At 2:38pm today, my daughter Mary Frances turns 11 years old. She is child #6.
Mary Frances wasn’t my heaviest baby at 9 pounds 13 ounces but she was my biggest. That might not make sense but, trust me, she was butterball huge. When my friend Patti saw her in the nursery, she said she felt sorry for the other babies; it looked like most of them needed to be put back.
As a newborn she had rolls all over her arms and legs. While she was in the nursery for her first bath, a nurse came to me and sheepishly asked if I might have a onesie for her. Apparently, they didn’t have anything big enough to fit over her chest.
Mary Frances is our second child to give herself a nickname. We call her Miffy, or, rather, she called herself Miffy. As a toddler she struggled to pronounce Mary Frances. It kept coming out Miffy and the name stuck. Who knew Miffy was a popular Dutch children’s character.
One of my favorite stories about Miffy happened when she was 2 years old. I found her in the middle of her bedroom, stripped down to a diaper and covered in Vaseline. From the top of her head to the bottom of her feet, she had smeared the entire tub all over her body.
She was glowing and giggling. Despite the incredible mess, it is one of my favorite Miffy memories. Imagine the fun she had plunging her little hand into that gelatinous substance.
Trying to get her into the bathroom was like wrestling with a fish. Every time I wrapped my hands around her, she popped out and slipped away. Once she was in the bath tub, there was little progress as the water just ran off the Vaseline mounds. She shimmered for days.
Now, somewhere in that story, is a great Super Bowl commercial.
Mary Frances is my artist. She paints, draws, and does calligraphy. Last summer, she started a little face painting business and uses her skills at block parties and children’s birthday parties. She leaves things of beauty all over the house – a drawing, a little sculpture, a flower from the yard. Not far behind, she also discards messes in the wake of her creative pursuits. But I understand – when inspiration strikes, an artist can’t be bothered with the mundane details of order.
She is a sensitive soul, curling up to you like a cat and just wanting to be loved. Her Uncle Tim once called her the “Apple-Cheeked Love Mascot”. That sums her up perfectly.
Happy Birthday, Miffy!