Thursday, August 29, 2013

What Six Looks Like

This morning Ella's socks would not cooperate with her. Those darn socks caused her to get flustered on the drive to school and when the twins hopped out Ella did not follow. Tears welled up in those dreamy green eyes and she whimpered,

"I am not going to school today, I want to stay with you."

It took about 10 minutes of coaxing and begging and bribing, right there in the car line, to convince her to walk to class and to tell you the truth, my heart was breaking. It's hard for me to "force" a crying child to do something they don't want to. But I know Ella and I know she loves school and I know she would do the same thing the next day if I gave in, so I didn't, despite the lump in my throat.

Ella is 6! And a few months ago as her birthday was approaching I clipped this article and saved it. Because I definitely know what six looks like, and I love my six and her stubborn socks.

(Of course I deleted the sentences I didn't like, like I always do)
We know what Six Looks Like by Jennifer Rowe Walters

We know what six looks like. We know what it smells like. How it can go from the fresh scent of shampoo and soap to the musky aroma of "dirty child" in what seems like minutes. How it resists getting in the bathtub... and then resists getting out half an hour later. How sweet its hair and skin and clean jammies smell when it sits on your lap and asks you to read it a bedtime story.
We know what six looks like. We know what it sounds like. How it cries and whines. How it sings and laughs. How clever it is and how much more clever it grows every day. How it sounds out words on signs as we drive past in the car and how happy it is when it gets them right. How kind it sounds when it soothes its sister when she falls down and hurts herself. We know how lovely the words "Mommy" and "Daddy" and "I Love You" sound in its six-year-old voice.
We know what six looks like. We know how it tastes. How picky it is. How it thinks chicken nuggets or macaroni and cheese are gourmet foods. How much it loves candy and cookies. How it tolerates broccoli and carrots. How it thinks French fries are a vegetable. How it thinks chocolate milk was created by God himself. How it thinks pizza is its own food group. We know that six is happy when it finds "I love you!" written on a napkin in its lunch box at school.
We know what six looks like. We know how it feels. How big it's getting. How fast it outgrows its clothes and how it's no longer a baby, but not quite yet a big kid. We know the weight of six in our arms. How we can barely carry it anymore, but try anyway because we can't quite bring ourselves to accept the truth. We know how easily six gets its feelings hurt if someone says just the wrong thing or if this friend or that one doesn't want to play with it or it gets in trouble at school. We know the velvety softness of six's skin. We know the still-silkiness of its hair.
Yes, we know what six looks like. We know six's gap-toothed smile and its gangly arms and legs. We see how it jumps and dances. How it twirls and runs. We know how funny six is. How absolutely charming it can be. We know six's terrible jokes. We know its crooked "S" and its backwards "3." We see how it teeters on the cusp of the world of books and all the joys of reading, but how it's not quite ready to fall in yet. We watch it take two steps towards independence and one step back towards us every day. We know how sturdy and strong six is... and yet how frail and fragile.
We know what six looks like. How beautiful it is. How precious. How brightly it shines with promise. How much it looks towards the future... toward 7,8,9... How much it looks like forever.
We know what six looks like and we know we couldn't bear life without it.
Yes, we know what six looks like. And we know that, to us-- six is the whole world.

Here is Ella on her birthday. Like I almost always do we kept it simple. Scott had gotten free tickets to Big Surf so we left Cali with a sitter and took the others for a birthday celebration. Ella does not like big slides so for a long stretch of about two hours her and I swam together in the shallow pool. I got so lost in playing with her that I noticed another mother laughing when she heard me show Ella the way my "mermaid hair" swished in the water. Ella has the best imagination and we were everything that night from mermaids to sharks to pirates, just her and I.

Without a doubt my Six is certainly--the whole world.

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