Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Letter to (Six Year Old) Ann Peyton: A Year of Learning, Loving, and Carefree Laughs

Ann Peyton,

     Your birthday was 2 months ago and it's still hard to grasp how much you changed over the past year. We returned from Brooklyn a month after you turned six and what a difference there seems to be between your fifth and sixth years of life. You've grown much over the course of the past year and it's for this joyous occasion that we celebrate your previous year of life and look forward to the next. You've become increasingly independent, something that you tend towards in many ways.
      Our time in Brooklyn fostered a spirit of independence and confidence that thrills me to see in you. Much of this comes from the long walks on sidewalks, subway platforms, and on and off of buses. You learned that we'd need to depend on you being more self-sufficient to make things work better in the city, and you took on the responsibility beautifully. There was a bumpy start, where a car nearly turned into you. I tried to call out to you to STOP, but you didn't quite hear me until the car nearly hit you (turning into a parking garage). This brought on episodes of guilt where you only wanted us to call you "Ann" (I think) because you didn't want us to remember the "bad thing" that you did. It was a growing experience emotionally for you, but you overcame your fears, worries, and lack of confidence to once again skip ahead of us on the sidewalks or to weave in and out of the subway station support beams. This transformation was one that made me proud. It was tough for you, but you came through the challenge of worries beautifully.
     Speaking of worry, you've become a bit more carefree as of late. You LOVE to dance, but you typically wait for me to begin and then you'll follow. SOMETIMES, however, you get a bit lost in the music or joy of the moment and let yourself float and dance in a carefree manner that simply uplifts my heart. The pure joy of movement is so very special to me.
        This time in your life is also quite special to me. You constantly BEG me to "come play with us!". It's sweet, but at it's root is a serious call for me to enjoy this time with you. You're old enough that you notice when I'm not around and mindfully miss my presence....but you're not so old that you don't want to bother with spending time with me yet. I've begun to step back from responsibilities at work a bit to enjoy more time with you and Graves. We've tackled many adventures over the past year and have more to look forward to. This summer we'll go camping and backpacking for the first time. You'll (hopefully) learn to swim, though you're currently terrified of the water. You'll maybe even learn to ride your bike. These are baby steps to a growing spirit of independence and confidence that we'd like to foster within you. The world is yours to enjoy but you must venture into it before you can enjoy it. We love being here to watch you grow into yourself in this great big place we inhabit.

Papa. (and Momma)

P.S. You  little dress was a 4T (I think- it's in the attic) but it matched your leggings perfectly so you wore it as a tunic a lot those last few months in Brooklyn!