She's Six

Dear Lucy,

In doing some research on your name, the etymology – Lucille is a diminutive of the Latin, Lucia. Keep digging and Lucia is the feminine of Lucius, which is derived from Latin Lucianus, an offshoot of the Roman Lucius — also known as "light."

From the beginning, I’ve known this: you are light.

What a perfect reflection of the six year-old you have become. Radiance that turns into prisms, the soft Autumnal shine that filters through trees bleeding their colors into winter – the kind of light that flickers and shimmers, light so bright it stings the eyes. Lucy, you are all of this and more.

This past year has been a series of remarkable events and moments, many that that have shaken our understanding of the footing we held. We were so cavalier. Kindergarten, bowled you over, and took me down too. And we are not out of the woods yet. This new place that holds so much promise has intimidated and frightened. It is not the familiar space where you reigned so comfortably for the past five years – where everyone literally knows your name, and you know every smile that has cared for you. Kindergarten is too big right now, and we are slowly chipping away at the scary. Sometimes this looks like happiness stepping off the school bus, and sometimes it's nights in tears begging me not to leave your side because you, “will miss [me] so much tomorrow at school.” So we’ve taken a step back, and I lay next to you, my hand on your back, whispering encouragements, and sometimes nothing at all – just being present with you, and existing in the fear,  in tandem. By your side I remain, as much as I can be, until the sun orchestrates a new day, and you are left to square up, once again.

The weight of this new challenge comes on the heels of an incredible summer. Dare I say a storybook couple of months. You’ve nearly nailed down the skills to swim, moving longer and longer stretches across the skin of the pool and beneath. You love the water, Lucy. We went more times to the pool this year than in any summers past. We traveled, hiked, climbing mountains in Colorado, touched waterfalls. You became my assistant on photography shoots, for which you charge $5. And to be quite honest, you’re immensely helpful, holding the reflector when need be, and getting the attention of easily distracted little ones. There are moments when you even pipe up and suggest a shot! It’s fabulous to see you thinking in terms of light and composing a frame. And the camera – it loves you. You remain my favorite muse.

Gymnastics has fallen by the wayside, and currently you’re not involved in anything. I panicked for half a second, worried the absence of organized sports or activities would lead to your eventual downfall, but then quickly righted my thinking: You. Are. A. Child. You need not do anything but explore, and play, and exist. I suspect you’ll eventually find something, but for now, we’re all okay just living the day to day.

Current favorites include The Amazing World of Gumball, Nailed It, Sugar Rush, and Portlandia. Yes, Portlandia. Taylor Swift is often requested, purple and turquoise are colors of choice, you’re all about expression through makeup and hair (dyed pink just before school started), and you chose to have your ears pierced. Crafting and drawing drive your creativity, and there’s not an empty paper towel cardboard roll that stands a chance against your scissors. Empty toilet paper rolls become bejeweled bracelets worn as high fashion. You love spending time with Daddy outside tossing the ball, and you’ve become friends with neighbors Nick and Charlotte, both three years your senior. Occasionally you lament being younger, only because you wish you were in their same grade at school, otherwise the age difference is irrelevant. Your reading skills continue to progress and you can now sound out short simple words, on your own.

The thing about light is, it will always find the seam through which to shine. In your ability to make it through this phase, I have no doubt. These tough moments are what build backbone, and while painful to experience (and to watch as your Mama), are necessary. Today you are six and tangled among all the changes that have recently occurred. You are slowly navigating your way through, and I watch, as always, in awe at your resilience and simultaneous fragility. My little Libra, searching so hard for balance, wanting to do what’s right, and yet taking risks. Clouded under confusion, with moments of brilliant clarity.

Nothing good is built with hollow stones. Each milestone is a brick placed on the foundation to which you’re constructing – the eventual woman you will become. No matter the burdens you’re tasked to shoulder, remember always, in me, Lucy, you’ll forever have a space in which to rest and renew your spirit. 

You are light.
And because of this, I know you will be okay.

I know you wish / You had a brother who had blue eyes just like you / I know you wish
You had a sister you could tell your secrets to / Maybe we'll miss
Having four sets of china on the table / But I guarantee you this
You mean more to me than branches to a maple

Pink painted walls / Your face in my locket / Your daddy and me
Your tiny back pocket / Mama's first love / Last of my kind
You'll always be my only child

Happy Birthday, my sweet Lucille.


Unknown said...

Brought to tears with emotion. This child is so blessed to have you as her mama. You are a gifted writer - your heart shines through with every passage.

ilene. said...

Thank you so much