Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Letter to (Six Year and Three Month Old) Ann Peyton

Dear Ann Peyton,

You've been having a wonderful Summer back in Mississippi. It's been pretty low key but I think that's suited you. You wake up a lot of mornings and sit and read. Papa plays classical music for you when he's home. The littlest things seem to make you content, joyful even, and you tell us when you've had an especially good day. 

Six is interesting because you're starting to really form your own routines and rhythms, like getting up early in the mornings to watch birds and read. You like a day best when it's a planned well and you couldn't be more like me in that respect. 

We are learning a lot together, you and I, it seems. I have something I call "Adventures in Flexibility" that I do with you and Graves but I developed it largely for you. And largely so you won't become me. Or the person I'm trying to grow away from. It's just little things- like being content to sit in either carseat since you and Graves now have your straps set at the same place. I want so badly for you to be flexible and for you to be able to "go with the flow". This isn't something that comes naturally for me or you, but as I said, we're both learning and growing. I have a feeling it's one of those things- like learning a new language or really any new skill- that is easier learned at six than at thirty. 

One big adventure in flexibility was our recent trip to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. You took a beautiful picture of the Gulf one afternoon as another storm was about to blow in. You told us that "playing in the sea was really what was important to me about the beach" and later you told some friends that you and Graves didn't get to get in the water much because "momma was worried we might have an open wound" (there was flesh eating bacteria in the water, so yeah). But when we asked you guys about it, you and Graves both said y'all had a great time (watching cable and eating snacks for meals, I guess) and were glad we went. There are things I'll do differently next time but I'm glad we went too and I'm so thankful for my sweet little family.

You are such an intense little person. So many things have changed over the past six years, but there are two things I've been thinking about recently have stayed the same- your intensity and your independence. 

I've already talked about about how independent you are. Graves wakes up and immediately finds you, me, or Papa. You, on the other hand, enjoy your morning alone for quite some time. You also stay up late into the evening reading. You're happy to do your own thing a lot of the time. You're also pretty self-assured for the most part (despite a pretty strong fear of/disdain for being wrong) and you're good at knowing what you want. 

As an example of your intensity, Mickey made you and Graves some fishing rods and you fish with the seriousness of a cabinet meeting the night before a war declaration. It's hysterical but sometimes it's hard to watch someone be so intense when she's still so little. I'm glad you are figuring out what brings you contentment and joy, even in your serious state. 

True story: I was trying to do this silly interview thing with you and you completely shut down and wouldn't answer half the questions because you still have a fear of being wrong even with tiny, silly things (like you know I am thirty but you wouldn't say what you thought my favorite food was because you "weren't sure"). 

As serious as you are, you mostly have a lot of patience for you exactly the opposite brother. The other day, tired of being sprayed by the garden hose you told me "I figured something out to distract him. I just give him something to clean". [And then you'd throw a plastic shovel across the yard like you were tossing a ball for a dog to fetch. And he'd run over and spray it with the hose for two or three minutes.]

Sometimes I catch you being silly and goofy. Awhile back y'all got TONS of stuff and literally filled up your closet to get ready for an imaginary tornado. You said "full closet, empty beds".

You do help me keep things in perspective, even as serious as you are. One day I was pretty frustrated and you "Momma, why would you call this a disaster? A disaster is when something horrible happens. This room is just a mess. It's really not a big deal."

You eat almost anything, or at least will try anything. You LOVE vegetables. One evening we had eaten a lot of snacks at the pool, so for dinner Papa just handed y'all these huge broccoli "trees". AP and Diply (the Diplodocus) y'alls off, leaving nothing but the trunk.

One of the things you love most in life is creation. One afternoon awhile back you came up to me and whispered, your eyes so very wide, "Momma. Nature is cool." (You had just seen tadpoles with arms in the creek bed at the park.)

Annie, we love you so much. We adore your quirks and all the little things that make you our Annie. The Lord made you so special! 

Momma (and Papa)

P.S. Your pjs are 5T. You needed new ones and you're clearly super into dinosaurs so we just bought boy ones. You ADORE them. 

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