This morning you asked me, "Mom, aren't you so happy it's my birthday today?"
I wanted to tell you how very happy I was but the words caught in my throat and I had to stifle tears instead. How is it possible that you, darling girl, are already six years old?
So much has happened since your last birthday. We surprised you with a trip to DisneyWorld, just you and Daddy and I; it was an amazing experience to have you to ourselves for a week and to witness the wonder you had for the characters and rides and scenery. Shortly after that trip I turned our lives upside down by going to work full time. You and Michael entered all day preschool/daycare at a local center. Despite being anxious about the transition, and missing your friend Noah, you absolutely blossomed in your new environment. You loved being in a class with other children heading for kindergarten and took no time at all to make friends and stake a place in the group. (Of course your wonderful teacher, Mrs. J, also helped you find your way.)
You took on a special role with your brother, as Michael had a hard time leaving Daddy each morning. You were proud to be his comforter and sweetly checked in on him throughout the day. Witnessing your relationship with Michael is one of the most special things about watching you grow. While you often drive each other crazy, fighting as only siblings can, you are a loyal and fierce defender of your brother. You understand Michael's speech better than any of us and you always know how to make him laugh - even when we don't want you to!
You are in kindergarten this year. Even though you had very rich preschool experiences, I think of this as your first "real" school experience. You adore your teacher and love going to school. You complain when there is an unexpected day off. You are capable in the classroom and, while Daddy and I are very proud of your academic skills, we were so happy to go to your recent conference and hear that you are kind and respectful with your peers. You try to be a good helper and a good friend.
You have a huge heart Harper and this sometimes means that your feelings are easily hurt. Kindergarten has proven to be an entirely new social landscape and you've already had some bumps and bruises in a world that you expect to conquer easily. The kinks in friendship you are experiencing these days take little guidance to work through but they hint at the difficulties we all face in adolescence and I cringe to think of the hurts to come. I can only hope that the confidence and security you feel now will still be with you when those days arrive and that you will be as willing as you are now to share your troubles with me.
This fall has brought many new experiences for you. Aside from beginning kindergarten you also played on your first basketball team and took acting classes. You greeted both activities with equal enthusiasm, the same way you greet many new challenges. It just doesn't occur to you that you won't enjoy or be good at something - another attitude I hope you are able to hang on to for a long time!
Every year I marvel at how you've grown and what you've learned - this year is no exception. You can swim, you can read, you have traded Sesame Street for reruns of Full House, and your new favorite color is blue. You have a gap in your smile from a missing tooth. You are long and tall and adore your hair cut in a bob. You love musicals and pirates and play in the wilds of your own imagination for hours.
You amaze me Harper, every single day. I am so proud to be your mother and will continue to do my best to live up to the job.
There is an A. A. Milne poem, "The End," that I love and the last bit goes like this:
But now I am Six, I'm as clever as clever.
So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever.
That sentiment fits you very well and yet... You won't be six for ever sweet girl, but you are six for now, and I plan to enjoy it while it lasts. I have a feeling you will, too.
I love you Harper.