I’m Christine Castro Hughes, a designer, writer, and mother of two darling children. I also run a graphic design studio out of my charming, crooked craftsman house. Brunch is my blog. More »
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letter to maira : 2 years

Dear Maira, 

On Saturday, you turned 2 years old. We celebrated with a little brunch at home with our family, followed by a few hours at a music festival. Of course, there was also the requisite pile of presents (a huge one), cake and ice cream (strawberry shortcake and vanilla bean), and long noodles (simple spaghetti). There were a few times that day when you were visibly blissfully content, and it made me so happy. It reminded me how important it is to take some time to focus on the person you love. That's why I am writing this letter to you now, too: To shine a light on the girl you've become.

After meeting you for the first time and spending the day with you, my Auntie Imee said you were "something else." She said it with admiration in her voice, and I couldn't hep but agree.   

You are a rare bird, Maira. You are a beautiful combination of grace and fearlessness, independence and tenderness, wit and pure silliness. People sometimes have to spend entire days, or several days, with you before they get to see all of that. You are not an open book. You meet strangers with reserve and sometimes a little suspicion, but those who meet you with patience, kindness, and generosity discover what a gem you are.

You are graceful. It's not just the way you look. It's the way you move. When you twirl to music or glide down a slide—two of your favorite things—it's as if it takes no effort at all. Like you were born to do it. I love to watch you scale the steps to the tip top of a playground, taking one sure step at a time. 

You are so confident I sometimes wonder if you feel any fear at all. Part of it, maybe, is having Henry as an older brother. You have been trying to keep up with him since you could crawl. Now you easily follow his footsteps, sometimes very literally as you mirror his every move. I think that courage is just second nature to you, though. You are not afraid to climb, to wander, to leap, to run. When you sit on your Papa's shoulders to get a better view of the world, you don't even hold on.  

You are also unafraid to tell people what's on your mind. You have an opinion, and you usually share it. You tell me what you want to eat when you want to eat it. You pick out your clothes when getting dressed in the morning. You know what books you want to read, what shows you want to watch, what games you want to play, and it takes a herculean effort to convince you otherwise.   

Even if it's a battle, I secretly love it. I know that you're going to take charge of each situation you find yourself in, just like you cut the conversation short with that overly friendly man on the train with a "Bye, stranger."

You amuse and delight and constantly surprise me, Maira. One night after bedtime, you shuffled out of your bedroom still in your sleep sack with your pink felt handbag dangling on your wrist. Another time, you named red bell peppers as the treat of your choice over cookies, cupcakes, popsicles, or ice cream. Even your first knock knock joke had a punchline I could never have predicted:  

"Knock knock."
"Who's there?"
"Shh," you said, putting your finger to your mouth and shutting your eyes tight. "I sleep."

Telling knock knock jokes, by the way, is one our favorite family pastimes these days. That, and living room dance parties, building block castles, and playing hopscotch on the pavement. I love family days and the big and small adventures we take together. 

Our latest adventure was the biggest yet. We took our first family road trip up to the Bay Area, making fun stops along the way. We went to the Dennis the Menace Park, a Barbecue at Pixar Studio, the Charles Schulz Museum, and Little Farm at Tilden Park. We visited with Auntie Tonia, Uncle Chris, and Josie; Auntie Joy and CJ; Becky and Jeremie; and a whole gang of new friends. And although some of the drives were harrowing and the nights were restless, the trip felt like a success…until our last night there. 

You fell off Josie's backyard slide and hurt your elbow. You normally recover quickly from your stunts, but this one slowed you down, so your Papa and I worried it was serious. We decided to take you to the emergency room. The whole trip was traumatizing for me and your papa, but I think you kind of enjoyed our undivided attention. At one point, you even fell into a fit of giggles and that's when we started to think maybe you were okay after all.

The doctor suspected the same—and the X-rays seemed to agree—but he put you in a sling just in case. When we got home, all the way home, we saw our own doctor and he agreed that the injury wasn't serious. What a relief! 

Already, I can kind of laugh about the whole thing. (Henry broke his leg when he was 1 1/2 so I have started joking it's a Hughes family rite of passage to visit the ER before their 2nd birthday.)

But can we please not do that again any time soon? Or ever?

Being your mom is all the adventure I need. 

I love you to the moon and back.

xoxo Mama

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Reader Comments (5)

All I can say is: teary! A beautiful tribute from the sweetest, most loving mama a girl could ask for. You're an inspiration. xo!

July 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

so glad we got to see you !
happy birthday maira - you and your mama are so good together
[i recognize that shirt in the first photo i think !]

July 22, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterlisa s

When I grow up I want to be just like Maira.

July 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterErlina

i love this! i write to my son as well but literally written in my notebook. thanks for sharing!

December 25, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterfrances

I looooved reading this! You have a beautiful family, and I'm so glad I stumbled upon your Instagram, then website and blog. I hope to meet you someday soon! I love your design style, and we are neighbors!


March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDali

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