Tuesday, December 3, 2013

On your birthday

My dearest Ellen,

What. A. Year. You are a real, live, kid. Not a baby, not a toddler, but a KID. The kind that will go to Kindergarten. And grow up. And move away. Yes, I'm getting ahead of myself, but I recently I told you that I wanted you to live here forever and never move away because I would miss you too much and you said, "But, Mom. I have to go to college and grow up." I guess we are doing something right around here.

I think year 4 to 5 was quite a bit easier than the previous years. You had your moments, of course. I guess we all did. But we have watched you grow so much and it just amazing to be a part of it. This was your first year having the job of Big Sister and it is a job you take seriously and are so good at. You are sweet to Georgia, always trying to take care of her and keep her safe. You almost always help me when asked and often help on your own. Many, many times I think how much harder it would be to have two children if you weren't the first and I feel so very lucky.

You continue to surprise us with new things you've learned, concepts you understand, words you use correctly. You love the process of learning and are so inquisitive and you soak things up like a sponge (many times when we aren't paying attention). I think you will love school and can't wait to see it.

We can usually talk our way through "disagreements" and there are far fewer lost privileges and pout-a-thons. On occasion, though, we will have an issue and I am often surprised by your response: true tears and sadness, I think because you are taken off-guard and disappointed in yourself and disappointed in making us angry or upset. It makes me sad, but is a sign of your maturity and developing empathy and we can usually hug it out.

You love to watch videos of yourself as a baby, and we often compare what Georgia is doing now to what you were doing then. I love to go back and see that baby version of you - things I couldn't see or didn't appreciate at the time, but now cherish. Your little voices and funny faces - things that are so "Ellen" - that I still see glimpses of now and then. I check on you every night before I go to bed - generally tucking your legs and arms under the covers, or moving one of the seven different things in your bed to give you more space. You are usually snuggled up in your Boppy, arms clenched around the animal of choice. One night recently I came in and you were sleeping on a real pillow, all tucked in, no friends or blankets in bed. It almost made me cry to see your wild head of hair spread over that pillowcase.

Turning 5 seems monumental: this next year will really change everything that we've known and how we've adapted to work as a family. It is a challenge I know you will help us meet. We couldn't be more proud of you. We love you so much and genuinely like you, too. You make us laugh, you challenge us, you sometimes make us crazy, but at the end of the day, it's all worth it. A million times over.

Love you, my favorite Big Girl,


ERICA said...

Awwww....so awesome. And so much of it so familiar.

Bets said...

Love this! Can't wait to see what year 5 brings for my favorite Big Girl niece :)

distaff said...

All so true as we watch this special girl grow up in such a beautiful way. Being five is a big step in so many ways, the first of many. Ellen will be a winner at every stage of life. I am so proud of her smarts and confidence and intuition. And she is so much fun to be around ... we are all winners!