To Miss C on Her Third Birthday

to miss c

Dear Cee,

Happy birthday, my girl. Today, you’re three.

You’re also sick. Like, 103°-fever sick. We had planned for weeks to take you to the zoo today to celebrate your arrival to the World of Three, but instead we’re going to take you to the doctor. We’re also pretending that I’m staying home from work because you’re not feeling well, not because I requested the day off weeks ago to celebrate your birthday.

Peppa Pig birthday cake

The fact that you have no interest in eating this today is a dead giveaway that you’re not feeling well.

I suppose three is as good an age as any for you to learn about disappointment. Sometimes you plan for weeks to go see elephants, giraffes, and (most excitedly) Komodo dragons on your birthday, but end up going to the doctor and being bound to the couch. I know it’s not fun. I mean, seriously, you don’t even have an appetite for the Peppa Pig cake we had at your birthday party over the weekend. Un-freaking-fair.

There are moments when I wish I could shield you from all the world’s unpleasantness – and trust me, there’s a lot of it – but I have to remind myself that it’s to your benefit to let you learn to cope on your own.

Take, for instance, last week. Right now, you go to parents’ day out once a week, and last week, drop off was hard. Right as I was about to leave you, you fell apart. You begged me to take you home or to stay or to call Daddy. I would have stayed with you all day long, holding you in my arms, but I knew (or, if we’re being honest, your teacher who gently asked me to go, knew) that I wasn’t doing you any favors by keeping you in your comfort zone.

I left. You screamed. But then this amazing thing happened.

You got over it.

The same thing happened yesterday when I gave you your dreaded medicine to bring down your fever. You screamed bloody murder as I administered the dosage; I even had to restrain your arms. But I’m nothing if not determined and I eventually got you to take it. Your fever went down.

And, you guessed it: you got over it. 

I’m not saying that you’ll learn to just shrug off every single hard thing that will happen to you. By the time you’re actually old enough to read this letter, you’ll likely be well-aware of the fact that I myself am easily jarred by confrontation and that I wish I were more confident in myself. I wish I were as confident as Taylor Swift appears to be. (Yes, Taylor Swift is a major thing right now. I thought I would toss in a small reference to current pop culture in this letter in case you hadn’t rolled your eyes enough yet.)

While you may not feel like Taylor Swift or (   insert current pop culture icon here  ) all the time, I promise that it’s worth it to be sick on your birthday, to be left at school, and to take medicine that you don’t want. These are the things that make you stronger and that will help you find out who you are when things get seriously difficult.

Cee, I know for a fact that you get sick of me saying it, but I’m going to say it again: I love you and I’m so incredibly proud of the little girl you’re becoming. Thank you for being the person who made me a mom. Trust me, you’re teaching me as much as I’m teaching you.

But here’s a secret: when life is hard, you get to eat ice cream and binge-watch cartoons for a little while, all while building character.

See you on the couch.

I love you,




  1. Happy Birthday, Miss C!

  2. Happy birthday, Cee!

  3. What a blessed little girl. What a blessed Mommy. Strength of character’s foundation is being built today, right now..

    1. Awwww, thanks, Carol. xo

  4. Happy birthday to Miss C! Hopefully you can all go to the zoo soon when she’s well :) I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Komodo Dragon in person!

    1. She is inexplicably fascinated with them! Luckily, the weather is looking great for Saturday so hopefully we’ll be able to go then. Thanks, Gina!

  5. This is as lovely as Cee. Which is pretty darn lovely. And it is so true. So, so true. Just remember to recall this post in the future as Cee becomes “more three.” No matter how difficult times get, she will get over it….because you love her and that colors everything you do for her. Happy birthday Cee and feel better!

    1. Thank you! You mean she’s going to get MORE THREE? It’s a good thing we live close to a wine shop ;)

  6. Happy birthday to Cee. I hope she feels better soon!!

    1. Thank you! I do too ;)

  7. My baby is turning three in July!
    The poor baby is sick on her birthday, but what a great way to relate this to real life. What a good read.

    1. Thank you! The best news? She’s feeling a lot better. I *told* her she would survive!

  8. What a lovely letter. And, Happy Happy Birthday Cee!

    1. Thanks! I’ll pass that on to her ;D

  9. Oh, Poor Cee. Happy birthday! Take care and get well soon. Don’t worry, you can still go to the zoo some other time.

    1. Thanks! Truer words were never spoken ;D

  10. Happy birthday Cee!!! What a lovely letter and so very true. I will remember this when mine are having their couch days!!! xx

    1. Long live the couch days ;)

  11. Great advice! My little boy is turning 4 today, but we spent the morning at my grandfather’s funeral instead AND my husband has the stomach flu. I guess we must weather the storms to get to our rainbows. :)

    1. Wow, that sure is the truth. My sympathies are with you and your family and I hope that you have many, many rainbows ahead.

      1. Thank you! You, too!

  12. OMG, I love this. And I truly believe it’s harder for you as a parent to administer the medicine, do the drop-off, and have to watch Miss C sick than it is for her to go through these things! (Either that, or you’ll just remember it and she probably won’t.) This letter is the best b-day gift to Cee, incidentally, even if she doesn’t read it for a few years :)
    PS, I have missed your blog immensely. I was in a unintended rehab of sorts, but I finally broke out! Now I’m gonna catch up.

    1. I have missed you too!!! Since the evil FB folks banished you, we need to become Twitter buddies. I need my daily dose of LB. xo

  13. Happy Birthday and get well soon! you are an overcomer!

  14. Happy birthday, Cee!!!

    1. Can you believe these kids are growing up before our very eyes?!

      1. I know! My C is four and the twins will be driving soon. Augh!

  15. Happy birthday to Cee! Hopefully she’s on the upswing.

    1. She is, thanks ;)

  16. Hopefully Miss C is feeling better, and you all enjoyed that gorgeous cake!

  17. Emily, the thing I love about your writing is there’s so much love in it but it’s never sticky sweet…except for the birthday cake. Virtual hugs to little-but-getting-bigger Cee.

  18. Happy birthday and get-better-soon wishes to Cee!

  19. happy birthday…… bit late……….. hope you get well soon

Now you can hold the magic talking stick.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: