Today is your sixth birthday.
I'm rather remiss this year, writing to you at 10:10pm, after the festivities are finished, after both birthday and Christmas are retired for yet another year. You are sitting on the couch right now, in your new pink penguin pajamas, playing with yet another obnoxious electronic game, the fascination of which is something you've managed to gain this year. (Streaks of your father in you, no doubt.)
Even if I could have predicted the roller-coaster ride my life would take over the last twelve months, I don't know if I would have done anything differently in being your mom. I found myself being purposeful in my actions toward you; trying my best not to take out frustration or outside hurt on you. You are as ever my bright, blonde shining star, even when it seems you don't want to hear what I have to say.
I was so excited to have you along for the ride during our summer trips this year. You were aware enough to ask questions about the things you saw in the airport and the reasons why things appeared outside your car window. You tease me about my musical obsessions, saying things like "Mommy, you love John Mayer!" And when I tell you "no, I love John Mayer's music; I love Daddy" you simply giggle and roll your eyes, a mere shadow of the teenager brewing inside and awaiting her debut in six short years.
You're halfway there, Girl. Take it easy on us for a little while, won't you?
Last year's letter could also have never predicted the fact that you will become a big sister in a little less than a week. When we told you that we would have a new baby, you found out on the same day we did. I took the fateful test, had a private conversation with your dad, and then we looked at each other and simply called you into the room. The last seven and a half months or so have been filled with questions from you, mostly to do with when the baby would come (after your birthday), whether it would be a brother or sister (sister, as evidenced by the ultrasound you got to witness in August, and I will never forget your expression and giggle as you watched the alien ballet on the screen while the technician scanned my belly), and reminders that you will be a good helper, and will remember to keep your toys off the floor.
I suppose I'll be writing another of these letters next week, and your presence in our new baby's life will be paramount. She will look up to you, and, one big sister to another, it will be your job to talk to her when she won't talk to me, as much as I hate to think either of you would ever be in that position. Until that time, my sweet Girl, enjoy your world of princesses and imagination, and be willing to share it with your sister when she asks.
Another situation I could never have fathomed was your need for speech therapy. It came upon me not long ago that some of your adorable proclivities weren't resolving themselves, and true enough, the school's analysis rang true. I believe you will grow out of it; I believe half of your issue is that you are thinking at twice the speed your mouth will move. But I also believe you are you, and you will adjust in your own time, just as you always have. You'll start the therapy when you return to school in January for the second half of Kindergarten, and you'll tackle it with aplomb, just as you swam circles around the other kids in your Level 1 swimming class this fall.
I am, as ever, inordinately proud of your growth, physically, intellectually and emotionally. This year will be another of firsts, from learning to live with a new baby, to riding your bike without training wheels, to advancing in swimming lessons and perhaps tackling a new activity (dance or basketball? Whatever you'd like, my Girl.) Sometimes you'll win, and sometimes you'll lose. You won't always be top of your class, or the best, or the most special. Learn your moments and take pride that you have done your own best. I always will.
The world is your oyster, and you are a pearl in it. Never ever doubt that; for even as imperfect as they sometimes are, they each contribute beauty and depth to the world, in their own special way.
I love you, my dear, sweet, firstborn Girl. Happy Sixth Birthday.