I took this photo last year at the Morton Arboretum. The ladybug was invited to go with me to check out the great exhibits that they had for families, and she absolutely did not mind that it was on her birthday. She even got a nice little present from the staff of Morton Arboretum, and was delighted with it. We actually still use the wax crayons that they gave her today. Today she’s turning six. A little older, a little wiser, and a little closer to being old enough to not need me or Mr. Houseful anymore. I know, that’s melodramatic, but I’m in my feelings lately.
Now, I sit here, exactly 365 days later, and I’m not sure what’s going on. My girl is getting big, and thoughtful (not that she wasn’t before) and super confident. Why, just last week, she sang a song that she made up as she went, to our homeschool co-op, and then when she finished, took a bow and announce enthusiastically, “Thank you everyone, I’m Ladybug Nicholes!” I absolutely know full well where that personality comes from, but I’m amazed that I was blessed enough to get her.
I’ll admit that I was initially scared to become a mom of a girl. She magnified all of the things that I was lacking to be a girl mom. I didn’t know how to braid hair, and the Lord knows that I hated dressing up, and all of that when I was old enough to decide, so how was I going to handle a little girl in my home? The answer was easy – we just grew together.
When the ladybug was born, she had a severe heart murmur. It caused a lot of panic for me and quite a bit of worry for Mr. Houseful although he probably won’t admit it. Her first year of life was filled with cardiologist appointments and going back and forth to the pediatrician to check on her failure to thrive (by the way, I hate that term – it’s stupid to me) even though at home I saw that she ate well, and did all of the things that other children her age did. She was just smaller and skinnier. It took almost a full two years for her to make it onto the curve for her weight and height, but not for her head circumference!
I love to sit back and marvel at the conversations that we can have at a moment’s notice. How she cries whenever she watches our wedding video because she just thinks it so beautiful and how she loves to practice her running on the sidewalk of our block. She’s fast too. She loves church, and worshipping God, and she just proves that children in their innocence are so awesome. Of course we have days where she may toe the line, but they are few and far between. She loves hard, and enjoys cuddling up with any of her family and laughing until it hurts.
Sometimes I feel that I’m failing her. You know. By not keeping up with the thirst that she has for knowledge, and for exploring the world around her. She amazes me with random facts that she’ll spit out, and it lets me know that no matter how much I think she’s not listening, she’s soaking it all up. She spits out information that I’ve given to her months ago. Always at the appropriate time and in the correct manner. She’s sensitive, yet still sure of her opinions and I love it. There are days when she will attempt to slick talk, and AFTER we let her know why it’s not the proper way to do things, we get a pause with reflection, and then she’s about her way.
Simply put, I love my oldest daughter, and I thank God that I was chosen to be one of her guardians. I do not take it lightly, and I want her to know today and everyday that I love her with every fiber of my being.
Happy 6th Birthday Ladybug – may this be the best year yet.