This little lady of mine. This six-year old. I love her so much. I love her laugh and her sparkling grey-green eyes. I love her funny jokes that don’t make any sense. I love her light step and the way she bounds through life with an unmatched energy and charisma. There are so many more things to love about her at this age. Here are just a few of them:
- She lights up a room. There’s a word for this kind of girl: bubbly. Whenever I take her anywhere she tends to meet every stranger, tell them everything about herself, exude confidence and camaraderie, and leave everyone around her smiling. Just the other day I took her to Starbucks for her birthday outing (Starbucks is her favorite place because of the pink cake pops, obviously.) Within minutes, half the restaurant was engaged in talking to her about her plans to see Swan Lake with mom and how it was almost her birthday and someday she is going to be a ballerina, too. Her laughter fills voids in a way that continues to echo even after she has gone home or gone to bed.
- She loves to be a big sister. This past year I have seen her ooh and ahh in a special way over Archer in all his newness. From the beginning, she seemed to have a special connection with him. He was the most calm when he was in her arms. She loved to sing to him. And now she loves to play with him and chase him and he lights up at the sound of her voice.
And she and Henry have a special friendship. They are always inventing games together. She loves to show him things. I am often surprised by things Henry knows how to do, and he always tells me, “Livvy taught me.” Today we stopped by Olivia’s classroom and she took great pride in getting him some breakfast, showing him how to make a journal entry and letting him do all the other morning check-in activities that cool Kindergarteners like to do.
And she and Ellie stay up way past bedtime every night. Talking and reading and giggling. We had to make a rule that they could only sleep in the same bed on weekend nights because they just like each other too much. I hope that’s always the problem they face. I often see them together, in ballet class, at recess, silently reaching for the other’s hand and holding tight. I think some of her confidence comes from knowing she has Ellie in her corner.
- She loves to twirl. She loves to dance. Every moment of every day. If her feet aren’t dancing, her heart is. Her ballet teacher often asks her to demonstrate the jetes (leaps) because somehow she just instinctually knows how to do them. When we went to Swan Lake, she spent every intermission jete-ing to and fro in her white dress, pretending to be the swan princess. “What’s her name again, mom?” “Odette.” “Yeah! I’m Odette!” She is also very into arabesques. The other day she said, “It’s good that we have two hands! Otherwise we wouldn’t be able to give hugs! Or do arabesques! Or hold the dustpan!” All important things, I think.
- She is blossoming so much in school. Her reading has taken off, and she takes so much pride in being able to express herself through writing. Reading her journal entries at school makes me laugh, and I love seeing what she thought was important enough to write down. Ellie is also a big fan of writing, and when she got a new notebook and Olivia got something else, she made it clear that she also wanted a notebook because she has lots of important things to write. Her teachers adore her. And who can blame them.
- She is eager and enthusiastic and always willing to try new things, as long as they don’t involve a lot of walking. We’re going to have to work on her stamina a bit.
- She is so delighted by simple things. A good dancing song. A great spinny dress. Sparkly shoes. New markers. A great snuggle with a special stuffy. She is easily contented and quickly at home wherever she goes.
- She has such a kind and gentle soul. She comforts friends who are having a hard day. She is the first to offer her favorite remedy – band-aids – to anyone who is hurt. She always wants to show people what she’s doing, write special notes on any scrap of paper she can find, and lavish love on those around her.
- She has big plans. A couple of months ago she wanted to be a baby doctor, as long as she could have a baby of her own, as well. Now she’s thinking more along the lines of water ballerina (synchronized swimmer). She also has plans for us to travel the world together and will often refer to,”When mom and I go on a trip all around the world…”
- I love being “glasses girls” with her. I know it’s not trendy anymore to match with your kids, but everyone knows I will match with her just as long as she lets me. The glasses are our bond. I always felt out of place as a child, being the only one in my family who wore glasses. I’m glad she and I are in it together.
Since the moment she was born, I’ve always known there was something very familiar about her. It has always seemed like I’ve known her for a very long time. More than anyone, she looks like me and my family and I love to see our past and future in her eyes, in her still-small frame, in her hopes and dreams.
- She still loves to snuggle. She will still crawl into my lap even as she is getting so big and long. She loves to give hugs. She loves to love. When asked what she wants to do, her response is usually something like, “Never un-snuggle with mama.”
It is a beautiful and terrible thing to see her growing up. Beautiful because she is truly a wonderful human being. Terrible because it is all happening too fast. She lost her first two teeth this year. She started Kindergarten. She learned to read. She grew like a weed. Six. Six? Can it really be six years? I don’t know why it is that with her especially it never seems like there is quite enough time. That before I’ve caught my breath there she is, reading a whole book by herself. There she is, another year older. There she goes out into the world.
My prayer for her is that she will always feel this confident, this delighted with life. That she will always love her family the way she does now. That she will always snuggle under the covers, telling her sister secrets. That she will always love dark parties and spinny dresses. I pray that she will always have a heart of compassion for those around her who are hurting. That she will always offer a smile and a helping hand. May she always be kind and generous with her love. May she always write love notes and jete her way through life.
Oh Livvy, my love. I’ll keep you forever and ever.