Category: The Squishy Files

A letter to my daughter on her fifth birthday

A letter to my daughter on her fifth birthday

My dearest Elizabeth,

As I sit here today, I don’t know where to start. So much has happened this past week, at one point I wasn’t even sure we’ll be able to celebrate your birthday…

Today you turned five. A week ago, South Africa burned. A bunch of bad people with their own selfish agendas manipulated many more sad, angry, frustrated and hopeless people, in an attempt to take our country for themselves. All I could think of as society appeared to crumble around us was keeping you safe, and keeping you from knowing what was really going on, lest the innocence of childhood gets snatched away from you prematurely. Many will surely judge me for staying with you and Mom instead of going out into the streets to protect our community, but all I cared about was protecting you.

Through the grace of God we made it through the unrest, and today we could celebrate another rotation you’ve completed around the sun. Once again I stand amazed at how much you’ve grown.

You still believe being brave means not being afraid, but you’re one of the bravest people I know. Bravery takes many forms. Accepting the disappointment of once again not being able to have a party and see your friends on your birthday, by smiling and making the most of what you can do, is brave. Yes, you were sad, as you had every right to be, but you did not let that stand in the way of having an incredible day. Many grown-ups can’t manage that.

I wonder at how easily you make friends, and how freely you share what you have with them. That also is brave.

I love how you’re exploring and pushing your boundaries. Whether it’s trying a new move on the trampoline, going that little bit faster on your bike or higher on your swing, or venturing out on your own where we can’t see you. That’s brave too.

Your hunger for learning is refreshing. You can’t get enough of this world, and you keep trying new things. You fail and you get angry and frustrated; sometimes there’s even tears. But you keep coming back and trying again. That is one of the greatest acts of bravery of all – getting up and trying again after you’ve failed the last time.

With the bravery, curiosity and compassion I see in you every day, you can do anything. There is no challenge too big for you to meet. You won’t always succeed. But if you hold onto these qualities, you will always learn, always grow even when you fail. I want you to remember this.

Thanks for filling our lives with another year of smiles, hugs, made-up songs, giggles, wicked dance moves, random little presents, the coolest Duplo giraffes ever, magic potions, fairy adventures, and pretty pebbles and shiny shells collected on the beach. You are brave, you are beautiful, you are kind and you are smart. I love you, and I’m proud of you.

Happy birthday!

Dad

Sing-a-long

Now play this on a loop for the rest of the day, and make sure you sing the “all the king’s horses” line EVERY. SINGLE. TIME!

It’s really cute, though, isn’t it? I’ve been changing it up, translating the line to Afrikaans (took the minion a couple seconds to process that, after which she just continued), or transcribing it to “all the king’s soldiers and all the king’s steeds” (that one threw her completely, but mostly just due to quickly-diminishing limitations in her English vocabulary…)

Zoom

The minion is having a make-believe Zoom call. No screen, just an old, broken keyboard I’ve given her to play with.

The wife and I both had to come say hi to her “work people” – she always pops in during my bi-weekly video call with the rest of my team to say hello 😀

Uncooperative insects

The minion just had a meltdown because a cockroach wouldn’t stay put so she can look at it.

In other news, we’ve gone two nights in a row with no diaper and no accidents. Yay!

Also, I can give her a series of instructions to complete a task, and not only does she complete the task successfully, she actually comes back and ask questions if she’s not sure what to do. She’s already more advanced than most highschoolers I’d ever taught, and a disturbing number of adults I know…