In the weeks leading up to your birth, we experienced a devastating hurricane that left our entire region in a ferocious upheaval. Your father and I tucked into the spare bedroom in the back of the house where the windows were smaller and armed ourselves with candles and flashlights and big burly blankets. Surprisingly, we slept through most of the harsh rain and high winds and were spared the devastation that most of the city experienced. I was mindful of you during my entire pregnancy, but that was the first time I felt truly protective. Thoughts of not being able to get medical attention flooded my mind. I felt worried about your safety. I started plotting alternate routes to the hospital in case fallen trees and power lines prevented us from reaching our destination. More than anything, I prayed you stayed safe and healthy and snuggled next to my heart where I knew you were sheltered and unharmed. That was my very first glimpse into what motherhood would entail. Love of course, but also apprehension. Concern for your well-being. Fretting over seemingly obscure scenarios that would likely never, ever happen.
But what if? It seemed to be the only mantra that made sense for a long time.
In the years since then, you have certainly given me reasons to worry and most of them revolved around my own crazy, fierce love. I look at us now, sometimes not speaking the same language, other times laughing hysterically at jokes only we can appreciate and I feel so thankful for you. For your strong and often convincing opinions on social issues. The way you challenge me and think through, critically and mindfully, valid and often compelling points of rebuttal. The way you sing in that jazzy, throaty, Parisian style of song that is so completely you. The way you validate your brother when he tries to be a part of your beautiful world. The way you love us so completely and authentically.
I just can’t remember a day when we, weren’t us.
Twelfth Birthday Interview with Raphaelia
What is your favorite song?
Bad Blood by Taylor Swift
What is your favorite book?
Sisters by Raina Telgemeier. I like it because there is a lot of drama! I like drama. In books I mean. Not in real life.
Which kind of music makes you want to sing?
Pop music because it makes my ears happy. I like the tunes!
(breaks into rendition of Bad Blood by T. Swift.)
What makes you laugh?
My family- the way they describe stories or things that happen
What sorts of things are important to you?
My family is number one. My friends. My happiness. My family’s happiness. Love. Being loved and feeling loved is important to me. Being a good person. Music. School
If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
When someone’s in trouble I would just feel it in me. And I would know exactly how to help them. If it meant flying to get to them faster, that’s what I’d want to be able to do.
If you had three wishes, what would they be?
1.That I am with my family foreve
2. That I get “discovered” by an agent
3. That I get to travel to every single country in the world. Every single one.
What does heaven look like?
Heaven is golden with lots of people that are talking and walking in flower gardens. God would be everywhere. There are gates and angels and it’s a happy place.
If you could change one law, what would it be?
I’d change the age that people can get a driver’s license. It wouldn’t be an actual age, but based on maturity. Some 14 year olds would be better drivers than some 20 year olds. I think so anyway.
Which five words describe you best – and which five words describe me best?
If you could travel back in time three years and visit your younger self, what advice would you give yourself?
Don’t try so hard to impress all of those popular kids because you don’t have to try so hard with real friends. Real friendship is not like that. Real friends fight for you, stand up for you and love you no matter what.
Where is your favorite place in the world?
The cottage because when I go there I have the ocean and my family and I’ll always have those memories.
If you could grow up to be famous, what would you want to be famous for?
Singer-pianist like Alicia Keyes.
What is one thing you want to learn how to do?
Play the harp. My piano teacher plays the harp and the sound is so relaxing and beautiful.
Who is someone that you miss?
Can I put two people? My grandfathers. They sound so great. I wish I had known them. Can I put that as one of my wishes??
What makes you nervous?
Performing in front of others. Public speeches. I just really want to do a great job and I’m scared I’ll burst out laughing.
What makes you happy?
My family. My friends. My life. God
What is the most wonderful thing that ever happened to you?
I have a lot of things. When my brother was born is probably number one. We fight sometimes but I love him. He's a big part of my lfe.
If you could choose a new name for yourself, what would it be, and why?
Julia. That was my great grandmothers name and I’ve always loved it.
How would you change the world if you could?
World peace. I don’t know how though. I’d ask God to help me.
What do you know how to do that you can teach to others?
Music. Art. How to have good posture.
What is your favorite outfit?
A Blue and black dress that I got from Justice that my grandmother gave me for my 11th birthday. It has a matching belt. I’m not describing it very well but you know the one I mean right mom? It’s nice!
What is the difference between being smart and being wise?
Being smart is being able to understand things. Being wise is taking chances.
Do you know how much I love you?
Yes. I know you love me.
Yes but do you know how much?
100%?? The most you can love someone.
Yes. Even more