Lily: Seven

Hi kiddo,

We spent a few hours this weekend gluing 100 sunflower seeds onto a piece of paper for a school project. Since my last letter to you, you’ve started grade 1. Your teacher doesn’t believe in homework for grade 1 kids, and I agree, but we do have these occasional projects. It makes me think about all the clichés of parents doing their kid’s science fair projects. Silly and inconsequential as it is, I found myself coming along behind you and straightening out sunflower seeds that you had knocked off of their glue blobs. You watched me do it at one point, and then looked up at me and declared, “We are a good team.”

You broke your arm a few months ago. You did it in the most normal way, falling off the monkey bars. You didn’t wail, you just went and sat quietly until a teacher asked you if you were okay. It’s hard to express to you how it feels as a parent to see you hurt. I know that you’ll be fine. Kids do this. It’s probably even beneficial for you. But there’s this intense urgency to those moments. I do a pretty good job of keeping calm in times of high stress, but that day was a hard one to stay calm through. Your mom was taking you to get an x-ray and even though she’s perfectly capable of doing it herself, I felt like I needed to be there. Melissa heard it in my voice over the phone, and basically ordered me to go. You’re fine now, of course. But for the photos you might not even remember it in a few years. But I will.

Because your sister is now more than a year old, we felt like it was safe to start traveling again, so two weeks ago we all went down to Mexico. Travel is such an important part of our life, and it makes Melissa and me so happy to share it with you. You’re learning to be a pro traveler from the start. Mexico was amazing, there was great programming for you and B, and a lovely atmosphere overall. You’re such a water kid — you went swimming at least 3 times a day. And for a kid who doesn’t eat much, you were extremely impressed with the buffet. It will take a few years before B can handle the more adventurous trips, but seeing you two explore together, and the way you take care of her, is just lovely.

But the vacation didn’t really take us away from the fact that the world is in a sort of messed up place, Lil. While we fundraised on hotel wifi, your social justice instincts were still going strong, too. You ask a lot of questions about why mean people get elected, and why someone doesn’t tell them that they’re not being fair. We try to frame our answers in terms of participation — that it is important to have a point of view, and to express it, and to stand up for what’s right. We try to do that in our own writing about the stuff we know. But we’re still looking for ways to do more that feel true to who we are.

Your world is pretty full right now. You have skating, karate, swimming, and choir. Your choir teacher clearly has fascinating taste. We’ll be making breakfast and you’ll start humming Supertramp, or Aerosmith. Leonard Cohen, or Bahamas. Music is another thing that is important to all your parents, and that all of us love to see taking root in you. Even if it does mean hours of, “Dream on, dream on, dream until your dreams come troooooooooo” on repeat.

I love you, Lil.


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