Yes, our little Duck-Horse! Leading up to her birthday, Luci couldn't think of a single gift she wanted, which always makes me feel good. When children have such low expectations, how can the day be anything but electrifying?
Her birthday breakfast request was an easy one-- waffles, sausage, home fries, and hardboiled eggs-- but it was nothing compared to her birthday supper request, which was GOULASH! Goulash with ground venison? The ten-minute meal we whip up when the pace of life presses too fast for much effort? The dish, according to Wikipedia, that is versatile and popular because of "...its ease of preparation (it requires only one pot to prepare) and its use of relatively few common, inexpensive ingredients?"
As you wish, babe.
The crazy thing is that I screwed up goulash, the ten-minute meal, by dumping in a packet of frozen cilantro instead of the frozen basil I thought I had grabbed from the freezer. Mexican goulash should not be a thing. I tried to remedy it with additional basil and pounds of Parmesan, but it still tasted gross. The fact that Lucinda made no complaint and just quirked her mouth up in an amused, little twist when I told her is a testament to her lack of birthday expectation. She gobbled up her whole bowl, too!
(Bananas from Grandma brought a squeal of excitement.)
Her cake request was also easy-- two layers of brownies shaped like a seven, on top of which she would arrange her ducks. Sure thing!
Ah, Lucinda. You Mexican-Hungarian-American-Goulash Queen, you! I love you and your requests and your lack of requests. I love that twist of the mouth and knowing twinkle. I love your eccentric humor and the belly laugh that shakes your bony body when you create a joke that makes you giggle louder than anyone else. I love how pleased you are that you make Papa chuckle on a regular basis (which is a great honor, for though he frequently smiles, his laugh is infrequent.) I love that, though you're seven now, and seven seemed so old when the bigger girls hit that mark, seven seems so young to me now, and you seem still so young, and I can still scoop you up in an instant for a quick squeeze.
You are seven! Here's to another year of growing and stretching upwards, another year of belly laughs and bony kneecaps and peculiar humor. Here's to you, love!