Letting Life Lead
Here we are again with my annual reflection on the wonder that is you First Born. What a year! This winter you took up skiing with your dad and not twenty minutes later you wanted to go faster before you even completely mastered standing up! You found that your heavier statue made you sled faster, but made it much harder for dad to pull you on it.
You learned how to climb across the monkey ladder hand over hand, learned to swim in just three months, conquered your fear of the diving board, started kindergarten, had your first dance recital, discovered the wonders of gymnastics at a gym birthday party, freaked out over minnows (then went looking for them when they vanished), played tennis with Grandma, fought daily with your brother…
I am exhausted! You, on the other hand, don’t seem the least bit drained of any energy. There is no toddler left in you and I struggle to see my Baby Girl in your face, but there are those occasional meltdowns where I am reminded just how little you still are and how much you still need us. I remember that day at your swim lesson when you really, really wanted to jump off that diving chair but were too scared. So conflicted within yourself that you didn’t know what to do. We had to pull you away because the lesson was over and others were waiting. It all came exploding out in an epic tantrum thirty minute visible from a space station. Wow. Dad was there and he took your brother to his lesson, and I took you out of the facility where you took you your frustrations on some dandelions after I reprimanded you for spitting and trying to kick me. Some might I have thought I should have punished you harshly, but the didn’t see what I saw. A not-quite-six year old really made at herself because she couldn’t do the thing she wanted to do so baddly. You didn’t know how to deal with that internal conflict and it exploded. I honestly don’t think you remembered the incident a little as an hour after it happened! We talked about it and what you could do instead of smashing dandelions and spitting. I remember it and I also remember the look of pride on your face when you did finally make the jump a week later.
I love how your socks never match. How your hair just can’t be tamed. The song lyrics you mis-speak. The off-key tunes you make up. The way you stick out your tongue trying to take a goofy picture. How you still make friends everywhere you go even if it is for one afternoon (regardless of their age). How did you manage to charm that eleven year old girl into playing with you in the pool and carrying you around on her back in the water all afternoon! Social butterfly doesn’t seem to cover it. Social magician? This is why I wasn’t worried about you adapting to school, I was worried about me not adapting to you going to school. Funny I am sure until you have your own spawn and call me on the phone conflicted about how you feel about kindergarten!
I’ve done my best to teach you things every day based upon your interests, your affinities, and what we happen to be doing. I hope you don’t remember all the times I refused your help with something because I had just reached my limit of do-overs (hopefully the good days far outweigh the momtrum days)! You have a real knack for numbers and you inspired me to learn the abacus so that I could teach you. We ride in the car and you play the abacus app and tell me 9 + 8 is seventeen (mental math style with no fingers) and subtract two and tell me fifteen is the answer. Do you have any idea how incredible that is for a just-turned six year old!? You see numbers the way I saw letters when I was little. You were doing addition and subtraction at four and I was reading. We all have our hidden talents. Daddy has crazy spacial vision that makes him really good at engineering problems. Take it and run with it! Just don’t neglect the things that don’t come so easy to you. There is great value is working hard to reach a goal, or to learn something by keeping at it until it has been mastered over time — even if it takes years. Hold on to your enthusiasm and internal desires to learn things.
I asked you what your favorite thing about your birthday party was and you said it was the Olaf Pinata and your friends. I admired you so much for helping with the decorations, taking initiative at being a hostess, and for looking so proud that you were big enough to blow up balloons! I think I am happy that you will remember those things and not the neglected laundry, dust bunnies, or dishes in the sink. Memories of having lived life are far more important that the chores we didn’t get to! That said, please, no more rolled up socks and clothes thrown all over the house! Even I have my mess limits.
Happy Birthday First Born First Daughter Big Sister Wonderful You! May you live all the days of your life with the eyes and wonder of a six year old!
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