six, i'm not sure about you. i was all fine and lovin' five. five meant "i love you"'s and "yes mama"'s. helpful and pleasant. funny and cuddly. being my own person, but keepin' close. five was a big deal: grown, but still just a Little. you weren't that complicated. the world was still and i was in it with you, five.
but six is kind of shovey. and i feel the tension. the glare that six gives me makes me want to edge out of the picture a bit more. not willingly, but because six has got places to go and doesn't want me to be seen with her (well, maybe just on her own terms). six whispers to me in that upset, but i'm not letting-on (so that i still look cool to my friends): don't call me baby. i'm not your BABY.
listen up six! you'll always be my baby. okay, sure, i'll try not to let it slip when you're with other sixes or sevens. but you're my baby.
five was still making fairy houses and inviting me into jump on the trampoline with her. five sat on my lap and fit at an awkward, uncomfortable angle that still felt pleasant. but i knew five couldn't always be five. so i was hopeful six would be just as grand. there's a high bar here. are you ready to meet it, six?
okay, sure. maybe i'm making five out to be better than five was. five still whined. a lot. and sometimes--ahem--five was annoying! sometimes i would wish five would just be ten all ready and grow up!
and so maybe i'm a bit harder on six than i ought to be. it's that extra finger that pops when someone asks six how old she is. so bold. so brazen. okay, fine... and yet...maybe she's not so sure of herself. six is still trying to figure out what it means to be an extra finger. a whole hand and then--wait for it--another finger on the other hand.
maybe six still needs me to make my hand available for the holding. perhaps she'll grab it as we walk. and maybe she won't. but six still needs a hug and a kiss. but maybe when we're alone. and even then maybe she will move away from my leaning-in. maybe i will need to say "i love you, six" first when i had been in the habit of hearing it frequently from five.
i'm just putting this down for the record. five has moved on. six is here to stay for awhile. i'm gonna love six just as much, if not more than five. i've concluded that. but i need my mother-moment to say a proper farewell to the five we've grown to know and love even more deeply this past year.
and if you're reading this six, welcome to us. we love you the way you are and all that you will do in our family this year. you are a true beauty with hair down, no fuss. you are a creator with ideas that makes wonder, wonder. you draw people wearing trapezoidal dresses in your handmade books with words written as they sound to you. six, you are so helpful and do things all on your own. you're ready for the world and are still reserved at times. you have things to say six, and you're finding your voice to use with others. you are the best bigger sister, looking out for three and showing her how to do things.
but six, please don't forget that you can still crawl into bed with me in the morning. four used to do that, and it's been awhile. please let me put my arm around you when we read books on the couch. six, i promise to sit with you and listen. i promise that i will not wish you into being ten on the tough days. i promise to still hold you in my heart as my baby and simultaneously hold you as the six year old you are in the independence you want. i promise to make mommy-and-me time more often just so that i can get to know you better, six. and for you to see that i'm still me. i'm not going anywhere.
i love you six. i've loved all that makes you up over these past six years. because all that you are now six, has happened because of one and two, three and four, and five. these past six years have made you. and oh what a wonderful making it has been.