Saturday, May 18, 2013

Dear Zoelle,

Happy 6th Birthday to our spirited, funny, smart, and kind-hearted Zoelle Grace!

How can it possibly be that you are 6? I know I write that same sentence every year, just with a different number in it, but I really mean it. How could another year have flown by?

Wasn't it just yesterday you were in my tummy demanding to get out, and your daddy and I headed to the hospital all excited thinking you would be born on an odd number (mommy is funny and loves odd numbers), but nope, in typical fashion, you chose to show up on the 18th. One day before your due date.

I think back to that day and I smile through a bit of tears. Your birth did not go as I wanted it to, and because of your holes in your heart, we were separated for far too long. I wish I could go back and get myself off that hospital bed and insist on being with you. I wish I could have held you on my chest while they frantically worked on trying to figure out what was wrong. I wish I would have not let so many people poke, prod, and touch you.

While I do believe being separated from me and having so many people touch you profoundly impacted you and your relationship with me, I can smile because I never knew love honey until that day. Oh I knew love, but not the sort of rip my heart out of my chest, everyday love that I have now.

You gave me that love baby girl. What a gift that is.

The first two years with you were bliss, and when Meridian came along, we had to learn how to work together. It took us a good year, but year three was complete perfection. Year four you grew in leaps and bounds, and exerted more of that spirit that I have grown to love. But year five Z has been a struggle. I like to call it your year of straining for more independence, but not quite yet on your own.

In many ways, it was a year of firsts.

You learned to ride a bike without training wheels. You also got your first big scratch from that same bike just a few weeks later while riding down a hill. You still don't like hills on your bike.

We found out that the three holes in your heart have disappeared or closed up. While we can still hear a heart murmur, we are no longer as worried about the possibility of heart surgery. It is said that heart babies tend to be some of the most loving and empathetic people there are, and I would definitely say that is true for you. So I am thankful for those three little holes.

You moved to a new house that left you fearful and emotional for awhile. You missed your friends in town. You missed the only house you were familiar with. You missed normal and had to come up with a new normal.

In the fall, you started Kindergarten. After much prayer, we chose to homeschool you this year. In the education sense, it was the best decision we ever could have made this year. You astounded us with your reading abilities. Reading chapter books, or even reading my books over my shoulder. But only when you want to! ;) You took off in math, coming up to me and declaring that you knew what seven fives were: thirty-five!

You used your beautiful voice to sing in a children's choir this year. You were very nervous at first and out of your comfort zone. Even to the point of your teacher asking me if you either were extremely shy or just hated her. After your Christmas performance, you came out of your shell and beamed with pride and insisted on singing as much as you could.

If you weren't reading or doing math, I often found you playing piano on your own. Although your first official year of piano was last year, this year you finished your first piano book, and really did a lot of self-teaching.

At Christmas, you chose to believe in Santa. Daddy and I went along with it, even though we said we never would, only because we figured on not breaking your spirit. If you ask us, and I'm sure you will soon, we will tell you the truth, but for now, we are letting you believe.

This means, you also somehow believe in the Tooth Fairy. I'm actually not even sure how you heard about it, but you let me know and could not wait to lose your first tooth. When friends around you were losing theirs, you patiently waited. Finally this Spring, you lost your very first tooth. Xiomara bumped it loose one night and just about a week later, you pulled it out of your mouth with little effort. You were thrilled the next day when the Tooth Fairy left you a pink sparkly wand, pink sparkles around your room, two dollar bills that were sparkly, and a Berenstain Bears book on The Loose Tooth. Your new tooth has already come in and according to the dentist, it came in just like it was supposed to!

This Spring you also got your first puppy. A bit scary for you to learn how to like dogs, but so far you are doing well with her, and she with you. You are both learning together!

It's amazing watching you be a big sister to your little sisters. I know they get in your stuff a lot and that really frustrates you. Sometimes you react strongly to them, but more and more I'm seeing you gently remind them not to do something, or you come find me to take care of them. I'm proud of you for that. You read to them daily, and they both look up to you so much. Xiomara pretty much copies everything you do, which is pretty adorable! You recently told me that, "I hate being the oldest!" and I wish I could relate. I know we put a lot of pressure on you to help out, or act a certain way. I'm trying to realize you are just a kid yourself, but thank you for the reminder. Also, don't forget, Auntie Genevieve would be wonderful to talk with as she knows and probably felt just like you many times!

So many firsts this year. We are at that stage where you are straining a bit for what is ahead, but still not ready to leave that baby stage behind. I'm SO thankful for that. I love that every night I have to give you a back massage because "Mom, you give the best back massages ever! Better than even dad!". I love that if you get upset, scared, or sad, you come to me and play with my hair. I love that you seek me out a thousand times during the day just to give me a hug. I know I'm sometimes too busy to act like I notice you during those times, but I do. They bring a smile to my face and oftentimes encouragement in knowing that we are ok.

I have a feeling this year you are going to grow even more independent, taller, and more beautiful on both the inside and outside. My prayer is that this year you would feel the love of all those around you, and believe it. That God would show you how precious you are and that you would continue to touch people with your empathetic soul, and kind heart. I smile just knowing that you will touch people with that heart one day. That your spirit is spunky for a reason, and that independence will serve you well. He has great plans little girl, and He is always for you!

Today is your birthday little one. Enjoy it to the full! We love you!! Happy Birthday!

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