First, Happy Birthday you big 7 year old! Second, THANK YOU. Thank you for a wonderful year. You have blossomed into this wonderful, beautiful, fun, FUNNY, creative, sensitive, helpful, caring young girl. Your Daddy and I are thrilled with the person you are and the one you continue to become. This year has brought so many magnifications of who you really are.
You are so loving with your little siblings and you continue to develop your relationships with each of them. We have noticed how you will sacrifice some of the things you want to do in order to play with them the way they want to play. They are almost always included in your play, though the last week or so has brought a desire to do things more independently.
It is clear that you are moving into the next phase of childhood. You want more independence and responsibility. You are delving a bit deeper into your interests. We started homeschooling in March of this year, and while you were doing wonderfully in public school, it has been such a privilege for me to watch you forging your own educational path here at home. On your own, bit by bit, you have continued to work on learning to read. We have not forced it or drilled it, but your interest and desire has spurred you on, and you are now reading things with very little assistance. If there is s sign, you'll read it. A birthday card, you'll read it. A book you are interested in, you'll pick it up and read it. You are persistent and patient, both of which are excellent qualities.
Art is also a passion of yours, and you enjoy it in all of it's forms. For a large portion of the day you can be found at your art table drawing or coloring while singing songs you make up as you go along. We went to see A Christmas Carol at the Palace Theater right after Thanksgiving and since then you have enjoyed putting on performances for us. With Charlie, you rehearse your shows and then invite us all in for the big show. Very little of your day is not centered around the arts in some way.
Another fun little thing about you is that you are also extremely interested in people and take little "favorite" surveys all day long. To family and strangers alike you ask, "What's your favorite color?" "What's your favorite shade of a gray?" "What's your favorite holiday, animal, restaurant...?"
But even with these fun educational achievements and interests of yours, the best thing from this past year has been to watch your character develop. You will always help when help is needed, and MOSTLY with a cheerful attitude. :) Your prayers have become so sweet, tender and thoughtful as you pray for those in need around the world. You sense the emotional weight of issues and events as they arise, and being one with a flair for the dramatic, we can read you like a book when you are bothered or distressed about something. You CARE...deeply. For your family, your friends, and those you have never met. You are an inspiration to me every day, and every day you teach ME how to be a better person. I'm told by a very wise Grammy of yours that this is how it should be. And I think she's right. We want our children to be better than we are, and my little Livy Lou, you are. I am so thankful for you.
Happy 7th Birthday!
Love you to the moon and back...and around Jupiter...and to China...and to California...and to Georgia...and to the Universe...and back. :)
Happy Birthday, Bear!! I can't believe you are 7! Tonight, as I tucked you in and cuddled with you for a few minutes, we talked about the how tiny you were when you were born and how I wasn't able to hold you after I left the OR for awhile as you were in the NICU and I was recovering in my room. You were so tiny, and I can still see the image of you being held up by the nurse as they wheeled me through the NICU on the way to my room. You have tubes and wires everywhere. And now, here I am with a healthy 7 year old boy I can hold and cuddle...but probably not for long.
Charlie Bear, my heart is aching just a little bit tonight, as a Mommy's heart often does. Watching our children grow, and watching YOU grow, is such a beautiful experience, but it doesn't come without some heartache. We have been through a lot together over these past 7 years, and I am grateful for all of it for it has taught me much. You have taught me much, and I am still learning. And I thank you for that.
In ways that I can never hope to be, you are incredibly intelligent. Math and science just click with you, and you have really enjoyed exploring various aspects of those since we started homeschooling. Experiments are a favorite and more recently you have begun building and engineering. You love to solve problems and fix things. Math just seems to click, and while I still often have to count in order to add two figures together (laugh all you want), it just comes naturally to you.
An unexpected benefit of our move to homeschooling this year has been for you. You were doing just great in academics in Kindergarten, but you were struggling when you finally came home at the end of your day. You did all you could to keep it together while you were there so when you came home you had just had enough, and it made it difficult to get along with people and to feel happy and good about yourself. While we have continued to work on some things here at home, I am SO grateful that the stresses of your school day have been lifted. Here at home we can work on things at a pace that is comfortable and exciting to you. We go where your interests lead us, and more importantly, we are spending our time focusing on building a solid foundation in YOU as a person upon which you can build all of your academic knowledge and capabilities as you feel ready to do so. We have the opportunity to love together, work together, and learn together. And when we need more of any of those, we go for it.
You are an amazing person, Charlie Bear. You are determined, intelligent, logical, focused, and caring. When something is wrong, you know it. When someone is WRONGED, you know that too, and it affects you in a very real way. Daddy and I are seeing the makings of an incredible man in you, but for now, I am very glad to keep you as my little boy, and I will cherish every precious hug, cuddle, and "I love you Mommy." Because I love you too, Charlie Bear. More than you will ever know.
Happy 7th Birthday!!
All my love,
To both of you:
There is a reason you came to this earth together. You are the yin and yang of our family. Of each other. You love and you fight, but you balance each other out in every way. You are the best of friends, and sometimes the very worst of enemies. But MOSTLY, you are the best of friends. What a gift you have been given in each other. Do not ever take it for granted. The two of you have something special, and it is a blessing to us all to be able to witness it.