Eleanor At Seven Years Old

Six has been such a magical age for you, Eleanor. You lost your first tooth, and then another, and were visited by the Tooth Fairy. You believe fairies live in our backyard. You went to a Royal Ball and to Disneyland, where meeting actual Princesses lit up your face with delight and wonder.

Our little athlete, you love to always be moving and active. You’ve learned to ride your bike with confidence and ease. Gymnastics is still something you love and always look forward to doing. This past year saw your first two mini-meets, where you joined in an exhibition of your skills along with your fellow gymnasts. Seeing the pride in your face as you showed us all you can do was such a happy moment for me. Swim lessons went much better this year, as you really enjoyed it and I could see you were trying your best. In softball, you finally got some hits and some runs. When you ran the mile in the Boise Capitol Classic this year, you beat your older sister by a significant margin. All around, I think you have yet to try a sport you don’t like.

Beautiful. That word has defined you since the moment you were born and continues to hold true. Sometimes I look at you and you actually take my breath away. Those eyelashes, framing stunning, wide blue eyes. That friendly smile in a face with impossibly smooth skin. Just the slightest hint of freckles across your nose and cheeks. I look at you and sometimes I can see exactly what you’ll look like as a teenager, as an adult, and you are stunning. I know I’m biased – half those genes are my own, after all – but Eleanor, you really are beautiful.

Watching your relationship with your siblings develop and strengthen has been one of the greatest joys of my life, Ellie. When left to your own devices, you and Alden create elaborate make-believe scenes that often have you both rolling with giggles. I love the way you listen to his ideas and incorporate them into your playing, making him feel valued and treating him as an equal. It can be frustrating to have a little brother with the special needs that Alden has, but you don’t let that deter you from seeing all the things he can do, which makes you a pretty extraordinary and wonderful person. Your love for Dinah has awakened a maternal side of you, and one of your favorite activities now is caring for your stuffed Baby. Swaddling, feeding, baby wearing – the whole shebang. You’re a little mama, and a natural at it. As always, you and Zoey are two peas in a pod. So close that I can’t imagine you being closer if you had been twins. You each know exactly how to play with each other, how to drive the storyline of your trips to Fairyland and defeating the evil Bugle Boys (the bad fairies, or so you tell me). When you two are together, everyone else often seems to disappear as you immerse yourselves in the most imaginative worlds. The Yang to her Yin, you balance and complement each other.

You’re steadily becoming braver and more confident, going off to Girl Scout camp and interacting easily with your group of friends. Watching you blossom in your social group has been so heartwarming. I was so worried your introvert tendencies would create barriers for you in making friends, but I clearly needn’t have worried. You’re a natural social butterfly, navigating an astonishingly large group of friends with ease. You seem to be well-liked by many, despite being younger than everyone else in your grade.

There have been so many little moments this past year when I’ve swelled with pride for you, Little One: Countless times, I have seen you mediate a conflict between others. Always the one to compromise, always the people-pleaser, I adore the compassion and innate kindness of your soul. I hope you’ll always direct that kindness toward both others and yourself, and not allow others to take advantage of it. At times, I have overheard you stick up for yourself against a girl who was trying to put you down. You defiantly told her, “I am just fine the way I am. I like me!” I hope you never lose that fierce determination to stay true to yourself, to love yourself in the face of adversity. I have seen you struggle at trying new things, finding it overwhelmingly difficult at times, yet still never giving up. You have determination, tenacity, a strong will and burning desire to never let a challenge stop you from something you truly want. Eleanor, do you know how incredible you are? A girl like you could run this world someday. Truly, you are inspiring. How can someone so little be so incredibly tough and yet so soft and gentle at the same time? You are the best of everything, Eleanor. You really are.

Happy Birthday, Eleanor. May year seven be as delightful and surprising and full of laughter as you are!

Love, Mom.

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