To My Beautiful Baby Girl, as you turn SIX years old today:
You would definitely protest my use of the word “baby” in that first sentence.
Lately, your dad and I have been especially nostalgic as we see images on social media from when you and your brother were babies. “Look at those squishy cheeks!” we coo to you, and you implore us to “STOOPPPPP!”
But no matter if you’re six, sixteen or sixty – as long as we’re living, our baby you’ll be.
A few months ago you went off to kindergarten, and it’s been a challenging transition for me, if we’re being totally honest. I’m re-discovering who I am again and what our family dynamic will be like going forward, now that the vast majority of my days aren’t spent taking caring of you and your brother.
It’s been a really good shift, but not without its ups and downs – like most parts of life.
Over the last couple of years, my grocery store runs have fallen from three to two and finally this fall, to one. But the last eight years have engrained in my days to be looking out for three, not one. To be predicting and planning for three, not one.
(On my first solo grocery store run, I came back to the car to find the back door wide open. Without thinking, I had done what I usually do when I got out of the car – and that was to push the button to automatically open your door too!)
And the last six years have also engrained in me to constantly be physically feeling for more than myself.
I am acutely aware of just how frigid it feels in the grocery store’s freezer aisle and note that I would need a jacket for you if you were with me. I see the sun’s light creeping into my shady spot as I sit outside and recognize immediately when it turns from warm to what would be too hot for you. When I roll the windows down and the wind blows through, I notice how strong it feels against my skin and eyes – too strong for you.
I really never realized how much these things “bother” me now, simply because I know they bother you. My body has been trained to try to feel for your body as much as I can. It is motherly instinct in the physical form, and a small part of my vast love for you.
Recently, a new friend, who has a toddler, asked what it was like “now that your children are older?”
And it was a little tough for me to accurately describe my enthusiasm for this phase of life right now.
I’m not sure it’s any easier than when you were young; it’s just a different hard.
But it’s so beautiful to see how our family’s dynamic is shifting and to see what emerges each day. It’s such a beautiful process to get to know your children – to foster interests, to explore together, to express love in meaningful ways. And then to apologize yet another time and stand up together again.
Beautiful Brenna, our love for you exceeds far beyond comprehension. We are abundantly grateful for your life, for your love, for your spirit.
You are growing into such a confident and spirited person. Your voice is loud, your laughter louder. You are compassionate, empathetic, observant, stubborn, joy-filled, “people-y” (as you like to say!)…and we couldn’t be prouder to be your parents. Of all the little girls in the world, we would choose you, over and over again.
To our second-born, our only daughter, our dynamite, learner, outgoing socialite, traveler, constant companion, story enthusiast, animal-lover, best sister, silly goose with more nicknames than we can count…. Happy Birthday. We love you so.