Dear Ellenah, on the eve of your sixth birthday,
These letters are so much more than simply saying ‘Happy Birthday’ to you. To my best girl in the whole world. This is where I get to reflect on the past year, all of the changing you have done… All of the growing. All that we have been through together. All of the wonderful ways that you have become… You… As the most beautiful, clever, funny, charismatic, almost six year old ever.
There are absolutely millions of things that I could say about you from this past year… You have surprised me endlessly and shone so brightly… As you always do.
The year that you were five started so subtly, so calmly…
I was growing your baby brother, Dexter in my tummy and I didn’t find that the easiest time. Our days were spent getting from A to B, squeezing in the fun when I could manage it. I watched you a lot in those months. I watching you ever so closely. I was looking for signs that you resented our temporary pace. Observing your happiness… ready to pounce if it ever faltered from the smiley, energetic, slightly loopy little hurricane that you usually are. I’m pleased to say that you didn’t change and looking upon you in those difficult days made me feel such hope, happiness and strength… I will always be grateful that I was blessed with a little girl who is as cool as you are. Your smile is a healer sweetheart! As if by magic, you instantly make me feel better.
I noticed a lot about you over those months. I saw your imagination flourish as you played the most beautiful games with the tiny little figures that you had collected over time. You played alone quite often, content with your own company. You easily shut out the noise and lost yourself for hours in your world of make believe.
I saw you dance, even when I could not hear any music. I watched you leap, twirl and tell a story with your moves. I watched you twist, contract and lose yourself in the steps that you improvised so naturally. I smiled as you commanded your space to ‘Be You’. I held onto my beating, emotional heart as you did this. I saw a version of myself from years and years ago, except you are more expressive, confident and brave than I was back then. Probably more so than I am, even now. And I want this for you… To be better, to shine brighter… Than I ever could.
You made up songs too. Lots of sweet melodies. And the lyrics would always reflect your feelings…or just what happened in your day. Towards the end of the year, you learned a little something’ about rhyming at school and that became a lot of fun for you. Whatever the words though, the tune would always be bright, cheery, happy… Like you. Despite the fact that your songs were long, they would always make me still. They still do.
You learned to run even faster this year. People have commented in the years before, how fast and how far your body could take you and I would always nod and say ‘Yep, she never needs to stop!’ but in the year that you were five, You got extra speedy. Like Dash from The Incredibles. And I felt like I had to be even more like Elastigirl… always needing longer, quicker, more bendy arms to keep you safe. You won the running race at sports day. You left your classmates far behind. You made it look so easy and I will always remember your face that day, looking behind you, wondering where everybody was. It was amazing. It feels amazing… to have a healthy daughter, who loves to run.
On the 4th July, you became a big sister to baby Dexter. You finally got to hold your little brother, to look at him and into the eyes of this little person who you had already loved so fiercely in the months before. You crept in to meet him on the day that he was born and emotion washed over you, so intensely. You cried with joy as you smiled at him and you have helped me to keep him happy and safe ever since. Not a day has gone by when it seemed like the ‘novelty’ has worn off. You have done everything in your heart to make him happy. You have made me so proud of you. You handed over the ‘baby of the family’ badge with such ease and are practically bursting with love from within. You are a perfect big sister and it makes me so happy to know that your brothers have you in their lives. This strong-minded, spirited girl with the sweetest soul. We are all so lucky that you are ours.
You started Year One at school in 2017. Polar Bears class… With a teacher who resembles and teaches just like Miss Honey from Matilda. A teacher who thinks that you are wonderful too. She sees how you sparkle, just like the rest of us. In September, you were a little unsure of yourself and maybe doubted yourself a little too often. It is a trait that comes with being a perfectionist, which you are. You like everything just so, aren’t great with sudden change and you prefer your work to be neat and lovely… even if it means that you don’t end up doing as much. In September, you found reading and writing such a challenge. You were scared of getting anything wrong… Because one thing that never changes about you my darling, you hate to be wrong. By the time December rolled around though, you were flying. You had picked up so much confidence and everything seemed to click in to place so beautifully. Now you are thriving and have fallen in love with reading and story-telling. A girl after my own heart.
You were given the role of the wise lady in the Christmas nativity play too and this was something that you were very proud of. It still breaks my heart to know that I wasn’t there to watch you. Next year, I will try my hardest to get tickets for more than one performance, but this year, I dreamed that I would attend with Daddy and we would watch you for the first time together. Noah was poorly though andhad been sent home from school about thirty minutes before your show was due to start. He asked me to stay with him and even though it was the right thing to do… It was hard to watch Daddy get in the car and drive to watch you on his own. I cried the whole time that he was gone and only managed to pull myself together, seconds before you walked through the door. I asked Daddy to record your parts though and I watched them with you when you got home. You were fantastic… Such a star. It suits you up on stage!
Talking of the stage. You took part in your first dance show this year. It was at the beginning of December and you performed a ballet and a tap number. For ballet you danced to Winter Wonderland and wore a beautiful white tutu with a baby blue shrug. For tap, you were dressed as a little snowman. Olaf from Frozen actually because you danced to ‘In Summer’, a song from the movie. You looked so beautiful. You danced like an angel. It really was a big deal. You were so brave for dancing in front of so many people, with lots of lights blazing on to you and all while being so little still. You loved it that I let you take in my subtle pink blusher and a nude lipstick in your dance bag. Your face was beaming when you told me that you had shared them with the other girls when you were ‘getting ready’. It threw me ahead in time to when you will get ready to ‘go out’ with your friends in quite a few years time. I can imagine you and your girlfriends taking over our bathroom, music blaring and you stealing my nice make-up, the stuff for special occasions. I’ll pretend I don’t know what you are doing and giggle to myself as you walk out of the door, to have fun and to live your best life with abandon.
You achieved so much in the year that you were five baby girl and you should be so proud of yourself. I am… So proud of you. I could almost pop some days, when you are doing these amazing, incredible things for someone so tiny. I feel like that in our every day’s too Ellenah. When I see how kind, determined, courageous and lovely you are. When I see you smile sweetly with a glint of fire in your eyes. You are bold and you care… about people, the world, life.
You inspire me. All of the time. When I need to find courage and strength, I think of you, who you are… what you would do. And it’s almost as if I can feel the fire from your eyes, ignite a flame in my gut.
So you deserve this birthday, to be wonderful and everything that you could ever dream of. You deserve for everyone who loves you, to gather around you and celebrate the beautiful human that you are.
Happy Sixth Birthday My Little Bella-Rina,
I love you more than words could ever do justice!
From, Mama x