Today you are six. This is the first birthday of yours that has made me realize you are no longer a baby or a toddler. You are a little girl. And oh my G-d how that wrecks me sometimes.
This year you stepped confidently into Kindergarten. Striding through those school doors like you owned the place pausing only for a moment to wave at me and smile with a fleeting look that said, “This is a little new, but don’t worry, Mommy, I’ll be fine.” And, with that, you were gone. Off into a new world with new people and new challenges to be met head on. And you’ve done great. You amaze me. You are reading and writing and adding and subtracting and exploring and playing and you love school. I couldn’t be more proud of you and I hope that this is the beginning of a life full of learning for you.
Kindergarten also brought you a new best friend, Lauren. Actually, her “official” name is LaurenLastName just like yours is SwimmyLastName. Somehow your names are not separated – and it cracks us parents up. The two of you are inseparable and we two mommies of you best friends are thrilled. You’ve met someone who complements you and your abilities. You have supported each other and cared for each other and played and bickered and made memories. To look at the two of you, most would look twice as you are so outwardly different. You are pale-skinned, dark-featured, Jewish, petite and vivacious. She is African-American, tall, athletically-built, Baptist and introverted. Outwardly you are quite a match – even in today’s “tolerant” world. What’s important is that inwardly you have found someone who helps you blossom. And you do the same for her. And that is why we love her.
This was a year full of changes for you. The biggest one now lives in the room you used to occupy not so long ago. On July 17th you became a Big Sister. A tiny little screaming mass of perpetual hunger and giggles roared into your life and turned it upside down. It’s been an adjustment for you, but you’ve handled it well. You simultaneously love to be with him and the fact that he WORSHIPS you, but also get jealous that you are not the complete center of attention any longer. You want so badly to teach him things and do things for him that I often find myself reminding you to “be the big sister, not the mommy.” I know you don’t understand what that means, but I want you to find your own definition of that, so that when the two of you are older, you will have your own relationship. It will be a long road, but along the way the two of you will figure that out – with a little guidance from Mommy and Daddy.
You were a flower girl in OldestDaughter and The Boy’s wedding this year as well. You loved every part of wearing the beautiful dress, having your hair done, the sparkly jewels and especially walking down the aisle. But you and I spent a lot of time talking about weddings and why they are so significant. In fact, if I ask you right now what happens when you want to get married you will immediately reply, “Go see the Rabbi.” (Right after YourBoy goes to see Daddy to ask for his permission thankyouverymuch. And may G-d help your father when THAT time comes.) As you get older, this conversation will get expanded upon, but for now I think you’re starting to know that it’s more than a white dress – eventhough you love wearing mine.
Dodi and Zayde are getting you your first bike as a birthday present. The significance of this is not lost on us. We will help you pedal, help you learn your balance, take off the training wheels, watch you fall and skin your knee. We will kiss your boo-boo, watch you give up for a short time, gather your strength, get back on the bike and try again. And then, one day, we will watch you pedal away all by yourself – off to find adventure at the nearest duck pond or friend’s house and, before we know it, college dorm. This is life.
Swimmy, you are sweet, smart, beautiful, silly, sassy and wonderful. May you always be all of these things. And, on Day One of Six, thank you for bringing all of those things to our lives. Daddy and I love you very much.