Seven and a half. My Zoey girl, you have been amazing me for seven and a half years. Your confidence is breathtaking. I love the way you walked into your new school like you owned it, never doubting for a second that you would not just fit in, but shine, there. You are in a combined class of first and second graders, easily holding your own with all the second graders in academics. Your teacher says you have progressed more rapidly than any other kid in your class in just the first few months of school. Your appetite for reading is insatiable, and you are now exploring expressing yourself through writing as well. It has been so much fun to witness the new ways you find to share who you are and all the brilliance of your mind with the rest of the world. I wasn’t the least bit surprised when you received an academic award at the very first school assembly this fall. But watching you perform in the school’s winter music program – singing along and performing all the hand motions that once would have been such a struggle for you to keep up with – that brought tears of pride to my eyes. You were clearly enjoying yourself, proud of your own hard work and just plain having fun with it all. I can’t put into words the heart-bursting emotions I felt watching you do that.
Art continues to be one of your greatest passions in life. You are always creating something. Constantly asking me for a pencil and paper. You draw things that you know will make your little sister and brother happy. You get an idea in your head of something you want to create and jump right in, no hesitation. You cannot bear to watch us recycle a single empty box or piece of cardboard because, “I’m going to make something out of that!” Grandma got you interested in the idea of sewing during our Thanksgiving visit and you have been running with it. I’ve given you a pile of fabric scraps, which you and Ellie delight in turning into doll clothes and other treasures. You made a doll-sized pillow which you are immensely proud of.
Zoey, your spirit is so generous. You are willing to part with even your most prized possessions – art supplies, special notebooks, scented lotions – if it will bring a smile to Alden or Eleanor’s faces. You earn points at school for being on task that you can then “buy” things with, and you frequently come home with a toy or treat you bought specifically for one of your siblings. The ones you love are never far from your thoughts, and I love seeing the ways you find to show that.
You enjoy taking on more responsibility as you get older. You clearly feel pride in having assigned chores and ways to earn and spend your own money. Independence is something you relish. Most things that are expected of you at this age – academics, mainly – come easily to you and it builds your confidence. It is the physical things, like learning to ride a bike, that continue to frustrate you. Watching you navigate those things that are hard, seeing you overcome challenges without giving up, is so incredibly rewarding. You tried ice skating this winter and, like your mama, skating seems to be one sport you have a natural knack for. It’s fun to see you find something physical you enjoy, that gives you pride in yourself and what your body can do.
I’m so proud to be your mom, Zoey. I love you, for being exactly, perfectly, wonderfully, you. Always.