Thursday, June 6, 2019

To My Daughter On Her 7th Birthday

Last picture as a six year old

Dear Elizabeth,

Wow! I can't believe you're seven. My "baby" is seven and it doesn't feel like it at all. I feel like it was just yesterday that you were a toddler, telling me no, crying when I told you no, and making your brother's do things for obviously not much has changed other than your age! All joking aside, you have grown soooo much this year in character, smarts, and personality. I don't even know where to begin to recapture your last year.

Your go-along-with-anything attitude is serving you well. You try nearly everything and I've seen you face fears as long as you have mom, dad, or your brother's encouraging you. Your curiosity for the world and fearlessness to go new places and try new things thrills me! From hiking and swimming at Turner Falls (and continuing the hike despite falling on the granite mountains), to walking across the Mississippi River, to walking/skipping 10 miles in downtown Chicago. You continue to talk about all of the places you want to visit and things you want to do. Your biggest request at the moment is to go back to Florida and parasail--something you talk about often. I love how you take from other cultures and the places we visit and relate them to your own life. You take away from our experiences and for that I am grateful because it makes me feel like I'm doing something right! I am amazed when I hear your view of the world.

Sometimes it doesn't make much sense and other times it's dead on. For example, our conversation the other day: 
Elizabeth: "How do moms and dads get twins? Like, do they just have sex a bunch of times and then get more babies?" We had a great, in-depth conversation about embryos, eggs, and sperm to which you replied, "great! So twins just happen." Many times the things that come out of your mouth leave us thinking 'HUH??!!'

You came out of your shell more at school (I'd love to be a fly on the wall during your school day) and had an extremely successful year at school. You love to read and play school, which helped you grow by leaps and bounds. We were thrilled to receive your end of the year report card and discovered you were reading well above your grade level (and then some). It didn't surprise us all that much, but we're so proud of you for it!

You continue to love and excel at dance. You take your dance classes very seriously and get upset at the girls that "laugh and talk all during class. Just dance already!" I didn't do a good job of holding back my laughter when you exclaimed that one evening after class, as you were near tears, explaining what was wrong. Dad and I were impressed with your commitment to the holiday recital over Christmas. It was an additional class on Saturday morning for six weeks. The week of your first recital, was an additional seven hour commitment (on top of your regular one hour class each Wednesday). I told you from the beginning that if you signed up, you were finishing the holiday recital. I thought for sure it would be too much for you, but again you shocked me and loved every minute of it.

I hope to teach you to keep your promises, stick with your commitments, and only speak kind words while doing so. It's taken some work, but you do a great job of sticking to your commitments and promises to others. We're working really hard on the kind words at all times! Especially to your brothers and closest friends, although it's likely because they're the first to forgive you.

Being overly emotional seems to be a struggle for you, but we continue to work on turning that into one of your strengths. I love that you wear your heart on your sleeve to those closest to you. You have really come out of your shell around many friends and family. They can now see the great, funny, and challenging child you are!

I love everything about you, but my favorite thing about you is that you are you! You never give up. If you're determined to do something, you'll do it. No one can talk you into anything that you don't want to do. You have opinions and make them known. You're not afraid to speak your mind. You're happiest with your daycare friends, traveling, or going on the weekends. I love that you share my preferred go, go, go lifestyle. I have no doubt that I'll a lot to worry about with my party girl during the teenage years!

I still think of you (and sing it to you) whenever I hear the song Wildflowers. I always sang the last verse to you over and over again:
You belong among the wildflowers
You belong somewhere close to me
Far away from your trouble and worry
You belong somewhere you feel free

As you grow, it's more and more apparent that you do belong among wildflowers, but it's further and further away from me. As much as that tugs at my heartstrings, it's amazing to watch you find your footing and grow. Find what makes you happiest. I'm so lucky to be along for your ride and help make your dreams come true!

I love being your mom and what you bring to my life. Our family of five instantly felt complete the moment you were born and we continue to feel that way seven years later. Our family wouldn't be the same without you. Thank you for everything you bring to our lives. 

We love you!!!

Happy 7th Birthday Elizabeth! I can't wait to share your adventures this next year. 

Love always,


PS - Your enthusiasm for your birthday is impressive this year. When you woke this morning, you shouted at Max "tomorrow's my birthday!" Daycare friends stated you reminded them of your birthday no less than fourteen times. As you ate dinner, you continued talking about your birthday and were really excited for your birthday party at the park tomorrow. Hmm...come again? we asked.
You firmly believed the birthday invites we sent out for you AND YOUR BROTHER'S annual birthday bash were just for your birthday. 
I hope your Golden Birthday is everything you can hope for and more....because you aren't getting your trip to Florida (yet) and the party later in the month isn't just for you. 

PSS - Moments I'll never forget:

 "Is that Curious George's man dad? Why is he hugging a monkey like that? That's weird." Again, how your mind works amazes me....and often leaves me speechless.

 That time you woke up REALLY excited that it was your half birthday, so we quickly threw a 1/2 Birthday Party together for you during the day. 

 You can talk your dad and brothers into a lot.

 This jacket. I remember a lot of cute little outfits I spent a lot of money on when you were a toddler. I didn't shock me when you developed a love for GapKids at a young age.

 The day you wanted "ponies all over." I will never forget this one!

This is how I will forever picture you in my mind. Sweet little face, curls, tiny voiced, with dollies in your hands and asking for more babies (both real and fake). Your love for babies hasn't wavered (both real and fake).