Letters to our Daughters. This project is one that I hold dear to my heart. It’s a project I do not only for myself but for my girls. The ones who will hopefully be reading (and want to read) this when they are older, or if they are lucky, mothers themselves. I hope the words that I share with them today will always bring them back to a place of unconditional love, especially during times of need.
April is for E.
Goodness, the time has flown. I was caught off guard the other day when someone asked you how old you are, and you answered, “I’m turning 5 this summer!”. In some ways, you are moving on from needing me constantly. You are spreading your wings and doing things on your own, for yourself (or as you used to say when you were 2 1/2 years old: “by my own”). You are dressing yourself, feeding yourself, putting on your own shoes and hanging your jackets (on those days you are willing), carrying your own backpack. It certainly helps mama, as I usually am helping your little sister and typically expecting you to do it on your own (and when you don’t, I’m frustrated at your refusal to listening to my repeated requests to do so!). Now when you do those things, I am proud but I also realize, you’re moving on, you don’t rely on me so much anymore to do all the little things for you.
You’ve known your letters since you were two. You knew their sounds, you knew what words start with those letters. Your pronunciation has always been excellent and clear. So our expectations for your reading have been set a little higher as a result. You teacher has been telling us you’ve been sounding words at school but when we ask you off hand, to read street signs, or labels, or words in the books we read, you refuse (of course!). But a few days ago, you started showing us you can. You were sounding words to the adult and baby words for different animals. We’ve been playing Bananagrams and you are understanding how the same letters are used in different words, and spelling out the words you want (with help), like Velveteen (we’ve been reading Velveteen Rabbit lately).
You still love to draw, just not as often, but when you do, your creations are more intricate. The finished work you bring back from your art class is so amazing. Your rendition of Peter Rabbit made us laugh – blue rabbit with a blue coat. Your imagination is becoming richer. Your stories and plots thicken as you tell them.
As much as you love your playdates with your best friends, A and I, you love spending time with your family the most. Especially me. Yes, I’m the one at home with you, I am your primary care-giver but there’s always a million things to do around the house. I don’t know why I can’t just let them be, it’s something I have to learn to let go because more often than not, the chores or tidying up, emails, editing – they can all wait. You crave time with me and I promise you I will learn to be better at giving quality time. I’m not as good as creative role playing or lego building as Daddy (he does the best voices) but when it comes to crafting, I’ve got it covered!
One of things that has been really weighing on my mind it how much you resent the camera. I’m not sure if it’s because you associate it with my work on the computer with the photographs I’ve taken (and therefore not playing with you) or if it’s that I’ve over extended my welcome with the camera in your face with my 365 project. I’ve decided it was time to give daily shooting a break anyway, but that is one of the big reasons for the stoppage. But if there’s anything that makes me so happy, is if you actually oblige my request for some shooting with you. Yes, there may be bribing involved but it’s a win in my book if there is not a fight all the way through. Today, you did that for me. You chose the dress you wanted, the hair style you wanted, and I got my shots. It was definitely worth two cookies and a mermaid sticker!
As I’m looking at these images, my heart is full. My girl is growing up, her legs are longer, her arms are longer, she is almost too big to be cradled like a baby. But during that 15 minutes of shooting, in between that almost 5 year old girl, are moments where I am reminded that there is still that baby who needs me, no matter how old she may be.
Now please click over to check out Jennifer’s beautiful entry on her Letters to her Children for April, and keep going – this is a talented and sentimental bunch!