Six. SIX. I cannot believe you are six years old, Elizabeth. You are my baby and, yet, you are not a baby anymore. Six. Wow.
Six years have flown by. The lipstick on the walls, the nail polish in the carpet, the belly-button pinching, and the funky haircut are all distant memories. You are a big girl now. You can count well over 100, add and subtract numbers, read chapter books, and write and illustrate a story. You are more than ready for first grade your teacher says, but I would like you to repeat it just because I will miss you in the afternoons next year. You won't be repeating it though, so it will be an adjustment for me.
You go to school until 11:45. I am done at 12:15. You trot on over when you're done and my three year olds enjoy having the big girl there. Well, when you stay there. You usually go on up to the office, get a snack, and chat with the directors until all the little kids have gone and then you make your way to all of the other teacher's rooms to chat with them. I know I will not be the only lonely one next year. All of us get a little teary thinking about no Elizabeth after school come September. You know, I really struggled with whether I should take that job because I felt I was short-changing you, dragging you off to school at three while the boys got an extra year to veg out and watch Nick Jr. all morning. Although I loved the job, I cried a lot. It just didn't seem fair to you, but you never once complained. You enjoyed school and your teachers and over time your pretty much free reign over all that was preschool. I see now that your earlier exposure to school helped hone your academic skills and also your ability to interact and socialize with both children and adults. Elizabeth, you are my most well-adjusted, easy-going, roll-with-the-punches, work-it-all-out child. I don't know if that's because you are the third one, or because of school, or just the way you were formed in the womb, but let me just say after all I've dealt with since the beginning of my motherhood, it is a refreshing change.
Your favorite color used to be pink and sometimes purple and then sometimes both. Now you tell me it is yellow, which is my favorite color. I remember loving green at your age because it was MY mom's favorite color too. I love that you love yellow, but I hope you continue loving pink. And purple. And other things just because YOU want to love them. You don't have to love my stuff for me to still love you.
You love to draw and I have to buy paper every week just to keep up with you. There are pictures of princesses, and Disney World, and the Duck Dynasty dudes hanging on our walls. There are also many, many pictures of Ezra, one for each day he's been gone. He is usually sitting with me and you and we are smiling and there are lots of hearts. Sometimes Phoebe is there too and there a few with the boys, but mostly it's me and you and Ez and we're happy. I love them all. I am so sad that you had to experience his death, but I am relieved you remember him and still love him and carry his memory in your heart every day, because you know what? I do too. I am glad you still have Phoebe and I know she's glad to have you although I am sure she'd love it if you quit dragging her around and trying to dress her.
Let's see......what else? Your teacher says you are a good friend and you are kind to others. Every single person in your class came to your birthday party except the one kid who was on a cruise with his parents but his mom did say he cried and cried when he found out he couldn't go. You were hugged so much and everyone wanted to be with you and you found a way to hang with each and every one and you did it effortlessly. It was plain to see that you are very much loved not only by me and your family but your friends as well. It was a good feeling.
You love the Disney Princesses, Belle is still your current favorite. You are really good at archery and we can thank Merida for getting you interested in it. You can swim like a fish and ride your bicycle without training wheels, and you love to go outside and swing for a while as soon as you get home from school. You still love bubbles and I love to listen to you squeal in delight over the big ones just the same way you did when you first saw them as a baby. Bubbles never get old. You love to shop at Gymboree and by that I mean, I love to shop at Gymboree, but you are more than willing to tag along and sometimes suggest it yourself and, of course, I never turn you down. You would look lovely in a flour sack, but it makes me practically giddy to find a sweet outfit and then see you in it. I waited a long time for those girly clothes. They also never get old.
The only thing you really like to eat are french fries, peanut butter sandwiches, Hormel Honey Deli Ham, applesauce, Cinnamon Toast Cruch, plain spaghetti noodles doused in soy sauce, and the garlic noodles at PF Changs. I don't think you've eaten anything I've cooked for dinner in three years. I love that we can out to a restaurant, just us, and we can chat and eat and I don't have to chase after you or pack up as soon as you are done. I will miss our afternoon lunches, but I'll try to fit a few Saturday ones in next year. I'll let you have first pick. I am sure you will pick Five Guys.
Yesterday we took a walk and the first thing you did as we set out was to grab my hand. I didn't take yours as a mother will always do with her child and I realized then it's been a while since I was the one to reach for your hand, but we always hold hands. Always. Please never stop holding my hand. It's one of my favorite things.
There is so much more of you I could write about it, but it's time to pick you up from school. Only two more weeks and then you'll be a full day student. *sigh*. I've been lonely all morning for you, don't know how it'll be when you're there four more hours. It's been six years since I heard that doctor announce "It's a girl!". Still easily one of the best moments of my life. I remember the flashes of hair bows, dance classes, Gymboree dresses, and Disney princesses while listening to your first cries and seems like yesterday and, yet, here we are doing all of those things and I could not be happier.
My life was not complete until you were here. I love all the "girl stuff", but I could live without it all if you decided today to love sports, and pants, and Pokeman because I am just so lucky to love YOU and all that you are! You have been such a blessing, a true gift from God.
I love you Goose, and I always will.
Now you are six. Can you stay that way for just a while?
All my life I thought I'd be the perfect mother. I even majored in it. I aced all the child development classes I took toward my degree in, wait for it, Early Childhood Development and Elementary Education.
And then they were born. First Jacob, who is 8, then Adam, who is 4, and our biggest surprise, Elizabeth who is 2.
As much as I really wanted to be, I am finding out I am no June Cleaver. For starters, The Beav never had a baby sister.