I cannot even believe you are six years old today. 6!!! I know I say it every year but six just seems extra big. It’s so bitter-sweet, every single year watching you grow. Sometimes I just want to scoop you up and say let’s just go to Neverland so we don’t have to grow up. But then I know we would miss out on all the new things that come in each season of growth, and that’s something I’d never want to take away. You grow every year, not just physically but emotionally and spiritually. I can tell you as an adult that your thirst to always be learning is going to take you so far in life, I hope it never fades. I want to celebrate your growth this year, because you just completed a year that is so huge developmentally and I think it’s important to document. So, here’s six ways you grew this year.
- You fell in love with reading aloud. Oh be still mine and your daddy’s hearts! This past year we have read aloud all seven of the Chronicles of Narnia books, three out of the four Mary Poppins books, five of the Harry Potter books. Kai, do you realize in total you have soaked in 4,165 pages?!? And we’re not done yet! For a six year old that is insane! Your mind has traveled to so many new worlds and places, fallen in love with so many different characters and creatures, and gained more cultural understanding than you even realize. We didn’t plan the fact that all these stories originate from London, so it’s been hilarious to hear you pick up words like “Brilliant!” and “Blimey!” Your insight into some of these stories, some of the similarities and differences you pick up or find comfort in just say so much about your intuitiveness about people. These read aloud times have become some of my favorite moments.
- You started learning to read. Speaking of reading aloud, you also started to learn to read yourself, and bonus, you told me when you were ready! When I asked you at the beginning of the year what some of your goals were, you told me you wanted to learn to read. We started over the summer and we’re over halfway through our curriculum. Once you got the rhythm after the first couple of weeks, you’ve just soared. I look ahead so I know what is coming and can be prepared to teach you, and I can’t tell you how many times I would think ok great, we don’t get to that for a couple of weeks, and you would tackle something on your own before we ever got there. I would try to slow you down and tell you to wait, and you imploringly said, “No Mom! Let me do it, I’ve got this!” And you’d be right. Watching your growth and how you process and work things out has been so cool to see. You’ll reach this goal before the end of the year, no doubt.
- You experienced new adventures. You swam in the ocean and played in the sand for the first time in your life, and you could not have loved it more. You traveled to a new city, embraced exploring, saw sea lions in their natural habitat, rode a train, had the best day at the most epic zoo, experienced Disneyland instead of Disney World. You went on some big rides, like Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout, enduring the huge up and down drops while we kept your little body in its seat. You are the bravest little boy I know, but you’re also the epitome of the phrase “do it scared.” Sometimes you may be hesitant simply because you don’t know what to expect, and the sensations you feel in your body effect you more than others, but you don’t ever let it stop you. That’s the mark of true courage.
- You became more observant. It wasn’t until recently that I really understood that I had mistaken your observance, for hesitance. More than once this year when we went to a new place or even a friend’s birthday party, you were quiet. You didn’t go full force and jump in immediately like you’ve always done in the past. You stuck close to us, and when I would push you to go or think something was wrong, you would just tell me you needed a minute. Sure enough, I finally realized you were just taking it all in, observing your new surroundings. Did you know your mama is the same way? For a long time people mistook that as me being shy, but really I just needed a minute digest the newness. That’s a mark of your maturity, and even more so there were times you used your words and told us it was too much, and there were times you took off at regular Kai Kai speed. You catch more details, you’re learning to be present in the moment, to listen to your body and mind, and that is a beautiful thing.
- You schooled us in strategy. Seriously how in the world you win at trouble every time, I’ve watched you and tried to figure out your strategy. Just the other day I played you in checkers, and you’ve gone from just jumping the pieces to see how many you can get, to really thinking through your moves, looking ahead at all the things that could happen, and you beat me fair and square. When we play one of your favorite board games, instead of just going to the spot that has your character’s super power, you actually think ahead and tell us what we should do, and your plan is usually on point! You have always had a knack for problem solving, for thinking creatively and outside the box, but this year we really saw you grow not in just figuring out another way, but thinking ahead and looking at potential problems and how to avoid or solve them. Along with reading aloud, family game times also became some of our favorite moments.
- You’re growing in faith. It is our utmost priority as your mom and dad that we constantly and continually point you to the Truth. Watching you persevere through prayer this year was a gift. It is hard, we know from continued experience, to trust that He will provide, even when it seems like things aren’t moving. It’s hard to trust when you are told over and over again that something will happen (like getting your Pup Pup back), but not have an answer as to when. It is hard to believe that God is working when you can’t see it or don’t have tangible evidence in front of you. As we continued to point you to the truth in those moments of uncertainty, anchoring ourselves in the process, you continued to pray alongside us. And wasn’t it sweet to see when the Lord did answer those prayers? It’s our continued hope and prayer that the Spirit waters the seeds, that those seeds fall on good soil and grow into what we believe will be something far greater than what we could expect. These seeds of perseverance being sown so young we pray yield to a solidifying relationship with Jesus.
It’s been a year full of so much growth my boy, and I wouldn’t trade my front row seat. Though it pains me so much every time I pick you up that it’s getting physically harder to do so, that you’re starting to care more when I want to hold your hand or give you a kiss before you go into gym, though some of those toddler interests are officially gone or changed in a different way, I cannot wait to see what lies ahead for you this year. You’ve already started so many new things-you’re going to be competing in gymnastics soon, you’ve started Classical Conversations as part of our homeschool this year, you’re forming new friendships. I’ll continue to protect your heart and innocence as long as I can, even when it makes you “uncool” to your peers. But I’m growing in our relationship too as it continues to evolve. One thing will never change though: I’ll always be your mama, and I’ll always love you no matter what, to Neverland and back.
Happy 6th Birthday Kai Kai!