Open Letter to My Sugarbean on Her 7th Birthday

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Dear Mari,

Seven! Seven years ago, you came into this world ready. Ready for what? I’m not certain, but ready for almost anything you have been. As the oldest, the bar has been set pretty high for you. We have been firm in your discipline and have been firm in setting expectations. But not matter how firm we have been, you’ve met us, headstrong, filled with your tenacious will to do things your way. At times when you are reluctant to approach something new for fear of failure, you surprise me with how easily you can change your perspective and work through a problem, even more so when I give you the room to figure it out.

This year, you have surpassed me with your speed. In a 50 yard dash, you will win, but I still need to teach you about endurance. During the Santa Run this year, you confided in me that the sun gives you energy and water also gives you lots of energy. At the halfway point, you took a couple of cups of water and finished remarkably faster than I expected. There were tears during the race, where you had doubts you could finish. That was the first time that I tried to explain to you the metaphor of running and life. You don’t give up and quit. It may get difficult. You will want to quit, but you just have to have a moment to regroup. Slow down, get some perspective, take some deep breaths, then start again. I did my best to explain to you why I needed to stop running marathons. You had become so accustomed to me running and running for a long time, that when my training changed, you had questions. Then you touched my heart deeply because you told me that one day you were going to run a marathon for me because I couldn’t. You said, “Mama, you ran your marathons for Nana, so I want to run my marathon for you. I want to be able to run for my mother just like you did!” You turned to your father and asked him to run with you and to help me train you. I don’t know if you will ever run a marathon, but your heart---your beautifully empathetic heart reaches out and connects to people.

We took a leap of faith and switched your education to a project-based Charter school. While we were incredibly apprehensive, you have really made great strides and are flourishing. You aren’t yet devouring books, but you do enjoy reading a great deal. You also enjoy writing and observing the world around you. You are still very artistic and are happiest when you are painting or drawing.

You are just as happy when you play with your baby sister! I absolutely adore the relationship you two share. Yes, at times you bicker with one another, but the love that you each have for the other, the kindness, the generosity, the willingness to put the other before yourself…that’s what I admire most of all and hope that you continue with that leadership so you can share that relationship for the rest of your lives.

You tell me that all the colors of the rainbow are your favorite, one not more important than any other. You have such a thirst for knowledge and I often have to pull you back into reality because you drift off into your head…what a magical place your imagination must be!

Since you are turning 7 on the 7th, this year marks your golden birthday! You asked for me to surprise you for your birthday. I’ve clued you in on some details, but not many. When you wake up, there will be gold tassels, gold helium balloons, gold glitter tulle, and gold rose petals covering your room into a golden bomb. Out front, there is a yard sign signaling the whole neighborhood of your special day. In the morning, your sister and I will shuttle you off to The Drybar for a birthday blowout. You will wear your new gold sequin frock given to you from your baby sister. Afterwards, we will head home and have brunch with friends and family. Later, you will have your first not-at-home party with your classmates and best friends. It is a bit lower key for us because one of your birthday gifts is a plane ticket to California for later on in the year! You will get to tear into your 3-tiered golden cake with your 7 golden candles and a 7 sparkler, too! At home, we will revisit your birth story and see what else you would like to do for the rest of the day. And a big surprise! You will take a cooking class the very next day with your father with a real chef! You love Master Chef Junior and really wanted to have some basic cooking lessons. You get many lessons and often from your father, me, and your Uncle Simon, but this one will be away from the home and a special time just for you and your daddy. Your father and I are so very proud of you!

Thank you for your laughter, for your hugs, for your curiosity, for your love! I still don’t know how I got to be so lucky to be your mommy, but every single day I am grateful that our God saw me fit to do just that. I love you, Sugarbug, oh so very, very much! Keep flying high my little butterfly! Happy Golden birthday to you!




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