You’re five today, my dear. I can hardly believe it. You asked me this morning, “Mom, do I look taller?” as you stretched your back and stood on the tip of your toes. Of course I said, “Yes! You do look taller. You look like a 5-year-old today!” and you beamed from ear to ear.
Every day with you is an adventure. One of the things about you that has blossomed this year is your creativity. Your Dad and I are constantly amazed at the wild and inventive things that you come up with. We send you into your room for rest time each afternoon. We can hear you in there moving things around, building something or working on your projects. We hear you breathing deeply, focusing intently on your work, and then at the end of rest time you emerge with a big smile on your face and something hidden behind your back that you can’t wait to show us. You’ve crafted paper slippers for us to wear as skates, slingshots for yourself and your brother, doll houses and forts and towers. It never fails to bring a huge smile to my face as I see your imagination come to life.
You’ve written books for us as well. You found words from books or papers around your room and copied the words onto paper, glued them all together and surprised us with a book. You’ve talked about books and written so many words that I finally realized perhaps you were ready to read. I didn’t want to push you to read; I really wanted it to happen in your own time. And then it did. I bought you some little books to practice, and I figured that by the end of the school year you might be reading. I was wrong. It took you two days. Two days of practice, and there you were- reading! And every day since then, you’ve brought the books to me and asked if we can read together.
I’m not concerned about whether you’re the best reader or the smartest kid in your class. What I love about your reading is this- you’re willing to work hard. You have a drive and a determination to keep working at it until you figure it out, and this will serve you well throughout your life. You have a curiosity and a desire to learn; I love that about you! The reason reading is so important is because books are the key to helping you continue to grow and learn for the rest of your life. It doesn’t matter what you’re interested in or what you’re learning or where you’re going, books will help you get there. Sometimes books help you feel less alone in this life because even if you don’t have someone who understands you, books are a window to another world where you can feel known and understood.
I also watch you as you care for your brother and your friends, and I’m amazed at the care and compassion you show for those around you. I call you a “super feeler,” and I know you are one because I am one. You feel things deeply, and you feel for the others around you as well. I never had to teach you empathy or how to love others well. It has come as naturally to you as breathing. When a new little girl showed up in your class, you were the one to welcome her and take her under your wing. You showed her where to put her lunchbox and where to find the things she would need in the classroom. At least a few nights a week, I stumble to my bedroom after your Dad and I have put you and your brother to bed and I’m surprised to find that you have secretly made my bed and placed all of my things on my nightstand for me. You line up my chapstick and my phone and my iPad just how I like it. It’s your way of taking care of your Mommy, and I’m blessed by that. I’m so proud of the way you love others.
Your happiest moments, though, are still those hours spent in our backyard swinging. Your heart is happy when you’re flying through the air. You laugh the hardest when you’re chasing your brother down the slide or when Dad is chasing you around the backyard. You run around barefoot in a tutu and mismatched shirt with dirt on your knees, food on your face and your hair unbrushed, and that is happiness for you. And because it is happiness for you, it is happiness for me.
You are a shining light in this family that brings us incredible joy. You make us laugh and you make us proud of the little girl who is blossoming before our very eyes. We love you to the moon and back. Forever and always.
Happy birthday, my beautiful girl.