Happy Birthday, Beautiful Girl

"I gotta get the mail!" you told me excitedly as you hopped out of the van. You ran towards the curb, your curls bouncing against your shoulders. I followed you down the driveway, ready to bark a mom-warning if you got too close to the street. You cannot reach the mailbox, but you are obsessed with grabbing the mail each day.

I lifted you up so that you could open the white mailbox. You pulled out several envelopes, mostly junk mail. You frowned, irritated to find there was nothing for you. I took the mail and handed you a postcard offering a fantastic deal on carpet cleaning. "I think this one's for you," I said, closing the hatch.

You grabbed the neon green card in your hand and started to run back up the driveway. "I'm gonna win!" you called over your shoulder. Everything is a competition lately. I walked slowly into the garage, intending to let you get to the door first. You stopped mid-stride and spun around, your new spring dress fluttering around your legs. You put your marker-streaked hand in mine and grabbed my fingers, pulling me into a run. We reached the door at the same time. "Mama, we both winned!" you yelled. We laughed: me, because I have a better understanding of how races (and verb tenses) are supposed to work, and you, because you were genuinely thrilled about our mutual victory.

"We sure did," I responded, and unlocked the door.