second floor.
"How did you know it was me?" I asked, walking up the stairs. "You couldn't see who it was coming into the house."
"I can hear your bracelets jangle," answered my daughter.
Of course. I never leave the house without an armful of bracelets. I love the way they look, all stacked together. And I love the way they sound, clanking against each other. I gave my daughter a big hug.
"Thank you for coming to see me," I said. I kissed her on the cheek. "Even with my noisy bracelets."
"That's okay, Mommy," she said. "It's how I know you're you."
I love it when little girls greet me after a long day. It's how I know I'm me.