Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Q = 6

This past Earth Day, our daughter Q turned 6.  The date merely made official the changes we've been witnessing lately:  Q has stretched up out of her old clothes and into a whole new set of adjectives:  willowy, lissome, striking — words at ease around women. I probably see those words coming for her long before others do even as I resist them (and will likely do so long after I need to).  But Q is, I suppose, all of those and more besides, which is to say herself as we've come to know her, still sharply funny and clever and resolute.

Because her birthday proper fell on Good Friday and Easter weekend, we've set her (again, small) party for this weekend.* Still, we celebrated her on her actual birthday, too, just the four of us.  My lovely wife had a wonderful suggestion for a new tradition to launch this year:  The birthday boy or girl chooses a restaurant for his or her birthday dinner, and both Q and The Boy got quickly behind this idea.  It's genius, really, given that it's a great and not unsubtle way to privilege experiences over things while giving us a chance to do a thing we all love, which is eat. Q has been extremely fond of sushi lately,** and we were a little surprised when she picked Indian food.  But we all like that, too, and together we settled on a local, slightly nicer place than our go-to Indian restaurant that we've walked by countless times over years but have never been to.

Q made an event of it, as we knew she would.  She wore one of her favorite dresses, the aquamarine silk one that ties in the back, and patent-leather Mary Janes. Hair was braided.  My wife and I also fancied up when we came home early from work, she with a dress of her own and me with a tie of Q's choosing.  The Boy even easily agreed to a collared shirt.

The restaurant was likewise properly dressed, with heavy cotton napkins and pounded-copper chargers at each place setting, and a latticed candle centerpiece that threw small stars on our faces. The ceiling was crisscrossed with runners that reminded me of a howdah.  Apart from a couple up front and a family a few tables over, we had the place to ourselves.  (Most Indian and Chinese restaurants in our neighborhood make their business through delivery.)  They had the waitstaff for a full house, though, and we felt well attended to, especially once the head waitress learned that we had come because of Q's birthday.  At the end of the meal, they brought out a special candle-lit dessert — a disc of something tasting like carrot cake orbited by bits of fried, honey-soaked dough — and all sang "Happy Birthday."  Q found it hard to stop smiling long enough to blow out the flame.

As we crossed the streets back home, she fit her hand, a thing as quick and alive as she, into mine.   Six will too soon become seven, then we'll stop counting years on fingers, then she'll cross streets on her own, then she'll likely hold hands with someone new for different kinds of crossings.  Knowing her as I do, I can picture roles for her adult self — first ever Supreme Court Chief Justice/Gold Medal Gymnast, e.g. — but however she realizes herself, these are days I will return to.

Happy birthday, Q.  We love you and are proud of you.

*Theme:  origami and candy sushi party. More about same later.
**See note above and our growing stack of receipts from Junior Sushi 2.

1 comment:

RB said...

This is great. What a joy life can be.