Rosemary June, today we celebrate you and the six magnificent years of your life. We celebrate your silliness, joy, creativity, passion, and gusto. I will be thankful every single day for the rest of my life that when God was designing our child, he designed you.
You had a lot thrown at you this year - a big move, a new school, kindergarten - and while I won't say that it was all handled with the greatest grace and ease, I will say that this past year opened my eyes to what an intense individual you are. And to be truthful, I learned a lot about myself as well.
This is the year I watched you gain a lot of independence swimming in a pool or beach, the year you first went tubing behind a boat, rode a jet ski (a first for me as well), the year I had to quiet my inner voice and let you climb trees, cross monkey bars, and explore in ways that I KNOW are okay despite all the fears that race into my brain. This is the year you learned to really read, to really write, and to have a creative idea in your head and figure out how to follow through with it on your own. You've never really been interested in crayons and coloring books (despite a serious push from me), and this is the year we learned you don't need all those silly lines to follow. You'd rather draw your own pictures and make your own books.
This is also the year that you were faced with some really big fears, and also the year that you really started to face those fears head-on. Moving was not a fear for you, but I know it was hard. In all of our moves, you have been so excited about the change, but you've recently asked if we can stay put until you've started college. Kindergarten was not a fear for you, but it proved harder than any of us expected. I guessed the 5 full days a week was going to be too much for all of us, and it was. But I didn't guess that a week into kindergarten, I'd be prying your hands off first the bed, then the railing, then the car, and finally myself to bring you to school. Calling the first few months of kindergarten "hard" would be an understatement. I thought maybe they would be the end of me, but instead they taught me a lot about what kind of parent I am, and helped me to be so outrageously thankful that I have the choice to not work outside the home.
I imagine those of us who know you closely will look back on this as "The Year of the Prosthetic Limb." While the fear began long ago (past birthday letters will reveal the gummy severed foot and the deer head, among other things), this was one that not only could we not protect you from, but that we needed to teach you how to face. When you found out you go to school with a boy who has a fake arm, well, the above prying you off of me began and so began tough lessons in coping, conquering, accepting, and hopefully even compassion.
There are so many little things that I want to say, it's hard to know how to condense it all into one letter. I've started calling the way you move from one place to another "skralloping" - a combination of skipping, running, and galloping. Your voice is constantly being exercised, which means you talk and talk and talk and talk and talk. Most of the time you are not talking to anyone specific, you just have something going on in your head and it's coming out your mouth. Sometimes it is incredibly frustrating and other times your dad and I just sit back and watch - and watch, and watch. You have absolutely mastered the art of pokiness. I mean - I have never in my life met a child or adult who is as pokey as you. And if you happen to pass a mirror on your way to actually do something, it's the end. That mirror draws you in and you need to sing, talk, dance, make silly faces, or entertain yourself in myriad other ways that are so entertaining because you are looking at yourself.
And the thing is that all of it - the good, the frustrating, the silly, the difficult - all of it put together is something that makes me thankful every single day for the family we have. I can't adequately express how much I feel like I got the right family - the best family a girl could ask for.
I love you birthday girl.
(Rosemary's actual birthday was yesterday, but I was too busy celebrating to get this posted.)