Happy 7th Birthday, Kate!

Dear Kate,
This has been your biggest year yet and I am so amazed and smitten by the little girl you’ve become. You truly are the coolest person I know with the best attitude, and I hope you never lose that.

Lately you’ve had a lot of questions about where babies come from. Thankfully you came via c-section and I can show you the exact spot where you came from because I’m just not ready for THAT conversation (I don’t think you are either, I don’t want to scare or confuse you about your body), but it makes me think of the day you arrived. I was nervous, my belly was gigantic, and I had guilt over how you would affect your brother. If I had any idea how amazing you would be or how lucky Noah would be to have you, I would have loved every minute of the ups and downs from that day and not even noticed the dramatic fashion in which you entered. I write all this down because I fear someday I will forget even the smallest detail. I’m sure I’ve written your birth story somewhere but it’s a good one that includes all the people who love you, the licking of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you being stuck, and you flipping us the bird in your very first photo.

In the last seven years you’ve blossomed into a confident, curious, artistic, and selfless little girl. No one gets you down, nothing can stop you, you have compassion and empathy in spades, and you’re giving and nurturing to a fault. If I listed all the ways you are this amazing little person I would have carpal tunnel and you would have gray hair. You’ll have to trust that you’ve never been bullied because you befriend even those who are unkind, you give your last of everything to the first person who asks, you’re so charming that everyone adores you (you have your teachers wrapped around your finger almost instantly), you sneak around and clean the house when you know I’m stressed, you ask to feed the homeless and always wonder how they got in that position, you let your brother win (always), and you will do absolutely anything to make your daddy’s day better. There isn’t anyone who doesn’t adore you.

Your artistic abilities are way beyond your years. You spend hours crafting, creating, coloring, and drawing (usually gifts for other people). Right now you’re really into drawing hearts and writing love letters and affirmations on your pictures. If you see something you like, you instantly create your own version and add it to your collection. You recently saw an entrance that required a palm scan. You now have a construction paper version on your bedroom door, it’s right next to the pin pad you made a few months ago.

You can be sassy. You’ve come out with “Noah is going to pay for this” when he talked you into the splash zone at the Shamu show, “that’s really inappropriate” for something that totally wasn’t, you’ve learned how to roll your eyes, and you sometimes try to mother us all. You’re so giving and so funny. I know these little glimpses of spunk and drama are just a taste of what’s to come. Try not to lose your self confidence and I’ll try to remember the days when we chuckled at your assertions.

Not much has changed medically. We’re still dealing with the precocious puberty and you’re still taking it like a champ. You get those horrible injections and you don’t even flinch. You wear deodorant now and you’re growing like a weed. At your last visit, your endocrinologist told you that things are probably really confusing right now and a little hard because you’re on medicines that make you wonder why you feel so different but someday, hopefully in the not too distant future, you will even out and you can begin to trust your body and the things it is telling you. I hope things aren’t too weird for you but I’ll never know, as you shrugged it off and flashed her a smile that said, “it’s cool!”

You take time to warm up to strangers. This hasn’t always been the case and it can often times be uncomfortable to watch. I don’t want to push you into being the social butterfly you once were but I suspect you adopted this behavior from your brother after it became clear how much attention he gets for it. Being mute and standoffish is so not who you are but maybe you have to decide if you want to let everyone in before you do. Time will tell but I’m guessing this too will even out and you’ll stop staring at your shoes when new people greet you.

You’re a thrill seeker! You love adventure, travel, and roller coasters more than any of us. You are first in line for anything that gets your adrenaline going or scares the pants off the rest of us! Luckily, we friends who volunteer to ride the scariest of rides with you and we’re doing our best to foster your curiosity for new places and experiences. At the fair this year a good friend, Jessica Quevedo, accompanied you on the crazy attractions, she’s as much of a thrill seeker as you are. You had absolutely no mercy and you ran into every line to wait your turn. There was an upside down ride that had your name written all over it and you were so excited until you came up short on the height requirement. You made us promise we’d let you try again next year. Jessica has moved to Texas, I will get on there myself if I have to – a promise is a promise (I really hope we can talk another friend into doing the fair with us)! You rode your first upside down ride a few months later with daddy at Wonder Works in Orlando.

You want to try everything and belong to it all. You’re doing Zumba, taking guitar lessons, you want to sign up for every after school club, and you’re weighing your options between swim, tennis, soccer, and martial arts. You’d do it all if we’d let you! Don’t ever stop learning or being curious!

Today I will bring doughnuts to your class and I will probably get choked up like I do every year. It’s been so incredible to watch you blossom and I can’t believe we’re already to lucky number 7!

I love you so much!

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