Welcome to your seventh year of life! You have six magical ones tucked under your belt, and you are just getting started on a brand new journey. What do you think this one will bring you? Here's what I have in mind:
You're starting first grade in a few weeks. I predict it will bring more structure to your life, along with homework and deeper learning. I'm hoping you'll get to start some classes like gymnastics or martial arts. Wouldn't that be fun? Summer is getting into full swing, and your gills are growing back from all the swimming at the pool. By Labor Day weekend, I predict you'll be tan and muscular after about a billion dives in the deep end.
Fall will come, and you'll probably beg to be a princess of some sort for Halloween. Maybe you will, or maybe I'll try to steer you to some other goofy costume. Or maybe Daddy will beg you to be a Mizzou Tiger... or at least a Mizzou cheerleader. Thanksgiving and Christmas will follow quickly, and your eyes will light up with the magical power that a bunch of presents under the tree will hold over you. I can't wait to see what you ask Santa to bring you, and I can't wait to get even deeper into the story of Christmas and the gift of Jesus in our lives.
The new year will roll in and hopefully you will have lost your first tooth by then. I know it's a dream you have right now. You can't wait to be like the other big kids you know, and I can't wait to see your toothless grin. Promise me you'll share lots of snaggle-tooth smiles with me, okay? Valentine's Day will come and I'm sure you'll talk more than you already do now about boys and marriage. You'll still beg me and Daddy to kiss, just like you already do on a daily basis. Your fascination with love and relationships surprises me and makes me realize how deeply God wired you for love. Winter will deepen and you'll build snowmen with Daddy and Jackson and go sledding.
Spring will finally return, and we'll look for butterflies and rabbits in our back yard. You'll help Daddy plant another garden, and pick yet another mystery plant to put in the ground so you can surprise me when it bears fruit. And before we know it, you'll be finishing first grade and getting ready to turn seven. All in the blink of an eye.
I'm sure the coming year will present its own problems too, not just milestones and celebrations. You'll learn more about the complicated world and the harsh ways people can treat each other. Unfortunately, you'll probably have your heart broken by someone in some small way (which will feel pretty large to you), and you'll get in trouble a few times as you test the boundaries that are becoming a little gray in some areas. You'll have some endings that we can't foresee, but the good news is there will be some beginnings too. You'll go deeper into this "in-between" world you inhabit: life between being a baby/toddler/girl and the girl/kid/woman you'll become. Six is just close enough to the early years but thankfully far away from the coming emotional years. You're getting the slightest taste of what's to come; a terrifying thought for me and Daddy.
Oh, Katie. With every year that passes, I become more and more fascinated by you. Your heart deepens in ways I can't fathom, and your memory is getting stronger as you store away all the new experiences you're having. My pride in you is matched only by my love for you. Sometimes you are amazing and frustrating in the same moment, an enigma and a mystery. You are beautiful from the outside and also on the inside. You make Daddy, Jackson and me laugh with your silliness. You make me wonder and you make me think. Sometimes I hardly know what to do with you and the person you're becoming, and the person you're helping me to become too.
Thank you for six glorious years. For all the smiles and joy you've given me this past year, and for all the growth and changes you've brought into our lives. Daddy and I love you deeply, and are so lucky to be your parents.
Happy birthday, Peepers!