active rio, originally uploaded by MzMuze.

Once upon a time, a small girl was born to a loving family, with whom she lived happily.

Looking over last year’s post, I think the theme for this one is “plus ca change, plus ca reste la meme”. She’s gained two inches in height and six pounds in weight. This morning instead of quietly creeping into my bed in the morning she marched in, stood at the foot of the bed and announced loudly, “Ta-da-da! It’s me! The Birthday Girl! I am here! I am four years old!” and then climbed in bed to snuggle until she was evicted for waking the baby up (which happens every morning; she crawls into bed and chatters and plays until everyone is awake and then Martin and I grouse at her for waking her sister and he gets up and makes them pancakes).

This has been the Year of Preschool, the Year of Having A Baby, and the Year of Tantrums. All of those things are coming to a close: we’re moving, Serena’s growing, Rio’s mellowing, we’re getting ready to homeschool. Who knows what the future holds?

Today, she turned four years old. I pray today was a harbinger of the year to come. It was a day without tears. There was no injury or drama. The weather was perfect. I was a little overwhelmed and anxious about the party, but my fears proved unfounded. We gathered with friends and family in the beautiful community garden we’ve been volunteering at, threw a couple of balls out on the grass for the kids to play with, laid out a potluck lunch, and relaxed. The air was full of sunlight and laughter, and the moments just flowed.

After the party wound down and we had somehow packed Rio’s mountain of gifts into our already crowded van and said good-bye to our beloved friends, we went to a garden center a few blocks away and Rio and I got lost in the abundance of growing things with two of our best friends. We came away with a raft of seedlings for things I had never thought I’d grow – cucumbers! summer squash! – and things I’ve long dreamed of planting – hot peppers! more hot peppers! yet another variety of hot peppers!

And then for our final stop, we went to the Broadway Bicycle School to pick up Rio’s new trail-a-bike. It’s pink and covered with flower decals, a gift from her grandfather. I thought this would be a quick errand but we were at the bike shop for an hour while they renovated my bike to host this treasure. Rio charmed everyone at the shop, and then she leapt on the bike and off we rode. This was just like last year, when my mother presented her with a bicycle – she just got on it and rode off. I didn’t realize not all kids did this until I saw some of Rio’s peers learning to pedal, adjusting just to the idea of sitting on a bike. This is clearly Rio’s thing.

We rode around Cambridge, got pizza, went to a playground, and finally packed everyone in the car to head home at the end of a very long day.

I could have every day be like this. I know it won’t be: the weather won’t always be so perfect, my body won’t always feel so good, I won’t have fruit salad and homemade lasagna and birthday cake for lunch every day.

But I’m hoping that with our impending move to Somerville and a measure of grace within our family, we’ll be seeing many more gatherings of friends, visiting awesome local shops, accidental outbreaks of gardening time and long lazy afternoon bike rides.