It seems like no time at all but, Kara, tomorrow is your sixth birthday.
The last year has flown by. And yet so much has happened. You finished your first year at school by winning a prize for your academic efforts, following in your brothers’ footsteps. Yet you’re always busy outside of school too: Rainbows, Beavers, dance class, being invited to join the squad at your gym. You’ve also travelled to France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Australia and Malaysia. (Oh, and Bognor Regis.) Yep, it’s been a busy year!
Nothing ever seems to faze you. Your energy is seemingly inexhaustible. Basically, you make the Duracell bunny look like a sloth with the flu.
In thinking about this letter, I’ve been looking back over the previous ones I’ve written to you on your birthday. What strikes me most is how consistent your personality has remained. It’s almost as if you burst into the world on day one knowing exactly who you were as a person. That sense of certainty is one of the things I most admire about you.
I wonder if this is the year we will start to see you change, though. Your brothers went through the transition from ‘small kid’ to ‘proper child’ at about this time. I think you’ve already started on that particular road. Your mum and I have both commented recently about how you have grown into your face and body recently. You suddenly look much older. And all that gym training has resulted in a lean, athletic frame and a genuine six-pack. (Daddy has a six-pack too. Unfortunately it’s in the fridge.)
Part of me doesn’t want you to grow up too fast. Childhood is short and once it’s gone, it’s gone. The fact you’re our third and last child only amplifies that feeling. I see how fast Isaac is hurtling towards becoming a teenager. Toby is maturing so quickly too. It makes me want to push a metaphorical slow-motion button and ensure both you and we wring every last moment from your childhood.
Yes, there are times we wish you were a tad less stubborn. But I’ll take wilful over compliant any day.
Yes, there are times when I wish you would pause for breath for just one minute. But I’ll take bubbly and communicative over sullen and silent any day.
And yes, there are times when you drive both your mother and me to distraction. But I’ll take the many good moments over the few bad ones any day.
What really sets you apart is how expressive you are.
Isaac is verbally expressive. He loves to use words.
Toby is creatively expressive. He loves to build both with his hands and his imagination.
But you? You are like the two of them put together and then cranked up tenfold. Your face, your hands, your entire body are tools that communicate your moods and emotions more than mere words or pictures ever could. There is something in your nature that demands attention. You are a playwright, a comedian, a stage actor and an orchestra conductor all rolled into one.
You are amazing.
Blasts from the past
I commented earlier about how consistent your personality has remained over the years. So I’ve gone back into your previous birthday posts and pulled out a few comments which are just as true now as they were when I first wrote them.
You, my daughter, are strong-willed (for which read ‘stubborn’), determined (for which read ‘stubborn’) and won’t take no for an answer (you get the idea). But you’re also affectionate, cuddly and have a smile which lights up a room and never fails to melt my heart.
What are little girls made of? Sugar and spice and all things nice. That old nursery rhyme could have been written just for you.
You have never been one to tiptoe quietly into a room and take a seat at the back.
You recently started at a new Rainbows group. Your mum tells me that you waded straight into a sea of unfamiliar faces without hesitation and acted as if you’d been best friends with everyone there for years. That’s just so you.
Every day with you is an adventure: one filled with smiles, laughs, occasional tears and lots of love and cuddles.
You are such an active, restless, adventurous soul.
No two days are ever the same with you. You’re not so much a slowly burning candle as a raging inferno. That means sometimes we get burnt. But mostly you bring light and warmth to our lives. You constantly keep us on our toes and your desire for adventure helps keep us young too.
Our only daughter completes our family in so many ways, and has done ever since the day she arrived.
I grew up in a household with two boys. Without you, we would have had the same dynamic. Our house – our home – is a completely different place with you in it, and it’s much the better for that.
You are daddy’s little princess. That’s the little girl you are. And the little girl you will always be to me.
This sums it all up. Whether you’re six, 16 or 26, that will never change. I love you so much.
Happy birthday, K.
Previous birthday posts