We have just wrapped up a whole week of celebrating you turning six.
That's only one year older than 5. Just one bigger number. But something about 6 seems so much more. Six requires 2 hands, and I admit, I'm having a hard time with you turning 6. Birthdays 1-5 were exciting, but 6 is different. Six is no longer a baby. Not even a little kid. Six is a bona fide big kid. Over the past few days, I've teared up more than once. I hear you reading or see you standing at the kitchen sink washing your hands, and emotion washes over me.
Sadness because you are no longer that newborn baby that taught me the joy of smelling freshly bathed baby skin. You are no longer that smiling little muffin that toddled her way across our old living room for the first time. You are not even the tiny girl who insisted on skirts every day for over a year.
Pride because of the person you are becoming. Grace, you are beautiful inside and out. When I see you playing with classmates regardless of the color of their skin, their gender, or their mental abilities, it reminds me that carefree goodness is alive and well. You are growing into this little person who is realizing the effects her actions and words have on people.
You have had a big, big year! you saw the ocean for the first time, rode a horse for the first time, lost your first tooth, and learned to swim without floaties. You have shown bravery and tenacity. Last April, when you broke your arm, you hardly shed any tears. Not because you weren't in pain, but because you have this ability to show grace in stressful situations. Even when the doctor told us about the surgery you would need, the anesthesia, and all these things that were foreign and scary to me, an adult, you, the 5 year old didn't waver in your bravery.
When you started kindergarten, you and I began a new phase in our bond. We get to share a new special time together. We have such great conversations during the car rides to and from school, and I am so proud getting to walk down the hallways of the school with my daughter. Those notes you leave on my desk or in my mailbox in the workroom that read "I love you, Mama" simply make my day.
It seems that each week, your jeans get shorter. I keep telling you to slow down growing, and every time, you give me that same tilt of your head and big grin, reminding me that it's not your fault; God is making you grow. So, we'll keep buying new jeans and try to soak in every moment.
You have so many special qualities, my dear girl. You are beautiful, and special, and kind. You are compassionate, funny, and smart. You are my daughter. My first born. You are six.