Hello, 7

Dear Mia,

Once upon a time, I read Three Little Kittens as you climbed onto my lap and gingerly plucked from a bowl strawberries that I had painstakingly chopped into thin slivers for fear of clogging a tiny, miraculous airway.

You came across Three Little Kittens in an anthology the other night and I had to remind you that it used to be your favorite. We read it when you woke up in the morning and before you went to bed at night and a dozen times in between. You carried it with you everywhere, cradling it under your arm or resting it on your lap, a constant companion through your toddling hours. One day, just as you cracked the book wide, a stomach bug presented itself. Our old, frail Golden Book copy was done. That night, after I put you to bed whimpering for your beloved book, I scoured the internet for a comparable copy less than $50.00. I finally found one. It still sits on your bookshelf, lost between thicker spines.

Now, you read about mummies and polar bears or the latest escapades of Ivy & Bean. You tell me about King Tut’s tomb as I paint your toenails. You proffer a guess at the culprit’s identity in the new Nancy Clancy book while you dip whole strawberries in Nutella because the time when I needed to slice them tissue thin is long gone.

Hello, 7

Hello, 7.

Hello, teeth that wiggle, rainbow loom bracelets that fall to the bottom of your backpack, cowgirl boots that lead you into a day separate from mine. The other day when we were out, I noticed your lips were chapped so I dug around the bottom of my purse to find chapstick but all I came up with was a tube of dark cherry lip gloss. I dabbed my finger with the sticky stuff then smeared some on your lips, much to your delight. Instantly, I saw you ten years into the future, plump lips coated candy red, cornflower curls shading stormy eyes, your own purse with your own chapstick, a swift smear of lip gloss no longer a thrill.

Sometimes you catch me staring at you. “What?”

“Nothing,” I say, though I want to ask, “Who are you?”

I’ve memorized all of you — the coffee stain birthmark on your ankle, the lashes that fall over sleeping starfish eyes, the tickle of curls that slip through my fingers, the butter skin of your arms as they drape around my neck — but you surprise me every day. Thoughts and ideas and questions tumble from your lips in forms I didn’t realize you were capable of articulating, illustrating more clearly than ever the slope of time and a point along its continuum when you will ask this question yourself: Who am I?

This answer will change and take many forms. You will explore options and challenge beliefs and seek understanding and test boundaries and make mistakes and question your capabilities all in the quest to find yourself, and all of this is okay as long as you don’t lose sight of this one constant: you are loved.

You are loved.

xoxo,

Mommy

P.S. Hello, 6

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Hello, 6

“Go and wake up your luck”

-Persian Proverb

Dear Mia,

As of 10:32 this morning, you are 6.

Mia portrait collage

This is how it happens, I know, the days of the year circling back to this one when I first held my heart outside my body. I watched you squirm and scream, red-faced and mad, until you were in my arms. Suddenly, you stopped and settled and I thought,

Lucky me,

          Lucky me,

                    Lucky me.

I could go on like this, waxing nostalgic about beating hearts and secret languages and umbilical chords that are never truly cut, but today you are 6 and yesterday was not such a good day.

“I don’t have a switch you can turn on to make me nice.”

Arms crossed, back hunched, tears pooling at the rims of blue eyes.

Hello, 6.

Mia, 6

The thing about mothering is this: I thought I would have all the answers by now. I thought I would be a seasoned pro by the time 6 rolled around. I thought I would be an authority, a veteran. Turns out, I’m still winging it because the moment you were born so too was I. The mother in me turns 6 today too.

For the past few weeks I have felt this day fast approaching, leaving me untethered and wandering, watching you race ahead to 6 while I say my final goodbyes to 5. The very same 5 with which I had just recently made amends.

Mia, 6

I think 5 might be my favorite age, full of intellectual growth and independence – an ability to converse and interact in a way that you couldn’t before. Last week you wrote personal notes to all the girls in your class that said things like, “I love your eyes that are brown,” and “You been a good friend to me,” and “I just love your hare.” I find rainbow colored hearts tucked into your backpack, all labeled Mommy. You bring paperwork home with stories and scribbles doodled on the back. Rather than playing with toys, you invest yourself in writing picture books and illustrating fashion books.

You are lucky to be one of those people who wishes to build sand castles with words, who is willing to create a place where your imagination can wander…I think this is a wonderful kind of person to be.”   ~Anne Lamott

Sometimes when you need a break from the noise and raucous of your brothers I find you curled on your bed reading (reading!) a chapter book (by yourself!). As awe-inspiring as it is to bear witness to this growth, it comes with a bittersweet realization: You will never be 5 again.

Mia, 6

It used to be that I had to lay in bed with you until you fell asleep. Now I choose to stay. It’s in the dark of your room — tucked under the covers, breath and stillness between us — that you tell me scraps and snippets of your day, things you don’t say in the light.

“I like morning better than night.”

“Why?”

“Because I’m afraid of the dark sky.”

You ask me if vampires are real and how do I know and what are vampires anyway. You ask us if we believe in God and how do we know. You ask if I will die and leave you and how do I know.

Mia, 6“Go and wake up your luck.”

I don’t remember the first time I heard this quote, but these are the words that find me when I climb the stairs to wake you up every morning before school. And now as I’m finishing up this post, I look at the clock and realize it’s almost time to wake you up. Once again, these quiet morning hours have flown by and I still have a million items to check off my to-do list. I swat at thoughts and worries that swarm about my head and brush away the general feeling of being overwhelmed. As I climb the stairs to wake you with kisses on your 6th birthday I’m only thinking,

Lucky me,

          Lucky me,

                    Lucky me.

I love you to the moon and back.

xo,

Mommy

This post is part of Collectively Creative, hosted by Kelly of Cobwebs, Cupcakes & Crayons. To read more on this month’s theme, “Lucky”, check out these links:

Jell-O Shamrocks: A Kid’s Lucky Snack – (Cobwebs, Cupcakes & Crayons)

A Lucky Save! – (Pillows A-La-Mode)

DIY Craft: ‘Stained Glass’ Shamrock – (Time With Thea)

The many meanings of “lucky” – (The Thing About Joan)

This Party Calls For A Theme:  It’s All Rainbows and Unicorns – (Green Door Hospitality)

Keep Calm and Pinch On – (A Ponytail Kind Of Day)

Honorary Irish and my favorite Irish Soda Bread – (My Healthy ‘Ohana)

Luck o’the Irish for Easter!  – (Minerva’s Hand)

Lucky Gold Elephant – (Now at Home Mom)

Make your own luck (using a crochet hook) – (Gentle Stitches)

Asian Cucumber Salad – (Inspire and Indulge)

The Lucky Edition Logo March 2013