This morning I crawled into your bed and you asked me if it was after 6 am so you could finally be six years old. It was, so you sprang out of bed and ran to dad so you could tell him it was time for birthday pancakes.
Chocolate chip pancakes, chocolate milk, a fancy dress with dogs and hearts on it, a hair tie with a smiling cupcake on it, and you were ready for school. You were so excited to share your day with your classmates, and be a kindergarten VIP, as they put it. Before you left, you opened your gift from us, a tote bag that says Girl Power, and in it was new ice cream sundae bed sheets and a new kitty ear head band. You insisted on bringing your gift to school, but I did put the kibosh on bringing your bedsheets.
Last week you were such a bear. Hot and cold one second to the next. When we got to the gym, after four days of your constantly changing attitude, I looked at Miss Nikki and asked if she could fix your issue. You love Miss Nikki, and she loves you back, so after you gave her the biggest grump face in all the land, she said, “Mission accepted,” and when I came to get you after teaching, you were all giggles.
We really need to bring her home with us.
Some of the things that drive me insane is the way you take forever to get ready in the morning. Now, you’re not as bad as Luca when he decides to be stubborn, and I have to physically drag him out of bed. But you do it in a way that’s so hard to stay mad at. You’ll be singing a song that gets you distracted, or are reading a magazine and you want to finish that page…or you are running around half naked shouting, “I’m streaking through the quad!”
I should have known this was how you were going to be. After all, when you were around 9 months, we coined the term, “Mae Rage” because oh. my. goodness. were you a bear of a kid. You went form being a happy, drooly baby, to a hot, hot, rage filled mess. You’d finish your yogurt and cry that it was gone. A song you like ended, you’d get so mad your fists would shake.
But then you grew up and mostly grew out of it. You and Luca would play together all day and watch Audrey toddle around. Of course, you and Luca would also argue over who would help Audrey walk around or hold her hand, but I guess if you’re going to argue, at least it’s a cute argument.
And then Luca went off to kindergarten and you were the big kid in charge. You begged to go to preschool, so I enrolled you into a Montessori school, and you thrived. Miss Kathleen, to this day, still says you’re one of her favorites in over 20 years of teaching. I actually believe it. You are helpful, kind, sweet, and patient. You listen and follow directions, and you never miss an opportunity to show off your adult-like skills to little kids.
I don’t really know what it is about you that people love. I know I’m not supposed to tell you this, but most days it seems you’re everyone’s favorite. Maybe it’s the big eyes, and the sweet voice, or the way you dance around, but you’ve captured so many hearts in your short six years. You’re not afraid to tell it like it is, but you’re not cruel about it. You feel so deeply for others and I truly believe that when someone is sad, you’re also sad. You’re always making cards for your friends to cheer them up, and the house is covered in little notes from you saying how much you love dad and me.
I have four very good kids that make me so happy (and frustrated, but that’s okay) every day. And you, dear Mae, are my shining star. You always can make someone smile when they’re feeling down. You always know just what to say.
I can’t believe you’re six today. I really can’t.
So here’s my annual advice for you.
Keep being who you are. Your smile lights up a room and brings so much joy to those around you. Continue your friendships at school, especially with that one kid who is a little rough around the edges. While you are teaching him kindness through actions, he’s also making you very happy, too, even if it makes me crazy the things he teaches you. It’s life, and I’d much appreciate you learning what’s right and wrong at a young age, when you still tell me everything. Remember that you can always tell dad and me anything, and if you don’t want to tell us, tell someone. Don’t keep things in. You have tons of people that would love to hear what you have to say.
Don’t let Luca get you down. Some days you two are the best of friends and other days he doesn’t really want to be anywhere near you. That’s just him, not you. Well, maybe it is you a little, but be patient. He does like you a lot. Especially when it’s your birthday so he gets chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. He has always looked up to Claire, and you look up to both of them, so don’t feel sad that he doesn’t worship you like he does your big sister. It’s just not how it works, I guess. But Audrey watches everything you do, so keep teaching her the good things.
Always find the time to dance. You always look happiest when you’re dancing around the house. Keep working hard at taekwondo. You are small and fierce and you have such potential to be amazing. You’re giving Claire and Luca a run for their money. Keep them on their toes, always. Push others to be better by example.
You are so smart, Maelie. You just get it. You don’t let your frustrations get you down for too long. You’re far too stubborn for that.
Don’t ever let someone tell you that you’re not good enough, and don’t sell yourself short. Remember your worth, and it’s a lot. Don’t ever let someone shame you. You are beautiful inside and out, and if someone tries to tell you otherwise, that’s their own insecurities showing. It’s not your job to fix stupid, so don’t sink to their level. As our former first lady once said, “When they go low, we go high.” So even when it’s hard, and you really want to speak your mind, rise above. And if you do decide to speak your mind, have the facts to back it up.
What you say and what you do should always be on the same page. You can talk about change and action, but you be the change and do the action.
Finally, if you see something, say something. Dad and I are giving you skills to be a good, strong, independent girl, so if you witness bullying, you stop it, and you speak up. Be the person we’re raising you to be.
We’re raising you to be great.