Today you turn seven. That’s almost a real human being. I can remember a lot of stuff that happened when I was seven and that is a terrifying moment for any parent. When you realize that your child is now capable of memories. When you were a baby I figured if I screwed up no one would be the wiser. I just looked at the sky and whistled as I shimmied your leg out from between the rails of your crib. But by now you’ve already got a whole catalog of things to hold against me. In fact, this is the first birthday letter that you can actually read so HI ELLIE! TOILET DIAPER BABY POOPY EYEBALL! See how funny Mommy is on her blog?
I’ve been going through a lot of old photos for your birthday video and I have to say – while I do miss your baby years a teeny bit, you just get more and more awesome with each passing day. You’ll do anything for a laugh, which is familiar territory. It’s also something we may have to revisit before you go off to high school.
First grade has been interesting – definitely a transitional year. You are at the crossroads of riding your bike to the park by yourself and looking out the window every night, desperately searching the dark sky for a shooting star so you can wish for your wings. You’ve asked me more than once why you don’t have them yet, if I tell you anything is possible if you work hard at it. I’m at a loss because you have never worked harder at anything than trying to fly. A few months ago I came into the kitchen and found you with the scissors. When I asked what you were doing you told me you were going to cut holes in the back of all your shirts so you’d be ready when you got your wings. Needless to say I was happy I ran into you when I did.
You spend the better part of your day in a little dream we call Ellie Land – quietly off in your own wonder world which, according to you, looks something like this:
You come home from school and blow through stacks of paper, drawing everything you’ve seen that day in Ellie Land. When you’re finished you grab some props and direct your little sisters in acting out scenes from Ellie Land, stories you imagined when you were supposed to be learning math. A play that comes complete with plot, conflict, protagonist, antagonist and even a cliffhanger at the end, by the way.
You are so creative, imaginative, and I love Ellie Land so much. I imagine it to be a place filled with talking animals, things that fly and Dollar Tree Stores. Please know I am your biggest champion and I am trying desperately to figure out how to cultivate Ellie Land, while also figuring out how it can exist on the same planet as Math Land and Spelling Land. Because, let’s face it – someday you’re gonna have to graduate and as much as I love you, you’re not living in my basement.
You love your friends but prefer to play by yourself at recess, acting out a one-woman play starring the first female Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. She’s pink and lives in Ellie Land too.
You are kind, sensitive and thoughtful. A couple of days ago you carefully walked out the back door with a platter full of cups of Crystal Lite and straws for all the neighborhood kids playing in the yard. Of course when I went into the kitchen there was water everywhere, red powder dusting the floor and a broken glass in the cabinet. But I couldn’t be mad as you stood on the patio yelling, “ICE COLD DRINKS! WHO WANTS AN ICE COLD DRINK?!”
You are my joy, my heart, my sunshine. You are brave – so much braver than me when I was little. You’ll try anything once, even if it scars you for life.
You are my test model, so try not to take it personally when I don’t screw as many things up with your sisters. Just look at it this way – you’ll have a lot of great material for your smash Broadway play.