February 27, 2024

A Letter to My Baby on Her Sixth Birthday


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Dear Allie,

Everyone who knew me as a child says you’re just like I was – obstinate as the day is long, precocious, funny, kind, and always knowing exactly what you want. This last trait gets you in trouble a lot because what you want isn’t always in line with what Mom or Dad or the nanny wants. When you don’t get what you want, you throw epic fits – lots of tears and whining that lasts for hours. You are nothing if not tenacious – and you are that way in every single thing. 

You have a long attention span, especially for Snapchat and the microscope and science activities. You could sit forever and play with dry ice or look at wasp larvae under the microscope. I’m in awe.

You have gorgeous blue eyes like my grandpa’s, which is odd because he wasn’t my blood relative. Your daddy has blue eyes, too, but they’re not the same stunning shade as yours. Everyone says that you look like him which is strange to me because I think you look like you.

You have a funny posed smile these days, something like a sneer where your teeth are showing but your face is not really smiling at all. You flash this painful grimace anytime someone asks you to smile for a camera. Instead, I try to make you laugh which brings out your one deep dimple and lights up your whole round face.

You are fancy and girly, preferring frilly skirts and sequined dresses to anything else, but you like your hair to be super short and ask to have it cut as soon as it looks a little shaggy. You know that people think you are a boy, so you usually wear bows and piggy tails in it.

You are going to be an amazing mommy some day, as long as we overlook the fact that you always dress your boy dolls in girl doll clothes. You love babies and love to play with your dolls. You begged for an American Girl Bitty Baby for Christmas this year to give Molly and Marco a little sister, and you are constantly feeding, dressing, and cooing over all your babies.

I sometimes wonder what you’ll be when you grow up. I want you to know that you can be whatever you want – whether it’s an astronaut, a teacher, or a stay-at-home mom. It wasn’t that long ago that you wanted to grow up to be a worm. I’m not sure if that will work out for you, but otherwise, your options are pretty limitless.

You’ve never had a real birthday party, whereas Grace has had one every year of her life. I feel badly about this and make up for it by planning over-the-top birthday experiences for you. One year, we went to the Great Wolf Lodge where you got free ice cream every time you went into the store and, this year, we’re going to the Hershey Lodge where there is a similar (but smaller and much cheaper) indoor water park. I don’t think you’re missing out, but mommas always worry.

You don’t have many real friends (mostly just Tynley) but you are very friendly with everyone and end up holding hands with another little girl every time we’re in a crowd. I feel like it’s my fault you don’t have more friends – I haven’t cultivated those relationships. 

You love Build-A-Bear Workshop. Almost every day, you ask, “Can we go to Build-A-Bear Workshop today?” I felt badly for always saying no until I took you to Build-A-Bear one day this fall. It was right before I’d have to work at the office every day, and I was feeling very sad and lots of mommy guilt. So I took you. You had a wonderful time, making a Cheetah Girl which is really a big orangey pink cat with a rock star outfit. It was fine. And then, the very next day, you asked, “Can we go to Build-A-Bear Workshop?” I wanted to blow my stack. I had just taken you the day before. So I realized then that your need to go to Build-A-Bear will never be satisfied, and I’m going to have to say no to B-A-B every day for the rest of my life.

You are in a very casual version of kindergarten this year. You’re learning to read and write and do math. Reading is a challenge for you (you just aren’t getting it, but that could be lack of consistent practice), but you are great at math. You are always asking “what’s 8 plus 8?” and “what’s 7 plus 7?” or some such, and you remember the answers without many reminders. 

You went through a phase where you wanted to go to school earlier this year. I never thought you really wanted to go or I might have consented to send you. What I thought was really going on was that you weren’t crazy about the nanny’s 3-year-old and that did turn out to be the case. 

You really want me to be home with you – and I really want to be home with you – but the right work from home job hasn’t come along yet. I’ve been going to the office five days a week since October 3, and these days have been especially hard on you. I understand; I haven’t worked away full-time since before you were born. I try not to dwell on it, but I hope you know that I hate it as much as you do. I believe that God will rescue us from this separation soon. We just have to trust Him and have faith, tough things for a 6-year-old (and tough for me, too).

At the end of the day, you are my little love bug, all cuddly and warm like a tiny puppy. You like to hold my hand as you fall asleep, and you almost always sleep naked. I think that’s so funny and cute, and it’s only a matter of time until you become modest and shy about your body. But in the meantime, I’ll scratch your back just the way you like and cover you with your favorite blanket, the knitted afghan that Grandma-in-heaven’s friend made for you when you were just a little baby.

I still take you to bed every night, and I love the cuddly time with both you and Gracie. I love to read you a story and hold your hand and watch you sleep. You almost always go to bed in the bottom bunk of the bed you share with your sister, but sometimes you come over and climb in with me during the night. Daddy has told me that you often cry out for me in the dark, and I call you to come in with me. I love waking up next to you in the morning because you are warm and remind me so much of your tiny baby self.

When Grandma was sick and dying, my biggest hurt was that you would not remember her, and that has come to pass. You only know her now through pictures and stories, and not as the hand-holding, slow-walking companion she was to you. She loved you very much and looked forward to seeing you always, and I don’t want you to ever forget that.

You just got a new bike, an Elsa bike with a place for Molly or Marco to ride along. You rode it fearlessly through Walmart but fell in the driveway at home and haven’t gotten back on it since. I know that you will eventually. The bike illustrates how you are with everything – fearless at first until the situation or your sister convinced you to be afraid.

You are most often audacious and bold – swimming in the ocean with jellyfish and a four-foot hammerhead shark nearby. You wanted to swim, and no little bag of teeth was going to keep you from it. 

I hope you stay that way forever. I hope you always have the courage to do exactly what you want to do, and I hope you refuse to let anyone keep you from it. I hope you have some babies some day because in them, I think you will shine brightly. But for now, I hope you smile more and whine less and obey more and remember your mother loves you more than anything.



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