This is the picture that comes to my mind when I think of your childhood.
Hanging upside down from the monkey bars. Climbing to the very tip-top of trees. Running at full speed with your curls flying behind you. Riding roller coasters with your arms up in the air.
You are daring – bold – undaunted. When you fall, you get right back up again. “I’m fine” is your signature line.
When you are asked to make a decision (“What is your favorite color?” or “Do you want cobb salad or a sandwich for lunch?”), you are able to answer confidently and without being swayed by other voices. It’s one of your best qualities. Rather than listening to popular opinion or following the lead of peers, you stand on your own two feet.
Let’s use swim team as an example. You participated last year (at barely age 5). Several months ago, I asked whether you would like to join again. You pondered for a moment from the back seat of the car and then responded with poise and assurance, “I will do it if I can go one day, then not the next, then not the next. That’s an ABB pattern.”
On our homeschool days, you are generally eager, motivated, and cheerful. You enjoy learning new things and catch on to new concepts quickly.
Your on-campus school days, however, have been disappointing for you. You expected painting, clay, stories, and colorful workbooks at Kindergarten (a la Berenstain Bears) – but the long days drain you. At the end of the day, I ask you for “two goods and one bad.” Your “bad” is always the same: “I really missed you.”
I wish we could have put you in a program with more fun and less drilling, but this school is exceptional in the upper grades and the community is bar none. One day, soon, you’ll not dread those days quite so much. Hang in there, trooper. You are ready for take-off.
At dinnertime, you are a non-picky eater. You scoop up green chili enchiladas on to your plate by the heap. The only thing I can think of that you don’t favor is grilled cheese sandwiches. Even then, you can often be heard to say, “Thank you for this wonderful dinner.” Gratitude flows freely from your heart and lips.
For your birthday, you are getting a lab coat and “real” doctor’s kit because you have had an ambition to enter the medical field for as long as I can remember. If you go that route, I know you will be good at it because you are calm, clearheaded, decisive, and not at all bothered by a little blood.
You’d also REALLY like a dog, but I’m afraid that’s not happening…at least not yet.
More about you. You are – and have always been – a peacemaker. You rarely argue or quarrel, even with your sisters. You bring people together by quietly and brightly doing the right thing. As your teacher put it, “She always does the right thing, no matter who is watching.”
Another thing: You ask provocative and piercing questions. For example: “Why did God put us in this land instead of heaven?” I’d like to know the answer to that one too.
Final words – you are both an early-bird and a night owl. You’re pretty good at cartwheels, despite never being taught how to do them. You like playing card games, writing to pen pals, and sipping coffee. You wish you had a computer. You take awhile to warm up to new people (stranger danger!) and you tend to keep some of your brilliance tucked beneath your coat (which is fine by me). You often have bumps-and-bruises because of the rough-and-tumble, out-in-nature way that you play. You would rather be called “strong” and “fast” than “cute” – even though you are all three of those things.
I hope you can tell from this letter. I don’t just love you, A. I really, really like you too. You are a superlative human being and I’m so glad that God chose me to be your mother.