DEAR RAE: YOU AT SEVEN

RAE!

You are seven today! You have been so eager for this day, sometimes shaking with giddy anticipation. It reminded me, for the first time in a long time, of when you would shake (with the largest of smiles plastered on your face) at the thought of some incredible moment on the horizon. I am filled with such a comfort knowing, while you are older and more mature, you really haven’t grown far from younger you.

Something that has not changed is your commitment to your interests. When you like something, you really like something. You don’t flutter from one great thing to the next. You get to know everything you can about what you enjoy. Your first big love was Star Wars, which held strong from age three to age six. With six came an interest in Ninjago and art (particularly drawing), and even now you show no signs of moving on to new interests.

You love love love when I lie down on the floor and play Legos with you. You build and build for hours and though you love to have company you don’t require or even wait around for it. You are your own woman. Always have been. Hopefully always will be.

I have really been blessed with so many hours of one on one drawing, cooking, reading, and Lego time with you in the past few months. Time with you, hearing your thoughts, sharing mine, has been such a gift to me.

You love me and you show me nearly every minute of every day – whether with hugs, kisses, drawings, gifts, requests for me to join you in doing what you enjoy, or requesting to join me with what I enjoy. I am trying very hard to appreciate having you around every minute of every day. Which, is not hard, but what I wouldn’t give to freeze time and spend days with you, uninterrupted.

You are brilliant. You think of the most insightful things to say and, usually, stop to think before you speak. Knowledge seems to come easy for you. Maybe that is why I am so grateful you still have a resemblance to your younger self? Your big brain hasn’t stifled your sweet six seven-year-old nature.

Seven! I am excited to see how you change this year and how you stay the same. I am continually getting to know you – the real you underneath your circumstance.

Welp, I’m off to watch Ninjago with you for the umpteenth time before you head to bed tonight. Your first sleep as a seven-year-old!

I hope wherever life finds you now, you are happy, carefree, and maybe, if you have time, you could send me a new drawing for old time’s sake?

You’re terrific, Rae. I love you.

Momma

DEAR MAE: YOU AT NINE

Dear Mae,

Today you are nine. Nine! Boy that number suddenly sounds mighty big.

Not nearly as large as the “thirty-two” my mom will hear later this month, but to me, nine sounds major…and really fun!

Here are some things you are currently ‘into’ :

Irish music (their classic folk songs & The Cranberries)

History is still your favorite subject (mine too!). So much so, you have requested we cover some sort of history every day.

Your favorite historical figure is still Abraham Lincoln. You keep a rotation of biographies on Abe by your bed and read them most nights when you’re not quite as tired as Mom would like you to be. (Also, you have a favorite historical figure!)

You have really become interested in reading and we have started a book club for just the two of us. If we’ve dropped this habit, let’s pick it back up again, OK?

Halloween is coming up. I’ve never cared for the holiday. In fact his year I decided we were going to skip the hoopla all together. Your enthusiasm (and constant pleading) got me to change my mind and for the first time in my life, I am genuinely enjoying that part of fall and have even gone so far as to bring candy into the house. You’re very persuasive. (P.S. – I really like your costume choice this year!)

Full House. Good Gracious. You are SO VERY into Full House. You are currently emersed in the final season and will surely have completed the series in the next week or two. You’re deeply invested in each character’s fictional life. It’s adorable to witness. You have even inserted the phrase, “Duh” into your vocabulary. You use it well.

You still love to dance and are the best/funniest dancer. Geez, I really dig your humor.

You D R E A D brushing your hair. I usually don’t make you, but when I do, you take the news like a champ…I kid. You sigh quite loudly, then slowly drag your feet over to the bathroom and finish the dreadful task by chucking the brush and running out of the room while laughing maniacally. You’re a real treat.  

You have become a terrific cook/baker over the past year. Last week you made the BEST pancakes I’ve ever had! You want to cook every meal every day. I’ll try and get better about letting you.

You adore all of your pets and can think of a handful of others you’d like to have. A bird (life long dream), a guinea pig, hedgehog. sheep, and the holy grail of pets – a horse! I hope you get your horse someday.

You are thoughtful. You are empathetic. You are generous. You are sensitive and easily discouraged. You are quick to hug. You are still always up for snuggles (the best!). You are a no-fuss kind of human and the first to smother others in compliments.

I miss you the moment you leave the room. I can’t imagine life without you.

I never tired of looking at you, holding you, hearing your voice – your laughter, feeling your hand in mine, or learning what’s on your mind.

Happy Birthday, Scrambled Egg!

I love you,

Yer Ma.

DEAR MAE AND RAE

Girlies,

First of all, thank you for reading up on your childhood. I hope you have been finding some value, and occasional humor, in the words of my younger self.

NOW. This is important. So focus.

I need you to go outside (or to the rock collection you hopefully have within arms reach.) Grab a couple of pebbles. Maybe a twig, leaf, or pinecone as well.

Got ’em?

Now. Go next door to my house (hahaha). Shove your findings into my jacket pockets, tennis shoe, and/or purse. I am SURE TO BE in need of such a surprise reminder of the days I am living today.

Thank you! I love you. Bye.

DEAR RAE : : YEAR SIX

My sweet Rae,

I spent the better part of my afternoons this week reading past letters I’ve written to you. What joy you bring to our days. It’s been great to see which traits have stuck with you (your infectious head-thrown-back belly laugh) and which traits you’ve sadly grown out of (back pats).

I am in awe of the beautiful qualities that make you our Amelia.

Now! Let us see what your sixth trip around the sun entailed!

You are still shy yet very outspoken when the occasion calls for it.

You, like me, want to be completely surrounded by people who are leaving you well enough alone. Thanks for exempting me from such boundaries and allowing me to share your bubble for snuggles anytime I want.

I love the way you speak. My favorite “Raeism” has to be how you refer to today as, “This day.” and tomorrow as, “The next day after this day.”

Penelope is still your favorite human.

You love the idea of going to Daddy’s classroom but do not actually like being in Daddy’s classroom.

You are entering your seventh year with a consistent love of naps and you still fall asleep during most car rides. It’s the cutest.

You’ve finally caved and decided to move on from your coveted pixie cut and are now aiming for “Mommy’s hair.” I miss the pixie.

You drew me a picture, possibly, every day this past year. Often, several a day. You fold them up and put them in an envelope with a sticker across the seal, and place it / them on my pillow.

I may require that this tradition continues well into your adulthood.

I kid…

But, please, don’t grow out of this phase too fast okay?

You used to be fanatical about things, such as Star Wars and our beloved, Sarah and Duck. Nowadays, you like many things a decent amount – such as! – dinosaurs, comic books, dancing, painting (You would paint all day if I’d let you. Someday, I hope I let you.).

In your sixth year, I do believe your affection for accessories grew to new heights. Maybe it’s the new hair? You adore headbands, clips, braids, earrings (clip-ons), bracelets and of course, watches.

You lost three teeth this year! You were so worried well before you even felt the ‘tweensiest’ wiggle and by the time the third tooth was loose enough, you pulled it yourself. whatagirl.

Happiest of birthdays, Rae. We love you immensely.

DEAR MAE : : YEAR EIGHT

Marvelous Mae, you turn EIGHT today!

What an incredible honor it is to be your mom. You are this kindest, most patient, curious, loving human being I will ever know. I was given another year with you (a completely healthy you!), that alone makes my heart burst and my eyes brim with tears – alright, let’s get away from this mushy stuff… Hopefully, as you’re reading this I am still around bothering you with these words in person, daily.

Let’s move along to see what you are like at this very moment in time!

You are, still, always good for a joke, sincere encouragement, or an adventure.

You have grown two inches in the past year!

You care about your clothes and find a way to bring about your own style. You work with what you’ve got and thankfully, your hand-me-downs are just what you prefer to wear!

You are so proud of your progress in dance and have been striving to devote more time to your stretches, your knowledge of what you’re taught as well as building up your technique. You are always floating and dancing your way from one place to the next.

You still do not like meat. Your father wants to know, “Why?” Along those lines, your favorite meal has to be dessert – even if that means designating a non-sweet item on your plate as the “dessert.” You like soup, salads, and the greatest of all foods would have to be pancakes. All types of pancakes.

You are adaptable and pleasant in every situation. You never complain about anything – and I truly mean that ‘anything’. Well okay, if there is meat on your plate by accident, say on pizza or in a meal at someone’s house, you wince a little.

You hold your sister’s hand all. the. time. and it is the greatest.

You always have paper and a pencil with you. You copy words from books, write stories, write letters and write random words whose spelling you want to commit to memory.

And, Oh!, that memory of yours. I’ve never seen anything like it. The other day, you brought up a seemingly insignificant five-minute conversation you and I had two years ago! because it related to a current conversation we were having. You can tell me how to get to Vovo’s old house in Dothan, Alabama. You know certain recipes by heart, and you hear very sophisticated words and will bring them up in the natural flow of a sentence. Words we didn’t even know you knew but had heard somewhere along the way.

You are definitely an older sister. I don’t want to say bossy so before I do, let’s jump on over to the next sentence!

Your favorite subject is probably still science – biology and robotics are where it’s at. You, like your daddy, have to figure out how things work and why they work. But, you are like your momma in the way that you always want to go somewhere, anywhere at all times.

Paris and horses and baking and reading are a few of your favorite things. You can read so well now and are understandably proud of yourself!

I feel as though saying, “We love you so much!” falls short of what we truly mean. Those words are said so frequently that they may lose their meaning if they haven’t already – but I’m not too great at or fond of metaphors. So, I will tell you we feel more deeply for you than we ever thought we could feel. When you came into this world we discovered a new kind of love that is beyond understanding and beyond measure. You share our love with your sister, yet somehow you each have more than our whole hearts in your possession. You are imperfect, yet perfect. I cannot possibly love you more but I can try, more than I do, this year to show you how much I adore you.

My beautiful, Mae. Happy Birthday sweet girl.

DEAR MAE

Oh, Miss Mae…

This post has been in draft mode for quite some time. I can’t quite think of how to put all of the things I feel into the right words.

SO! This letter will be a list. A list of some things about you that I’m so very grateful for…

Let’s begin with your unwavering commitment to snuggling. I could not be more proud. You press your head over my heart, wrap your arms around to my back and tuck your knees up to your chest making it so they lie on mine. Then, you stay put for many many minutes. It’s terrific.

Whats more, you kiss me with quite the confident pucker and you dig hand-holding just as much as I do.

You are always up for anything – a trip, an activity, folding laundry, changing A’s diapers, legit tea parties, helping with construction projects, cooking when I’m drowning in responsibility or simply not feeling well, or curling up on the couch with me just so we can sit still next to one another with no agenda (the best!).

You tell me all of your hopes and dreams the moment they spark into existence. (also the best!)

You let me stare at your face as long as I want, whenever I want.

You’re the funniest human I know. Like, the quickest wit expressed with clever adult word-age. Words very unlike the word word-age.

You still refer to people as humans. Every time. Not to be funny, simply to be specific.

You are curious. I know that is a typical characteristic of a child – but you seem to excel at curiosity. You want to know everything about everything. I’m very grateful I’m in a position to take the time to figure out the answers to the universe with you.

You are still gentle – unless a certain joke requires you to be boisterous. Anything for a laugh.

Along those lines – you fully commit to a joke and believe there is never a wrong time to be hilarious. You’ve never had a comment fall short of brilliant. Ever.

You’re an incredible artist – dancing, drawing, and acting. Like your daddy, you can put on a performance at a moments notice. I love that about him and love that I see that part of him in you.

You strive to verbalize foreign accents perfectly, once again, like your daddy does.

You are never short of compliments. You constantly tell us kind, uplifting things about ourselves and make us feel not only loved but noticed.

I can’t believe I get be your momma. I get you. You are so bright and fill us all with an untamable joy.