Thursday, April 20, 2017


Today was a good one, Ellen.

I started the morning volunteering at school, sorting books for a book fair. The mom of one of your classmates joined me and told me that you and her daughter were becoming friends and that her daughter came home the other day and said "Ellen is a good friend". There has been an exponential increase in girl drama this year in 2nd grade and we've had so many discussions about it, with many more to come, I'm sure. I was so proud of you. I stopped you when you walked in the door after school - often in the way I do when I have something serious to talk to you about - and told you about the comments and how proud I was. You beamed. I reminded you that grades and achievement are important to me, but that your kindness and ability to be a true friend are the things that will always make me the happiest.

You proceeded to tell me that you worked on some graphing and designing today in class, preparing the butterfly garden. The concept of spacing plants was challenging and you were able to help some classmates figure it out. You said that Ms. Cunningham approached you at recess and told you that you would make a great teacher someday. You were so proud of yourself!

Your first ukulele concert is tomorrow night. I've taken you to almost every lesson since you started in September and today you did such a great job practicing. It seems to come so naturally to you and I'm so proud of your hard work and commitment to seeing it through. I know you are nervous, but can't wait to see you shine on stage.

In the pre-dinner / emptying dishwasher / supposed to be showering stage of the evening, you came downstairs and told me you had figured out the meaning of life. (I'm not exaggerating here - those were your words. This is something you've struggled with for months - wrapping your brain around human existence and the world and the purpose of it all and what happens when we die. Those are big thoughts for a little person, but real ones that you express and struggle to describe). You said "Everyone matters. I think you're supposed to be good and kind so when you die, other people can see the good example that you set". I told you that I thought that was pretty perfect.

We discussed tonight that it's good to recognize the times that you're really happy. I read this once, as a new mom, and it's increasingly true as you get older and so many things compete for your time and memory. Recognize your happiness in the moment. It may last days or hours, but perhaps it's even more fleeting. Nevertheless, it's all important. I told you to save those memories up in a bank for the inevitable days when we don't feel quite so happy.

I love you so much. You are a terrific kid that makes us proud every day.