I was driving the other day when I glanced out my side window and was surprised at how quickly the world seemed to be passing by. Houses were a blur; lawns imperceptible; mailbox after mailbox faded into my rearview. It struck me as strange, though, because when I looked out straight in front of me, the road ahead came toward me at a comfortable pace, the trees in the distance approaching steadily and slowly. The contrast stood out at me; with the world to each side of me racing by faster than I was comfortable with, it made me think about you, sweet girl. When I look straight ahead down the road at the next few years, everything seems on-track and steady, but when I look around me, at the everyday moments slipping away with each passing minute, it all seems to be going by too quickly. And now, in what seems like a the blink of an eye, you’re six — which seems to have happened all too quickly and exactly when it should have, all at the same time.
And, unfortunately, your sixth birthday didn’t turn out to be exactly how we envisioned it. Last week the world went on quarantine for coronavirus, and we’ve been stuck at home without friends or school. Your birthday party was supposed to be yesterday, but we’ve postponed it. Sigh. However, sweet girl, you are resilient and optimistic, and you remind me of all that is good in this world.
This year has been so fun — and challenging. You are becoming more and more your own person each day, and I’m constantly both begging you to slow down and encouraging you to keep developing. I can’t wait to see who you grow into in life, Cricket, because I can already see so many wonderful and lovely things inside you.
You are so full of life and passion and vibrancy. Your emotions are intense and overwhelming. We always talk about what color your heart is — blue or pink or black or gold — as a way for you to name your emotions, and you always surprise me with the maturity and awareness with which you can express what’s going on inside you. When you are angry, you full of fury; when you are sad, there is a melancholy that follows you. But, sweet girl, when you are happy, your joy and energy is infectious and inspiring. You love and celebrate with as much ferocity as you defy and mourn. You are sentimental and unafraid to cry, brave enough to stand up for what you believe (or want), unapologetic in the way you live.
I love watching your imagination develop, Crickie. I always say that it’s your world and we’re just living in it — and nothing could be truer. You always have a story playing out in your head, some romance or tragedy or adventure, and are constantly begging us (or forcing us) to join in…as supporting players of course, haha! Sometimes I listen in when you are alone, talking to yourself as you dream out loud of some scene or another, and hearing the way you create dialogue and plot lines make me wonder if one day you will be a writer…and director and lead actor. Perhaps for a musical, considering you are literally always singing a song (of your own design). Sometimes I wonder if you view the world as a musical…which is why we signed you up for Musical Theater class this year. ;)
I can already tell that relationships will always play a big role in your life, because you live for you friends. You are happiest when with others, right in the center of the action. The Sister Squad (the six Shove, Manville and Engert girls) are your besties in life, and you even have a bestie in school, Lily. In fact, a few weeks ago I was cleaning up your closet and came across an old backpack filled with clothes and toys. When I asked you about it, you looked a me mischievously and admitted that the two of you had formed a plan where you would sneak home with her during carpool, hide in her house for a sleepover, and then come back to school the next day (and apparently neither families would notice?) — and you were getting ready to execute your plan! I didn’t know whether to laugh or to scold you, but it was hilarious. (It did make me worry about those teenage years, though!) You have a diary in which you write about all your imaginary drama — of how you love Jay, but he loves another girl, about how Lily “broke up with you” but then changed her mind. Girl, you feel rejection deeply; it cuts you like a knife. I want to protect you from all the pain and hurt in the world, but I am already seeing you go through it in little ways in life, and it’s hard. (I do NOT look forward to your first broken heart, sweet girl.)
Most of all, though, you love Emma Vance. She is your best friend (and sometimes enemy), and the person you look up to most. You are always sneaking into her room, going through her stuff, hiding the things you like in your room — and then denying it, haha! You want to wear her clothes and hang out with her friends and basically just be like her all-around. At least once a day someone asks me if the two of you are twins, which drives E.V. crazy. But you, little sister, love it. The two of you are exactly the same height (four feet), and you already wear a size 7/8 Medium, which is crazy. (I literally gave away your 5T clothes just before your last birthday; we completely skipped the size!) You love anything E.V. likes — horses, art, reading, adventure, LOL dolls (haha), American Girl dolls. The only thing you take pride in differing on is your diet: You are my adventurous eater with a grown-ups palette. Honestly, you love the excitement of trying anything new in life, so you view food as just another chance for adventure.
Cricket, you are SO freakin’ smart. You like to say that you have “graphic novel” memory (photographic), and at times I think you might be right. You are picking up French super fast, are a whiz at math, and are always thinking of something outside of the box. I will say, after a week of homeschool, that you are so distractible (just like Daddy, haha!), which will be a struggle we have to tackle together in life, but I don’t worry about your success in life at all because with your intelligence and determination, I know you are going to do big things in life.
To my littlest, you are confident and strong and intense, and I love you. I am so happy that you are you, and that you are unapologetic and unafraid to show your true self to others at all times. Please don’t ever change that about yourself, because your heart and your face and your mind are beautiful. And the world needs you to be exactly who God made you to be, and nothing else.
Happy sixth birthday, Crickie! I love you more than you will ever know.
Mommy (and Daddy and E.V. and Birdie)