Today my princess is turning five. Five is always a year of big changes and growth and I've looked forward to Carli Grace reaching this point for a long time. This year she'll start Kindergarten, which to me is such a huge, big thing...and she'll love every second of it.
Carli Grace is probably the child of mine I know the best because we are the most alike. That makes coming up with her five things to note this year even easier. Looking back on past years the growth I see is amazing - 2012, 2011, 2010.
This year Carli Grace has become so very brave. The girl that wouldn't leave our front step if there was a lawn mower in a 10 block radius now runs around in the court just like all the big kids. She drives her jeep like a maniac jumping curbs and yes, sometimes people. My girl even talked herself into swimming with dolphins - something we were sure she wouldn't do. Watching her overcome her fears has made me so proud.
This year Carli Grace has really stepped up her game at being a great big sister. She tells us what Hattie is saying if we don't know, givers her boosts when she needs it (and sometimes when she doesn't), and always asks her "sissy" if she wants whatever it is Carli Grace is having. Those girls play together with so little drama and seem to genuinely enjoy each other almost all the time.
This year my girl's love for learning has grown and grown. She's learning to read. We are reading chapter books together (we're on our 6th one!). And she has questions...lots and lots of questions. Her strong desire to learn and love of reading will take her so far in this beautiful life and seeing that desire come naturally makes me happy beyond words. She knows for sure that Momma doesn't know everything, but Momma does know where to find out and I can help her learn anything she wants.
Friends. Oh, so many friends. I love it. I love watching her in line at Bible class and start talking to the girl in front of her. I love watching her chase and play with one of her besties. I love having little neighbor girls knock on our door and ask if Carli Grace can play. It can make your life so much smoother if you know how to reach out and make friends and this girl is a pro. Gymnastics, Bible class, the pool, the library, vacation, etc...she can find a friend anywhere.
This year, as in every year past, my girl knows her own mind. She knows what she is and is not willing to do and she knows how to express that. She knows whether she wants to be the same thing for Halloween that she's been three times, she knows whether only skirts that twirl are appropriate attire...for any day, she knows whether her pillow goes at the foot of the bed, and that you are never too old for footie pajamas. My girl knows herself and is true to that all the time. The strength I see there will serve her well for years and years to come.
Carli Grace, this year is going to be huge baby girl. Lots of firsts will be coming from every direction and I know in my heart you'll take each one in stride. I thank God every day that he knew you belonged with us and pray that this will be your best year yet. I've said it before, but honestly there is no truer statement - I love you more than you will ever know until you are a momma yourself. Happy birthday princess!!