I cherish the few hours that Cooper is away at preschool every week; it’s nice for Ellen and I get to have one on one time with just us girls. One day the two of us were folding laundry (i.e. I was folding laundry and she was burying herself in it). Ellen stuck her head out from under a shirt and with a dimpled grin exclaimed with pure innocence, “I’m stupid!” I have no idea where she’d picked up that phrase, but my momma heart broke into a thousand pieces. I scooped her up into my arms and said, “No, Ellen, you’re smart! You are so smart!” Without hesitation, she said, “I’m smart!” and after a quick hug ran off to cause some sort of mischief.
I have different fears about raising each of my children. I worry that the world will destroy Cooper’s sweetness and I worry that the world will tell Ellen she’s never enough. Some days I wish I could freeze her in her two-year-old state with her untouchable confidence, but aside from the sheer impossibility of that happening, I also realize it’s probably best she learns a few lessons about her own mortality. As life throws her unexpected curves and steeper hills than she’d like to climb I hope she can channel a small part of her two-year-old self — the never-ending energy, the hugs that come straight from her heart, and her undeterred enthusiasm for life. Miss Ellen, you are smart as well as many other things. Never forget it.