Letter to Laurel
Today you are 7 years old. I’ve been joking that when you turn seven (and head to second grade, and start soccer, and…) I will sob like a baby. Because somehow 7 seems like the threshold of a new phase of childhood. You’re moving on up from little kid to big kid. I couldn’t stop you if I tried. Despite my anticipated blubbering, I wouldn’t want to.
On your sixth birthday I reflected on the ways I’ve seen you evolve each year of your life. This year –- amidst the major transitions our family has undergone -– I have been struck by the remarkable qualities you possess despite your young years. Here are 7 that are top of mind:
1. You’ve grown so courageous and confident this year. You no longer shrink into my side around people you don’t know. You now interact with kids you don’t know at the park. You've grown into your body and now love cannonballing into pools and playing catch. You even signed up for soccer this fall.
2. You are a loyal protector. You engage a protective stance in front of your baby sister when you sense that other kids aren’t being careful around her. This spring you offered to take Violet’s shots for her to spare her the discomfort.
3. You embody such deep love for your family. Our home is replete with dedicated-to-Mom-Dad-and-Violet artwork and notes like this. There’s a PBS Kids word game you like to play and whenever it asks you for your favorite word, without fail you type in “family.” You’ll jump on one foot to the point of exhaustion just because it makes Violet laugh.
4. You have such a sweetly generous spirit. You're constantly making things for me, Daddy, and Violet. Last week I gave you a few dollars of spending money and instead of buying yourself candy, you bought me candy + the supplies to make me a card.
5. You have a creative spirit and focus that seems beyond your years. The artwork around the house tells the tale. As does your love for piping entire cakes with a little star tip. As does the fact that you've taught yourself Beatles songs on the piano.
6. Your empathy is ever present. You used to be the toddler who, when at day care, would toddle over and rub the back of a crying friend. Now when I’m looking tired (or groaning about aches and pains), you say, “Mommy, you need to relax and take care of yourself. Make time for yourself.” (Duly noted, my sweet doot kitten.)
7. You’ve grown even more helpful and flexible over the last year. Earlier this year after a really cranky morning, I wrote about my fears of flexibility breeding spoiled behavior. And while yes, you do have very strong opinions about things, you’ve also grown incredibly flexible...particularly following Violet’s arrival.
There's so much more to you, but I'll stop at these 7 things. What gifts they are.
When my mom -- your Halmoni -- sees you hugging me around the waist or watches Violet’s tears turn to smiles when I come into the room, she often says, “What would babies do without their mothers?” I agree, and I also can't help but wonder what I would do without you in my life. You bring so much love and joy to us every day Laurel. Happy birthday sweet girl.