Thursday, October 14, 2010
My Dearest Lily,
Today you turn six years old. I have been a mama for six years. With each passing year, as I say your age aloud, it sounds hard to believe, but six just sounds so much older than five. I mean, you are now old enough to take children's cough medicine with a doctors orders. I remember when you were such a baby, Kindergarten and six years old seemed like a lifetime away, and it was. Oh, my big girl, how I love you.
My biggest regret is that I don't have more time every single day for just you and I. You are the easiest of the bunch and you love your siblings more than I ever could have hoped for from their biggest sister. But it does mean that my time alone with you gets cut short. We have so much fun together. Crafting, cuddling, talking. I love it when you come ask me for some cuddle and talking time. I love it that you often choose that over an activity or a book. When I was pregnant with Bryson, you wanted to lie in bed and talk about our baby that was coming, rather than have a bed time story. I love talking with you. You, sweetheart, have some very important things to say, to wonder about. I can always think of ways I could be a better mama to you. Sometimes so much so that I don't see that I have anything to do at all with the amazing girl you are. But if I credit myself for even the smallest portion of who you are, I am a huge success. This is because you are incredible. You are kind. You are thoughtful. You are conscientious.
You are so intelligent. You are loving and compassionate. You are fast. You are strong. You are healthy. You work hard. You are helpful. You are careful. You are caring. You are beautiful, inside and out. You are independent. You are a teammate. You are a daddy's girl. You are a mommy's girl. You are brave. You are well-behaved. You are well-spoken. You are a leader. You are imaginative. You are creative. You give and receive love so freely, but on your terms. You never fake it. You are genuine.
If I would have made a list of all the things I would have wanted you to be by the time you were six, you are all of them and more. I am humbled and awed by that sentence I just typed. I can't think of one trait, one characteristic in a child, a daughter that I would have wished for that you are not. How in the world did I get so blessed? I don't know why God chose me to be your mama, but I think Him every day that He did. Every single day, I think that I come up short of the mother you deserve. But you are lucky. Because every single day, I rededicate myself to being the best mama I can be. You forgive me every time I ask, and I try to always remember to ask. You are always surprising me. Sometimes it's because you are smarter than I expect and sometimes it's because you are piecing together the way the world works better than I can image, and sometimes your will for things to be your way is so strong that you cannot be budged. While that's not always convenient for me, I hope that as you take shape into the person you will be come for your whole life, you keep your strong will, the one you've had since birth, and put it to use for greatness.
Right now you are starting to read, you're good at soccer, you are growing your bangs out, complex math and fractions comes easy to you. You never count on your fingers, and roll your eyes because counting by 2's, 5's, or 10's comes so easy to you. You love having the right answer in class, and you usually do. You love your teacher, Mrs. O. You are fun to play games with, and you are very good at games made for kids a few years older than you are. Your siblings love you. Bryson would follow you around all day and laugh at all the things you do. He thinks you hung the moon.
I still remember your first birthday, five years ago. Daddy wrote you a letter. I have it somewhere, I'll post it if I can find it. You got a Marlo Thomas CD and we danced and danced to Free to be You and Me before you went to bed that night. It's mind blowing how long ago that seems, and yet how vivid I can remember every detail of the night. How I can taste my exhaustion, how I can remember my love for you. Dancing around the living room, with you over my shoulder, laughing and resting my cheek on your purple polka dot feetie pajamas.
Sometimes you act weird. I'm sorry, BUT YOU DO! Like company will come and rather than say "Hi" you will roll around all of the floor on your back. What is that? Okay, so if I would change one thing, that might be it. Oh, and EAT faster!! You are the slowest eater known to man. I'm worried that once you have lunch at school you will come home every single day starving. STARVING because you just got your lunch bag open and it was time to clean up. You like to talk and not eat. You need to learn to do both. But not with your mouthful of course. I would never endorse that!
We will have pancakes for dinner because that's what you want. Daddy makes such a fun pancake dinner that you just love having that. I'm not much of a pancake eater. But you and Daddy have changed that, because everyone eats so much and so well, it's hard not to be on board for that for every meal. You have become a decent eater, you used to be much more picky, but you have grown up some in realizing that you must eat to get dessert. Cause and effect. Reward and punishment has always worked well for you. You need to know what you have to do to get something and what you will earn if you do something.
You have a tender heart. You cry and cry after watching anything on TV that has any conflict. You get so worried for people. So we watch a lot of Dora and Sesame Street and Sid the Science Kid. We read "The Giving Tree" a while back and you fell apart because that boy took everything the tree had. Things make you really sad. That's how I am. You got that from me. Sometimes it will be frustrating because you will cry and feel sad when others don't. But mostly it's a good thing. Your heart feels things just a little more than everyone else. Good and bad. So when it's good it's good and when it's not, it hurts more. But it's really feeling. You really feel things.
You have graduated to a larger scrapbook of your own. The first one that isn't a spiral bound sketch book but a real 12x12 book. It's a little more expensive, but you really do have the idea of how to make themes for pages and always ask someone to journal in a corner of something you dictate. I love that. Again, wish there was more time to do such things together, without the risk of little brother and sis coming along and destroying.
You LOVE to laugh. And you love it when anyone else laughs. If you could bottle laughter, you would. You never want it to end. Even to your own detriment. From your reaction to things it is obvious that you just love the way it feels when other people laugh. Then you say silly things like, "why did you laugh when I said that?". You are always wanting to get to the bottom of things.
Your big brown eyes are gorgeous. Everyone who meets you likes you. Even though sometimes you give people a run for their money (like you AuPairs!). You mostly like to do the right thing, recite the rules, ensure that others follow them, and teach people things. But you are stubborn and that doesn't always go over so well for you! But not usually to your teachers. They always say things like they wish they had a whole class full of Lily's, or that you are the only kid in class they could trust with such and such a thing, or that you are such a helpful kid to be around.
Lil, I could write for 10 more paragraphs. There is so much I could say about you. So much I love about you. So much about you that drives me absolutely bonkers, but I wouldn't change you a bit (like you would you stubborn little thing!). I remember the first time you looked at a picture of me and you together and you said, "Mama" as you pointed to me. It hit me in a different way that I am someone's mama. Like for the rest of my life someone will look at my picture and know that I am their mom. It's hard, even now, to wrap my head around that.
I loved the day I married your dad. The day I graduated from college. The day we bought a house. The day I moved across the country by myself. Those were all milestones in my life. They changed the course of my life. And I love things that came after you, too. Addie and Bryson bring me as much joy in my life as you do. And the interaction of the three of you is worth your weight in gold. The love you have for them and they for you is something I could have never expected to expand my heart so much. That I would love watching other people love other people, and that just that act would make me love them all more for it.
But October 14. That's the day that truly changed me. That's the day I became a mother. The day that I was forever more concerned with something on the outside of me, than something on the inside. It's the day that will continue to define the changes in me through the years. It's the day that has developed friendships, and bonds, and understanding in other people, other mothers, parents, in ways beyond what I could have imagined. And it's the day that changed the love I have for your Grandma Lanie - I finally get it. The importance of the day. The importance of your day and why it's my day too. Why my day is her day too.
Today I celebrate you, my beautiful little baby girl. But I also celebrate me, and the day that I became a mommy. The most important job I will ever have, the most rewarding love I will ever feel while on this earth. Thank you for being a daughter who fills me up day after day with hugs and kisses and love. I will forever be proud of you, and thank God for giving me you as a gift.
You are amazing,