She’s leaned out, you know. My Saoirse–she got out of bed one morning and she was a rail. Just, a rail–tall and thin and lanky, all lines, no swells–all of a sudden a kid, a big kid, I mean, like the ones I see in the parks and at the mall and going into school. She’s one of them now. My Saoirse Kate. And I’m so excited for her.
She bears the weight of the firstborn personality, my Saoirse. She’s sensitive, so sensitive, quick to cry, first to identify something as unfair. But she’s also the child who so very much wanted a guitar for Christmas, and when she noticed none under the tree that morning (her godmother was bringing one later), turned to me and quietly said, “I guess Santa didn’t think I needed a guitar,” and went back to the gifts in front of her.
I hope this helps her become an empathetic adult.
She has a sense of self that is strong. She knows what she likes, and she likes: pink, yellow and black. Airplanes, cars, and blocks. Playing pretend with her sister. Barbecue sandwiches and salmon sashimi. Skirts with sneakers, shorts and no socks, headbands and necklaces. Chocolate milk and chocolate ice cream. Having one good friend over ten playmates. Dolphins, and summertime.
I hope she grows into a self-assured adult.
She has an imagination that creates worlds that are fun and exciting, more expansive than what we see in front of our eyes.
I hope she travels, and stays aware that there is a bigger world than the one in her zip code.
She misses nothing. She hears conversations that are supposed to be between the grown-ups, she watches facial expressions, she surveys body language. When she doesn’t understand, she asks questions.
I hope she keeps asking the questions, always.
She is becoming a quiet leader. She makes her brother laugh, immerses herself into play with her sister, is first to wave at a friend in the parking lot.
I hope she’s grows into an adult who makes other people feel valued.
She skips into school each day, too excited to walk, but knowing she’s not supposed to run. She skips toward her teachers, toward her classmates, toward learning.
I hope she’s the college freshman that one day charges into class, laptop and coffee in hand, ready to take on the world.
She’d like a chocolate cake shaped like a dolphin for her birthday, and took a stuffed animal with her to school, and asks to watch PBS Kids on the iPad after lunch. She is the latest sleeper of anyone in the house, and wants cereal or French toast for breakfast. She wants to be president of the United States when she grows up, but maybe not have kids (she initially wanted five, all named “Tree”), because doing both jobs would be too hard.
She is quick to laugh. She walks into a room and plants a kiss on a shoulder on her way out. She thanks her mom for making baked fish, especially if it’s spicy. She is a child who is so keenly aware of the interactions taking place between the people around her, taking in what she sees, filing it away and cataloguing it for future use, and yet she is able to disappear completely into an imagination that is all child, all her own, and all-encompassing. She has a memory to rival any Jeopardy champ. She is so self-possessed, so mature, that sometimes too much is expected of her, sometimes it’s assumed she should be anything but a child, sometimes we forget that she is, yes, a big kid, but that she is still a kid.
Saoirse Kate is six.
And man, what a kid she is.
The kids have told me that my half-jokey-but-really-I-was-seriousness declaration…
Quinlan walked into my office the day after Easter, pursing her lips like she does…