Happy birthday to my big 6-year-old girl! We are now in the midst of what you call your “birthday season.” It’s a phrase you conjured after deciding your birthday was kind of like Christmas – we’re celebrating one specific day, but the celebrations stretch on for many days.
This year your party is not on your actual birthday, but that didn’t mean your special day wasn’t full of fun. You started things off with a birthday donut topped with 6 candles before we moved on to presents. You adore your new bean bag chair and have taken to dragging it all around the house to sit on, skate on, sled on, etc. Here you are lying on it with your eyes closed while you wait for us to bring in your new…
bike! The last time you got a bike you were 3, and you’ve seriously outgrown it. This pretty green and blue bike should last you a while.
After a cruise up and down the street, we headed to the pool where you jumped off the diving board for the first time.
Then it was off to The Crab Shack for a birthday dinner where you eagerly ordered their pizza of all things. When the waiter found out it was your birthday, he fashioned you a festive hat.
I remember being a little girl and looking so forward to my birthdays – not just because of the presents and the party, but because adding one year to my age always made me feel so much more grown up.
Having a summer birthday means you mark two critical passages of time all at once – one year older and one higher grade in school. You are delighted to now be a FIRST GRADER and are quickly shrugging off habits you feel you’ve outgrown.
For example. From the day you got your dinosaur “Pinky” from Disneyworld, you’ve claimed that you cannot sleep without her. Here you are at the Build-A-Dino store pledging your undying loyalty back when you were 4 years old.
She went on every trip, to every sleepover, every night. Then suddenly, one recent night as I placed her on your pillow while tucking you in, you declared, “I don’t want to sleep with Pinky tonight.”
Your Daddy asked, “Why not? I thought you couldn’t sleep without Pinky?”
To which you replied, as if we were just being slow to catch on, “Dad, I’m a first grader now. Things have changed.”
Indeed. Of course your father, not one to let pass an opportunity to play games with you, sneaks in your room some nights and puts Pinky in your bed. At some point in the night you wake up and unceremoniously throw her off your top bunk. In the morning, arms crossed, you ask, “How did Pinky get into my bed last night?” You glare at your Dad.
On the last day of kindergarten you came home with a bookbag stuffed with the detritus of your school year, including a journal. I so enjoyed flipping through the pages and getting little glimpses into your head. Some highlights:
When I close my eyes at night I can hear cars, fire trucks, how a floor creaks.
I love being in room 6. I love math it is my favorite work. Work plans are papers that the teacher checks off your work.
I am like my dad because we like watching football. We like superheroes. We like art. We have the same colored skin. We both are strong.
Over the weekend I went to Tennessee. I saw my Nana and Granddaddy. I went to Ohio. I built a snowgirl. I put my scarf on it.
When I wake up from a deep sleep, I am grumpy. I yawn. I stretch. I am angry.
Your entry from March 12th made me laugh. It’s not hard to guess what was going on the afternoon you were instructed to write this:
I think that we can work better. We can ignore people. Next time I’m going to be a role model. Next time I am going to focus. Next time I am going to be very quiet.
This was one of your last entries, written during teacher conference week. Kindergarteners aren’t generally known for their humility, a principle you demonstrate here. But I must say, your assessment was perfect.
If I was the teacher and doing conferences I would say Camille is doing excellent. She is doing great on her work. Camille has good grace and courtesy. She has been doing good on her writing. She has been doing good drawing.
There is a little game we’ve been playing a lot these days. I’ll look at you and declare that you’re just growing up too fast and command you to stop. You tell me that you can’t and won’t stop, and I pretend to push on the top of your head to keep you from growing so quickly. And then we both laugh.
It’s true – sometimes I’ll look at you and suddenly you’ll take my breath away. Gone are the pinchable cheeks and softness of toddler-hood, replaced by long, lean legs and arms. The legs and arms of a girl, a growing girl, and sometimes I even get a glimpse of what you may look like as a teenager. And in those moments I want to freeze you in place before age 5 and now age 6 slip away from us. We are having too much fun and
I find myself wanting to resist change.
When we’re playing our game, you’ll sometimes say, “Mom, I’m not going to stop growing up. You were a little girl one time too, and you grew up. The same thing is going to happen to me.”
And of course you’re right. And as much as I sometimes want to freeze you, I really wouldn’t have it any other way. It has been a delight to watch you grow these last 6 years, and I wouldn’t want to miss out on the changes and the adventures that are still to come. It’s not only inevitable that you will grow up, it’s wonderful that you will grow up, and I am excited to see what kind of lady you will become.
Things change, and change can be good. As long as you’ll never stop being my girl, never stop returning my love, my hugs and kisses, then I can welcome the other changes.
Happy birthday my big, big girl. I love you so much.