Eleanor At 5 (and a half) Years Old

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Five is such a magical age. I can’t believe you’re already halfway through it. So many big changes for you this year. Moving out of state to a new home. You started kindergarten. You’re getting another little brother or sister. I am so proud of how well you’ve handled all these changes. You are so brave, so optimistic, always able to find the silver lining of any situation.

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At school, you are working so hard on coming out of your shy shell. You made one friend, right off the bat, and you two have bonded so well. She helps you feel confident and unafraid to be yourself, to share your silly, creative ideas. It took months for you to warm up to your new school, to feel brave enough to even say your name in front of the class or speak up at circle time. You are slowly finding and expanding your comfort zone. Just this week you finally started playing with another student at recess, instead of wandering alone on the blacktop.

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Even though you are getting older, nothing brings you more comfort than “Day,” your special blanket. It’s the first thing you want when you get home from school. You’ve finally transitioned fully away from taking afternoon naps, but I think you’re still tired after a morning at school. I have to be careful not to let you curl up on the couch with Day for more than a couple minutes because you’ll fall asleep, every time.

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Girl Scouts has really helped grow your confidence as well. I was so proud of the way you marched up to strangers’ doors and delivered your spiel, hawking cookies like a pro. You headed off to your first sleepover without batting an eye. I think it helps that your sister is along for these adventures. You balance each other so well; she gives you confidence, makes you feel brave, while you help her navigate norms and expectations.  The bond between you two is truly breathtaking to watch: you are each other’s best friends, and there is a very subtle but incredibly strong dynamic in which each of you supports and strengthens the other. Like yin and yang, you are both bigger, better, more wholly yourselves when you are working together.

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You’ve come so far in your role as a big sister this year as well. I was worried how you would respond to the idea of another baby, given that you weren’t particularly thrilled about ceding your spot as “the baby” to Alden when he came along. Your reaction was one of instant joy and excitation. I think you have some reservations about how much of mom’s and dad’s attention will be given to the baby, but you’re excited to meet, cuddle and love on your newest sibling. You’ve really warmed to Alden these past few months. You create games for him to play, cheer him on in potty training, try to comfort him when he is sad or hurt.

You, Eleanor, have one of the kindest hearts I have ever known. You instinct is always to help, to sacrifice for others, to be the peacemaker. Always, you are the one first willing to reach (or even surpass) middle ground. Your forgiveness is always freely and readily offered. You frequently surprise me with your insights into ways to show you care about others. You’re a born caregiver. My only hope is that you will also grow to realize your own worth, to know that you are as equally deserving of love and attention as those you dote upon. You truly are amazing, sweet girl.

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I love the way your silliness and imagination have really blossomed of late. You have so many creative ideas, and you are never afraid to share them within your trusted circle. I love seeing the way your brain works. Like many five year olds, you think “potty humor” is the highest form of comedy, and you’re always ready to wield it.

My sweet, funny, loving, brave, strong, smart Eleanor: I love you to the farthest star and back.

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