This week Grace turned six years old. A six-year-old! She is getting so big, and so lovely, and so amazing. She has grown so much in competence as well as confidence in the past year; she can actually DO stuff. She can read! She can swim! She can ski! She can brush her own teeth! I am taken aback by how capable she is, by her ability to concentrate and focus. She still wavers in her motivation when something is hard and can be anxious about new ventures but she does so well. There have been a lot of chances this year for her to attempt something unfamiliar and it is such a delight to see her try it out and do well, to see her see her own competence.
She loves to put marker to paper to make cards and pictures as gifts for us, to overwhelm Lewis with cuddles and affection, to dance and run and play, to read books. The reading has been such a pleasure to see unfold; she can now sound out pretty much any word and is getting a good handle on the quirks of English spelling. She still mostly reads aloud, even to herself-- a fleeting glimpse into her mind that I hold dear. She is such a sensitive soul; she has been since she was a tiny baby and I think it is just who she is. She feels her feelings so intensely and has a vulnerable, aware heart. She is so full of love for the people around her. Her teachers say she is highly attuned to the feelings of others, and she has a strong sense of what is right and that rules are important. She is vivid and eager and bright.
We had quite the birthday festivities for Grace this year. She started out with a little celebration at school in her kindergarten class. There is a state law that you can't bring any homemade food to classrooms (isn't that so dumb?! I am still annoyed about it, and probably will continue to be every time a child of mine has a birthday for as long as we live here) so we ended up bringing fruit leathers, bunny crackers, and party hats for everyone in her class. It was really fun to see all her little kindergarten classmates sing to her and make her feel special.
Next, Grace had a dinosaur-themed birthday party with friends at the newly-opened Natural History Museum of Utah. The architecture of the new building is gorgeous and their staff did a really fantastic job organizing the party. This is the first time we have had a not-at-home party where I paid people money to set up, clean up, plan the activities, etc and I have this to say-- it is WONDERFUL. The party went so smoothly and it was so interesting and I was so relaxed. I will admit that I have harbored a certain doubtfulness about such parties in the past, thinking that one does not need to spend any significant cash on children's birthday parties, that little children just want to play and eat cupcakes with their friends. I still think this may be true for the toddler set but Grace's birthday party at home last year was just this side of too big and too crazy. Hence, our trip to the museum.
I even abdicated the task of making the cake this year. Our amazing friend Haley made it and it was so, so good. It was gobbled up by Grace and her friends from school and church and around town, after walking around the dinosaur skeletons, using picks and brushes to discover their own buried dinosaurs, and checking out fossils.
And then finally, on her actual birthday on Monday, we celebrated as a family with her gifts from family, leftover cake, and Chick-Fil-A for dinner. We've only been to Chick-Fil-A maybe 4 times since we moved to Salt Lake but it is what she requested and she is the birthday girl, after all.
Our intense, bright, beautiful birthday girl.