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Happy Birthday- Sweet 6

Dear Caroline,

Happy 6th birthday!!!!

Happy Birthday- Sweet 6

What a year this has been. It’s been hard on you. It’s also been amazing to watch you grow and take on challenges head on. You are blossoming into such an amazing person.

9 months ago we were going along in our normal routine. You were going to PreK. You were just loving it and had a few months left in the year to finish up. Then, pretty suddenly, we got word that school was going to be shut down. The Covid-19 pandemic had made it’s way to our side of the country. We had no idea how our lives were going to change, or for how long.

That was back in March of 2020. Here it is December 1st and we are still home with no in-person school, masks on and staying away from anyone not in our immediate family.

As always, you had a lot of amazing questions. We educated you the best we could about the virus, and in your wonderful, expected way, you take it more seriously than many adults. You notice when people have their masks below their noses. You call them out- bluntly and politely. You worry about the virus. You’ve experienced death in your life, and so you know how cruel life can be. You think about all the things that could happen. We help you focus on what we are doing to stay safe and ease your fears.

You started kindergarten this year. I just can’t even believe it. And, of course, it’s virtual kindergarten of all things. Somehow, it’s gone insanely well. You have an amazing teacher that you absolutely love. You are a whiz at computers and catch on so quickly.

Happy Birthday- Sweet 6

Within two weeks you didn’t need me at all to help get where you needed to be on the computer, manage your time, or even much help turning in assignments. And now in quarter 2 you are completely self-sufficient. It’s like you are gone at school all day, as I still don’t see you.

You love school. You are so proud of your abilities. You are very strong in math and reading, and really you love it all and learn so openly and willingly. You have a passion for it. You started school knowing how to read. We were reading chapter books with you- you were reading I should say. You helped read your first chapter book right before the school year started.

In school you thrive. You raise your hand for every question asked. You participate as much as you can, and you even get a bit annoyed when you aren’t the one that’s called on. You remind your teacher of things, and truly help the class in wonderful ways.

And when you answer questions, I can hear your pride shine through. “I know how to do this,” you say…“I can read chapter books already!”

You are in the top math group and top reading group, and your teacher has made sure to give opportunities to be challenged. One Friday, school had run long and there wasn’t “time” for your extra small group after school. Your teacher told you guys that it was ok to skip it this time. You all insisted on doing it anyways. I laughed when you told me this, as I am sure he wanted to get home for his Friday afternoon, but he stayed and kept your passion and enthusiasm high.

I just love your love of learning.

Almost instantaneously when school started, you had your eyes on a new friend. You do this every year, and it’s such an incredible thing. Since I can remember, you would make me set up playdates. I had to introduce myself to a random mom… find her in the parking lot, exchange numbers, etc. It was out of my comfort zone, but I always did it because you insisted and I had you by my side to make it ok.

This year, I couldn’t find the mom in the parking lot or pickup. We were all behind our computer screens and had no way of contacting each other really. Your teacher helped me out and I set up a virtual playdate for you.

Eventually, you got to meet your new friend in person, 6 feet apart, and even have a playdate with masks on, outside. You were so happy. You both insisted on video playdates afterschool. With so much time on the computer, we had to limit it and just set up a couple of days for the two of you to chat and build your friendship.

You have an amazing ability to befriend others. You are confident and put yourself out there. You are kind and love to talk. You love having one or two really good, special friends. You make that happen easily. It’s really incredible to watch and be a part of.

My heart hurts for you that your kindergarten year is online. I know you would be thriving even more in person with your friends. At the same time, I’m in awe of how adaptable you’ve been, and how you are getting the most you can from this situation. You are still making friends and actually building relationships. You are still loving school as you always do, and participating and learning.

Your ability to understand what is going on with the virus, take it seriously, be flexible with your school and well, your entire life right now… it’s something that has just been amazing.

One day, we’ll look back on this year and wonder how we did it. How we stayed strong and pushed through- especially when the world around us seemed to be just moving on ahead at times without precautions. It has sometimes felt like we were the only ones still staying home and staying safe.

This year brought on some firsts that were amazing to share with you as well…

You lost your first teeth (two front bottom). You let me have the tooth fairy come once… then you told me I “didn’t have to pretend anymore,” since you knew there wasn’t really a tooth fairy LOL!

Happy Birthday- Sweet 6

The summer before kindergarten started, we built my first big garden. The year before I’d done some small raised beds. I’d done the tiniest bit to just try my hand at it. But this year, we went big. And you helped so much. We went out daily in the summer and watered, checked on the plants, learned a whole lot about bugs and disease. You learned as I did and would spot disease and tomato hornworms before I did at times.

Happy Birthday- Sweet 6
Happy Birthday- Sweet 6

We worked hard together and it was really amazing to share with you. When you weren’t thinking about it, you let yourself get dirty and really help out. Other times you wanted to stay clean, but you were right by my side checking on things with me and keeping me company. You even helped me during my first attempts at canning, and you were so proud of every harvest and every jar we canned.

In October, you started becoming interested in the presidential election. You stayed up and watched a debate with me. You came with me to drop off our ballots. We stayed up on election night together and watched the results come in. You watched for days, and patiently filled in your election map as they called more states.

Happy Birthday- Sweet 6

And then, you got to stay up and watch the first female Vice-President elect give her acceptance speech. I had tears in my eyes. It felt so much bigger than I thought it was going to. It was incredible to share that moment with you.

I had no idea this first was even coming, but just last week the first woman played in a power 5 football game! So awesome, because just this year you’ve had so many questions about why women don’t play football and how you’ve noticed women not doing certain jobs, etc.

This year women have represented so well and you got to be witness to it. That makes me so, so happy.

Another kind of first this year is you getting to really be in your big sister role and have a sibling to play with. Last year brought the baby stages with William. Not much going on when it came to playing or doing much. You held him and sometimes helped to feed him. You were ecstatic to have a brother and were so helpful.

Happy Birthday- Sweet 6

This year, though, you just thoroughly enjoyed having a toddler brother! You got to play with him in real ways and you loved it. You’ve loved teaching him. Sometimes you sit down with him and play “school”… you show him colors and letters. He has no patience for it, or any interest like you did at his age, but you try so hard!

He listens to you and wants to do everything you do. At times that’s the biggest annoyance to you and you’ve lost your temper with him a few times… but most of the time you enjoy the company.

At the dinner table, he refuses to eat and is horribly picky. Not for you though. You say to try something and he does. You even take a bite of something you hate, just to get him to try it.

While he wriggles around like an alligator when Daddy and I try to change him or get him dressed, for you he lays down and even helps.

You are an incredible big sister- to both him and April. You make it a point to talk about April. You remember her and miss her. You give me the freedom to incorporate her into our lives easily.

You just love so hard and so passionately. It shines through in all you do. From school to home, playing to learning, friends to family. You are an incredible person to know, and I am so lucky that I get to have you as my daughter.

This year your birthday was on Thanksgiving. It was such a fun day and so special. I remember the day you were born. It was a Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. And it was our first snowfall that year. I love having your birthday around Thanksgiving since we all get some time off to really spend time together and enjoy ourselves.

Happy Birthday- Sweet 6

This time is extra special now. Our lives are extra special getting to be a part of your life. You are going to do great things. Your passion for everything in life will keep launching you forward as we’ve seen it do this year.

I love you more than words can ever say.


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