Saturday, October 29, 2011

By Michael

Eleanor loves flan.
When Eleanor was in the womb, strangers on the bus or Metro would ask Windy when she was due. Windy would tell them October, 31 and then add, “Halloween!” or something like that. On more than one occasion, she got a very strange and somber response, a shaking of the head and sincere condolence. “Maybe the baby will come early,” they would offer.
Well, she did come early, a couple days early. And nobody is more pleased than Eleanor that her birthday is associated with such a magnificent holiday. My girl has enjoyed dressing up and making her own style for as long as I can remember. Even when she was tiny, she would screech some of her first words to remind us that she needed no help getting dressed, “Me do it!”
Her nickname is Boo.
Most kids are eager for their next birthday milestone. It’s clear because they will state their ages in terms of how close they are to the next milestone, “I’m almost 10.” Eleanor doesn’t seem to care about the milestone as much as just being older. She yearns to be older. She carries a strong sense that there is a mysterious adult world that is beyond her age. She wants to penetrate that world today, to know it now, everything. Since she could speak, she has been attuned, hyper attuned to anything that might serve as a clue. She asks a lot of questions.
Eleanor loves flan so much, she
asked at a local restaurant if they
would teach her how to make it.
Here she is at her cooking class.
Eleanor didn’t want a party this year. She wanted only to hang out with us, shop for Halloween accoutrements, and get ice cream at least twice. She asked to go out for lunch and to spend late afternoon-till-dark on the beach, using her mask in the water and exploring on the rocks. It all happened, just as she wished.
No, it was better.
I don’t just love Eleanor, I love her company. She is a neat person to spend time with. She is perceptive, sensitive, and clever. She is surprisingly innocent despite her desire to be worldly. She spends so much time in her own head, focused on a thought, an insect in her hand, or the look of her own shoes striking the ground as she runs, that it is challenging/frustrating/exasperating to teach her to notice the street as she crosses it.
I love that since we started our journey as a family in May, Eleanor has bonded with her sister in a way that was unimaginable one year ago. The two girls are yin and yang, night and day. I’m heartened to have learned recently that Eleanor appreciates the value of this more than anyone.
I’m eager and excited to begin my ninth year with her, spending more time in her company than ever before.
Happy birthday Boo.

Eleanor loves key lime pie too. You can't really tell from this picture, but Tami from
s/v Andiamo III made Eleanor a key lime pie in her favorite color tonight, blue.
Fortunately it still tasted really good.


  1. Happy Birthday! Can't wait to meet you some day!

  2. Happy birthday Miss Eleanor. We miss you and have adored you since day one.

  3. Eleanor, we miss you up here on the Burnt Fork. We hope someday you will come back and teach us how to make flan, and other things. Your spirit lingers in "the nook". Happy Birthday and love from Victoria and Michael


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