and believe it or not?
i'm writing her seven year old letter to her ... WITHIN 19 DAYS OF HER BIRTHDAY.
(which may totally distract you from the fact that i haven't written anything else here in ... um ... forever.)
yep. you still are driving me crazy cakes. and i'm kinda realizing that this just may be what i'm destined for in life ... so i might as well suck it up and get used to it. (all while stocking up on wine and margarita mix.)
i had a beautiful maternity photography session today ... and i decided to keep out my camera while the sun was retreating into the tippity tops of the pine trees so that i could capture a photograph of you ... because i was bound and determined to write this letter tonight.
and you know me. i don't post well without a photo.
so i did.
and i asked you to smile.
and i asked you to pose.
and i asked you to step slightly to the left so that i could attempt some gorgeous sunflare.
and you did.
because you are the most willing model on the face of the planet.
you did this.
while waiting for me to get something or other together ...
and it is my most favorite picture from tonight ... probably because you aren't smiling. and you aren't posing. and you aren't stepping a foot to the left. you are just standing there being you.
(complete with the remnants of last week's black eye. courtesy of another first grader that wasn't supposed to be on the monkey bars at school as you were running below. though i'm fairly positive that you should always look before running under monkey bars.)
and that makes me fall in love with you all over again.
these are the things that i love about you. seven to be exact ... though just like every other year ... it's incredibly hard to narrow it down.
i love that mole just below your left collarbone. i love that there is a mole in your hairline. i love that you are this unique individual. in looks and in attitude and in your beauty. and in your sense of who you are.
speaking of attitude.
i love that you have some. i love that you question everything. i *hate* that you question everything ... especially when i ask you to do something and then you ask "why?" ... but someday ... i hope you question EVERYTHING. because it is your innate ability to question the things around you that will keep you safe. and intelligent.
you love. beyond anything measurable. you love.
you just do.
you love your family. you love your friends. you love your possessions. and you would fight for them if it came down to that.
and i hate knowing that this trait is probably going to cause endless heartache someday for you ... but i promise to always be there ... even when you don't want me to ...
that smile of yours.
no. not that one. not the fake "say cheese" smile that comes out that looks utterly painful ... teeth clenched and eyes drilling.
the one that is head tilted back giggling happy. the eyes that smile bigger than your lips. the true smile that doesn't come out near often enough but that i treasure whenever it makes it's grand appearance.
your ability to read.
it happened. one day this year ... you just happened to click ... you went from reading simple books with simple sentences on colorful pages ... to reading BOOKS. real live books. books with plots and characters. books that have glorious words filling the pages and simple drawings here and there that just help to lead your imagination through them. you read aloud to your siblings. you read aloud to yourself. you quietly read in bed. you pour through books and signs and catalogs. you read.
your desire to learn.
first grade is the best grade that you've ever been in ... according to you. in fact. you kinda just want to stay in first grade forever. or ... i wonder if you are just so enamoured with your first grade teacher. she's been wonderful for you. and i promise ... that if you are anything like i was ... you'll adore every teacher that you have. well. most every teacher. you're bound to encounter someone interesting somewhere along the line.
but you do love learning. and you remember everything. i just hope we can keep up with you ... and help to challenge you along the way.
the balance of who you are.
because not only do you love learning. but you love being active. and music. and art. and imagination. and helping. and solitude. and ... i think i always dreamed that my children would be balanced. and that they would have enough exposure to everything that they could then decide what they wanted their life focus to become ... and you are fulfilling that dream of mine. which was actually a dream for you. and i just hope that you grow up happy. and fulfilled.
knowing that you are loved beyond measure.
by so. many. people.
even when you drive us bonkers.
you. are. loved.
as big as the universe, my dear.