Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Renaissance Girl

Today is Serena’s 10th birthday.  In the womb, her name had been Roxy Magnolia, which is still a good name, but I woke up one night in a sweat and said, “We can’t name her that!  She’ll be destined to jump out of cakes!”  Her true name, Serena, came from a place we stayed in Palm Springs, La Sirena Villas, when I was pregnant and Emme was not yet walking, just toddling around the room carefully and making us laugh.

Serena sleeps with her hands balled into tiny fists, like me, like her Grandma Nancy, with whom she shares her birthday. Her glossy, spiraling brown hair and round face inspire references to the Renaissance masterpieces of Raphael and Botticelli and when I go to Florence, I see her image in every other painting or sculpture.  She is both prone to moments of fear about things that will likely not bring her harm, like elevators, and to giant leaps of courage, like when she auditioned for a district-wide arts program and got it.

Today, I’m taking her ziplining in Ka’anapali to celebrate a decade together.  She is no longer the Elvis lookalike baby with glossy black hair and big blue eyes, but she is something better, grander, more than I could ever have expected when she chose me to be her mama.  Happy Birthday, Neen!

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