Friday, April 4, 2014

Dear Del :: 6yrs old

Dear Del,
What a year! And at the end: you're SIX! You've learned to be a big sister to many different siblings some who are still here, some who have moved on - all with their own personalities that have effected the family dynamic - and arguably you the most. You're deeply influenced by the siblings that have been with us this year and more recently we see how deeply you're influencing your siblings. You mostly use your power for good. You smile at the baby's antics, or even the 5-year-old repeating something you've just said.

But you're not the only one who is being watched and copied. You can't wait to be a mom and you're sad your hair isn't curly (although I REALLY think it's coming - just wait for puberty). You started wearing pj tops and underwear to bed - just like Mommy. But sometimes you're freezing and we encourage you to wear pj bottoms ... you will, when I put them on too.

Back in April we had friends come over from France for a whole week. It was so much fun and you were particularly taken with the 16-year-old daughter, Hannah. You still ask regularly when we can go see them. You also started an infatuation with a nearby home dubbed: "the yellow house" by you and our then-foster daughter. You had big plans with her to move there when you were grownups - this plan involved shuffling around who drove what car and how all of your things would be moved and who would be able to visit and how The Yellow House was the perfect living option for you both because it was right next door to our house and you could move your things easily and you'd be so close to your parents.

We had camping trips galore this year. One in June, one in July, one in August ... there was one planned for September but I was all camped out. Camping is one of your very favorite things. You don't seem over excited about being outside but when you're outside, you glow. When you weren't camping over the summer, you were hunting for frogs in our pond. And before the frogs, you were stomping in mud puddles. You also love swimming lessons!

You love being homeschooled. I wasn't sure because you also loved preschool. But when we think of where you are academically with our minimal (no) effort, it seems you'd be spending a lot of time at school learning to be a student, a skill we don't value as a family as much as other skills in life. You're reading so much. It cracks us up because we're so surprised. You're reading to your younger sisters, you're reading chapter books to yourself, and you're reading facebook comments over my shoulder.

At your annual physical last fall, we were seeing a new doctor. She noticed all of your spots and asked if anyone had ever said anything about them. Well, back at a 4-month checkup our then-doctor asked if we had a family history of hearing loss or heart defects. No and no. And that was that. So this new doctor said that you have the markers for Neurofibromatosis. We panicked a little. But of course, you're still you, and this doesn't change that. We explained what this meant, as best we could. We went to a geneticist who confirmed the pediatrician's assessment and deemed blood work to confirm unnecessary at this point. We then went to a pediatric ophthalmologist (another trip an hour and a half away - but this time not covered by insurance, grr), to be sure there were no growths happening on your eyes. So far, so good. We'll go back in a year. So you've taken this all in stride. I will say: "Del has Neurofibromatosis, or is it maiosis?" and you'll say "neurofibromatosis, mom" - so you got it.

You never eat dinner - unless it's pasta or pizza or grilled cheese sandwiches. You're getting more adventurous with trying foods you don't think you'll like. You don't like most meat (and bacon only if it's "soft"), vegetables, or anything new. You do like ice cream and cake and french fries.

Ever since your very very first haircut, you've been asking to have hair like Noah's. We put you off because as much as we want to not care, we do. We don't really want you to have short hair. I know, I know, it's not fair. And there's no logical reason. So finally, finally, after 4-5years of this conversation during every haircut, now seemed like the time. You kept checking the mirror to see if it was short enough. And finally you said: "enough!" I was a little sad, but it's growing on me.

When we went to do your photoshoot, you were excited about going in the road. Our road is infrequently traveled, but we did see a car. You nervously stopped, squished right up against a snowbank, taller than you! But the road is long and straight and we had a while before the car would reach us, so we kept moving. As the car got closer we realized it was Nina. We stopped to call to her that we'd already gotten the mail and that we were doing a photoshoot (you were very excited). As she drove up the driveway and we turned away from the driveway to continue on our way you said: "Wait! We have to be careful of the car coming!" You moved close to the snowbank again, looking for the car. "It was Nina," I reminded you. "Oh yeah. HAHAHAHA! Wait! I have to go tell Nina!!" you said, radiant. That's when I knew (again) that you were all me. That extrovert is hard to manage some times!

We love you so much and love seeing you grow into your own person more and more. We can't wait to see what the next year brings!

Always loving you,

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