You are six. I can hardly believe it. My baby is six. How is that possible? And how is it possible that you were ever not here, that you were ever not a part of our family?
This year you went to kindergarten and you were totally ready. About a week before school started you pulled out the picture Ms. Rudolph had gifted you of your pre-k class. You spent time looking at it and being sad that this would not be your class this year. You spent time grieving that things would be different. You are remarkably good at feeling your feelings, something I am still learning how to do. It is sad this year is different, and also it is wonderful. You knew to feel through the sad to get to the wonder.
You are having a particularly glorious year. Your teacher tells me you are like a tiny para-pro, keeping everyone on track and learning, even her. She says your presence in the classroom makes her a better teacher. I ask her if she is trying to say you are bossy and she shakes her head vehemently. “She is a leader, she is learning how to lead.” I smile, grateful that the adults in your life see the best in you.
This summer we went to a play date with your cousins. A kid who was much larger than you stole a ball out of your baby cousin’s hand. “Hey!” you shouted, “Give him back his ball! That is HIS ball!” The kid gave it back, deciding wisely that he did not want to tangle with you. Your cousin was delighted. Your aunt and I were not surprised.
You are an excellent advocate. Most often, you are advocating for yourself, and there certainly is a time and place to remind people it is your turn. But this gift of yours becomes exponentially more powerful when you advocate for others. Bigger kids, adults, even your mom sometimes give in because we do not want to go up against you. I am praying you can learn to know when to stand down. I am praying you know when to fight, both for yourself, and for those who need you.
Some time this summer your sister learned how to read. You have decided you need to learn as well. You resent the idea that everyone in the house has access to information before you. You are doing everything in your power to catch up. You are your biggest critic. Be gentle with yourself love. You are doing so much better than you know. You are doing so much better than you think you are. You see the world as black and white and right and wrong and good and not. I see you looking at yourself with that eye, and I want you to know that you are the only one.
Everyone else thinks you are doing great. No one else is as critical of you as you are. You are delighted in, by more people than you could ever know.
3 days ago you snuck your sister’s pink kimono robe into your book bag, you paired it with the blue sparkle boots you like to wear. You put it on over your uniform as your “jacket” and apparently marched around school all day like that. Your teacher thought we were letting you express your free spirit. We really just had no idea. It didn’t occur to you that this was out of the ordinary. We all loved it. We all love you.