I wrote on Joey’s first birthday that she was a “perfectly-timed child…a beautiful distraction in a year that we needed it most.”
Her second year has been a beautiful reminder, a time spent watching a kid that looks and acts–for better or worse–so much like my mom that, I swear, a piece of her slowly dying body was reborn into her fourth grandchild.
The hair. The smile. The “Aren’t I cute? Now, can I have what I want?” attitude. It’s all Mimi. And, now, it’s all Joey Michele.
She’ll bear the burden of being that child, my visible connection to mom, just as Keaton bears the burden of being the child who knew Mimi best, who spent so much time with her and, therefore, shares the pain of the loss.
But there’s joy too, of knowing you’re connected to a person who meant a whole lot to a whole lot of people. In a weird way, it makes you better. It makes you want to BE better.
It’s legacy. And, as a parent, you can’t wish for more than that for a child.
On her second birthday, we’re grateful for that connection; more than that, we’re grateful for having another year to learn who Joey is, how she’s different from her siblings (a phenomenon this only child still finds absolutely fascinating) and get a sense of who she’s going to be. She’s a great shining light and a screaming terror and a dimpled hugger who grabs almost everyone she meets, raises her arms, and wraps them around their neck.
There’s just something about her.
You know, there’s a line in the movie she’s named for, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” where Katharine Hepburn says of her daughter, “I feel glad that Joey’s Joey.”
I feel glad that Joey’s Joey. Very, very glad.
Happy birthday, Baby J. We love you.