A Letter to Oldest Daughter on Your 7th Birthday

img_0037This has been a busy year.

This is the year we are trying unschooling. It’s got pros and cons, but it’s been great getting to spend so much time with you. Your mom works really hard wearing all of the hats she has to wear and I know she really appreciates your help. You’re so good with your little sister. She doesn’t know how to share and gets really frustrated with you and you’re so patient and kind. You always forgive her. She’s been doing a little hair pulling which is when it gets really bad, but you do a great job with her overall.

This last year you learned to sew, you got a big kid bike, discovered Harry Potter, and you’re making some incredible art.

The other day you and I were driving to the store and you said, “Dad, I can’t wait to go camping again.” It made me so happy. For the past week, I’d been thinking, “I can’t wait for the weather to change so we can go camping.” It made me really happy to hear you felt the same way. I promise you, the first chance we get, we’re hitting the road.

It took me a while to realize that I’m not here to make you into the person I want you to be, but to help you be the person you are. There are so many things about you that I love to learn. You’ve always been pretty cautious and careful. You like to have a plan. That one will probably take some getting used to; your mom and I are pretty…laid back. And I know I say this every year, but you’re so funny. You used to be funny because you’re a kid and you did funny things. Now you’re legitimately funny. You intentionally say funny things. You also have a genuine curiosity and interest in the world. You’re a kid and you have a lot of questions, but you seem to genuinely like to find the answers. You like looking up words and hearing all about a particular subject. We spent a good few minutes at dinner learning about the origin and history of macaroni and cheese.

You love reading comic books and playing Citadels. You love riding your bike and would live at the park if we let you. You rotate between playing with different dolls and animal play sets and Lego. Nancy Drew has taken a back seat lately to Harry Potter, but you’ll come back. You always do.

img_0038When we moved to Dallas last year, you rode up front in the UHaul with me and we had so much fun. You talked and slept and made me play your favorite songs over and over again. We watched a lot of soccer this past year. We were waiting to watch the US-Germany game and you said, “Dad, I hope Germany’s whole team gets red cards.” It was so funny. I keep trying to get you pumped about the Women’s World Cup this year, but I don’t think it’s sunk in yet. But this summer…it’s gonna be on.

When I think of how many times you’ve moved in the seven years of your life, it breaks my heart. I don’t know what’s going to happen this year or next. We will eventually need to move again, but overall you seem like you’ve handled it all pretty well. Amelia, you’re a great kid and you’re so much fun to be with. I hope you had a great birthday.