The day you were born was the happiest day of my life. I tell you that all the time. There was so much joy in that delivery room you could practically eat it with a spoon. The six years since then have been just as filled with laughter, smiles, happiness and love.
I look at you and you still always seem so little to me. As if my brain paused you at three, or maybe four. I find myself constantly having to pause and adjust – cognitively and emotionally – when I catch you doing all the “big kid” things. Buckling and unbuckling your own car seat harness. Riding your “big girl” bike (training wheels still on) in the cul de sac. Putting your face in the water at swim lessons without an ounce of hesitation.
On Monday you start first grade and I’m finding that tough to swallow. Mere days past your sixth birthday, how can you be going into first grade already? Zoey was only starting kindergarten at this age! Perhaps that’s what makes it difficult to accept. You’re doing everything she did a full year younger.
You are on the cusp of reading. So close to that switch flipping on and then you’ll be unstoppable. You enjoy arts and crafts, but mostly when someone else is leading the activity. When left to your own creative devices you usually prefer to cut paper into a million tiny pieces (you’ll claim they are tickets, or money) and scatter them throughout the house, driving me bonkers.
Given the choice, you’ll wear a dress almost every day. You love dresses, the fancier the better. Wearing it won’t slow you down on the playground though. Or on a bike. Or in a tree. Or even a mud pit, for that matter. In your world, dresses are for wearing, if you know what I mean. You also love the typically “girly” play: My Little Ponies, Barbies, baby dolls and dress-up. You prefer to go about your every day business while wearing a crown whenever possible. The poor, beat-up cardboard crown from Burger King has received a lot of love from you. Not to worry: Zoey has a beautiful, sparkly silver tiara from Claire’s wrapped up and waiting for you to open tomorrow. I can’t wait to see your eyes pop out of your head when you do.
Your favorite “go to” make believe game is pretending you’re either going to or having a wedding. Two back-to-back weddings a year ago sparked that fire in you and it’s been burning bright ever since. You may very well have a future as a wedding planner, with your passion for all things fancy.
Then again, perhaps you’ll be a chef. You love to cook, and every time you help prepare a meal you proudly tell us, “You know it will be good because it always is when I help make it!” There’s an Easy Bake Oven with your name on it waiting for you tomorrow. Grandma knew exactly what you would like! It will be great to see what you make for us, and I imagine many tea parties will be demanded.
You also adore animals, with rabbits still topping the list. You tell us you are part bunny and with your love of vegetables – especially carrots – you almost have me convinced.
Being a big sister to Dinah has brought out a new side of you I’d never seen before. Your transition to “big sister” when Alden was born was…lukewarm at best. You weren’t thrilled, and more or less ignored him for a good two and half years. With Dinah, you have relished her sweet babyness and are always happy to help by singing her songs, rocking her and keeping her company. You’ve warmed up to Alden a lot, too, and when Zoey isn’t around you and he have quite a lot of fun together. I have loved seeing you embrace the role of big sister and explore the fun in it.
Eleanor, there are so many wonderful things about you. You’ve got the sweetest heart, while also fierce as a dragon. You are loyal and kind, funny and smart. Big and little at the same time, and always, always, our pride and joy.