My darling Sun Bun,
Happy SIXTH Birthday, sweet girl.
For the first time, you are able to read this letter to yourself. You may need some prompting here or there. Like when I say that you are EXCEPTIONAL. Or SPLENDIFEROUS. Or SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS. (Actually, you’ll probably nail that last one, as Julie Andrews has made a strong appearance in the Cart household this year. Sound of Music and Mary Poppins helped us survive the onslaught of negative 20 degree days this winter).
Your world has positively exploded since you’ve conquered the written word. Street signs. T-shirts. Posters in storefront windows. Words on the computer. I can see the look of pride and confidence on your face as you explore this new skill that gives you greater understanding of the world around you. Literacy is so empowering. And while I’ve always known that, it’s been profound to witness that impact firsthand.
Of late, bedtime routine includes you reading aloud to your sister a series of 3 or 4 books before Daddy or I read to you both. It is one of the most heart-meltingly endearing scenes to witness your little sister cozied up by your side as you read to her without pause or hesitancy. (It’s outstanding how smoothly and easily you read through the pages – what a gift to have it come so painlessly (spoken from a woman who couldn’t read until the second grade!)). Just yesterday, Courtland and I returned home from some errands to find you perched on the front porch with both dogs at your side, book in lap, curated stack at your feet.
Mama, I’m reading the dogs some stories because it makes them happy.
You have absolutely no idea just how happy you make me, my darling girl.
This weekend, you swung in the hammock, reading quietly to yourself as though you were a contented adult, enjoying the restful pace of a Sunday afternoon, blissfully engrossed in your Beatrix Potter series.
As you may suspect from these reflections, Kindergarten has been a huge success. A year of so much learning and exploration. New friends. New school. New adventures. And your adaptable, easy going personality has made the transition seamless and happy, something for which Daddy and I can take very little credit. You are remarkably flexible and content, and it has made this year a joy for all.
Most notably you, who has informed me that you love school so much that sometimes you wish you could go to school on the weekend, except that you wish you didn’t have to wake up early, because that’s the worst part of school.
Spoken like your mother’s daughter. You and I are comrades in morning contempt, and that has been solidified more than ever thanks to your school bus’s early arrival.
Daddy knows to wake you early and pile you in bed with me, and we lie around moaning and groaning and stirring to life while Daddy makes coffee and walks the dogs and your sister happily staggers around the house singing an array of her made-up, silly songs, cheery morning person that she is. I am sorry to have bestowed this hatred upon you, though I do love sharing the morning grumps with a fellow night owl. I can only imagine what the high school years have in store…
This year your love affair with the water grew to mermaid levels, and you learned to ski with much enthusiasm. You presented at an Odyssey of the Mind competition and danced in The Nutcracker to the nostalgic and adoring tears of your grandparents and auntie. This coming weekend you’ll perform again in your end of your recital dressed as Minnie Mouse in yellow tap shoes (so stinking adorable). You’re learning the violin, and can do addition and subtraction in your head. You love rainbows as much as ever (nearly every page of your journal at school includes a rainbow in your daily drawing) and I’m endlessly inspired by the tenderness and care you bestow upon your sister, your dogs, your whole family.
We so adore parenting you, my love. I cannot wait to see what this year has in store. It just gets better and better.
Happiest Sixth Birthday.
P.S. You were born on a Monday, and so this birthday has special significance for your mama who was thinking about that Sunday evening of labor as I sat on this Sunday evening writing your birthday letter. What an incredible six years it’s been since that night of eating carbonara, watching “The Wire” and feeling the earth tremble beneath our feet in a typical LA earthquake on the eve of your birth.