Dear A, 5 years old

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Dear A,

If I had to choose a fruit of the spirit that describes you most accurately, it would be: goodness.

You practice goodness. You strive for goodness. You are a kind, gentle, and selfless soul.

Going along with that, you are a peacemaker - refusing to take sides during arguments, bringing people together. Both of your sisters would describe you that way, which is pretty remarkable.

Dear A, 5 years old 1

I have always said that age four is one of my favorites and you proved this to be true again. Fantastic four. You were and are a delight.

To you, life is a musical. At various junctions in the day, you throw out your arms wide and sing songs of your own creation - typically in an operatic voice.

You remain exceptionally athletic. Whenever people come over, they comment on your speed as you ride your balance bike across our porch. We haven't given you much time to practice, but you can totally ride a two-wheeler on your own now too.

Every afternoon, you ask, "What's for dinner?" Regardless of the answer, you usually follow it up with "Yum!" and "Thanks!" I REALLY appreciate your non-pickiness (and your gratitude) when it comes to mealtime. The only thing I can think of that you're not much of a fan of is - grilled cheese sandwiches. Strange, but true.

Your top hobbies are cooking, dressing up with O, holding your baby brother, watching movies, playing games (alphabet match and UNO), and reading. You leave books like "Anne of Green Gables" and "The Little House on the Prairie" around the house with bookmarks in them - and become distressed if we "lose your spot." You will sit in your bed for long stints, with picture-less books open on your lap.

Lest we remember the truth incorrectly, I should point out that you are not actually reading. In fact, you don't even know all of the alphabet - though that's no fault of your own. You are bright, articulate, and eager to learn. We just haven't spent that much time going over the three R's just yet. Academics will come soon enough.

Dear A, 5 years old 2

At Halloween, you dressed up in pink scrubs and declared yourself, "Dr. A. Sheaffer" - with zero prompting from us. You wore your surgical mask and stethoscope like a boss.

We went to Disneyland TWICE when you were age 4 and you didn't even want to ride Winnie-The-Pooh. Oh no! You proudly rode Tower of Terror BLACK-OUT and declared it your favorite ride. Other favorites: Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain. You cried when you found out you were too short for Grizzly River Run....which brings me to my next point.

You very rarely cry.  You'll take a huge crash on your bike, tumble over while hiking, or head into a scary swim lesson - and hold your head up high. Tough as they come.

Speaking of swim, you took a "Swim to Survive" two-week class last summer at barely age 4. By the end, you were swimming solo and diving for rings at the bottom of the pool. Your bravery inspired me.

Tim & I are also impressed by your decision-making skills. You are highly decisive - able to make up your mind regardless of what others are doing. If we say, "Blue or green?" or "Burritos or Chili?" can answer quickly and without looking around the room to see what everyone else will choose. I hope you keep this trait forever.

You have wild + angelic curly hair, pensive eyes, and a (toothless) smile that you don't give out to just anybody. You lost both of your two front teeth prematurely - one from falling off the playhouse in the backyard, the other when you face-planted in the living room a week later (A WEEK LATER). When you received a dollar under your pillow from the tooth fairy, you cheerfully announced, "Now I can get A DOG!"

Recently, we went around and played the question game at the dinner table. One of the questions was: "Who is your hero?" You piped up lickety-split, "God!" You love Him. You love our family. You are just plain good at loving.

Thank you for being exactly who you. We adore you, AJ.

Dear A, 5 years old 3
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