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Genevieve turned five years old this week. For some reason, five seems like a huge milestone. Perhaps it’s because I remember turning five myself…or rather, I remember the dreaded booster shot in the hiney. These kids today have no clue how fortunate they are that they can forgo this exercise in humiliation. But as I was saying, five is a huge birthday, and I’m hanging on for what is sure to be a wild ride of a year.

I’ll write more soon about the birthday party, but for today here is my yearly letter to sweet Vivi.

Dear Genevieve,

Over the past year, I’ve seen your four-year-old personality continue to develop, and much of what I said last year¬†applies to you this year as well. It’s an extraordinary journey to be invited to witness the cultivation of your marvelous self. Mostly, I feel like you are molding me instead of the other way around. A new friend exclaimed, “Vivi’s face lights up at EVERYTHING. How wonderful!,” and I couldn’t agree more. Here are some of my favorite of your qualities:

:: keen eye for detail :: You have a precise and discerning regard, and you can often be heard from the backseat reminding me, “Mommy, it’s faster to go the other way to the library, remember?” What would I do without your help in getting where I want to go in life? Your keen eye extends to the fashion world too, and your nose crinkles when I attempt in my own fumbling manner to broaden your clothing horizons outside your limiting criteria of 1) pink, or 2) leggings (see also: ruffles). To your credit, this spring you are stepping out in frocks of blue and green (praiseallujah).

:: leadership potential :: What others might call bossiness, I see as the leader in you exploding forth. You direct the operations of many a household task or sisterly game, and I wouldn’t choose any other executor as my partner (with the one exception of your daddy). I hope you seek an opportunity to lead a team as an adult, for you will make a heck of a chief. May your brave quest to lead both men and women happen without or in spite of the limitations that both genders seek to put on women who lead my generation.

:: sharp wit :: You’ve become a lover of Shel Silverstein already, and you laugh heartily throughout his poems. I’m thrilled to share a sense of humor with you. Your expansive vocabulary grows ever greater, and your hunt for information is nearly unparalleled in my experience (your schoolmate Jacob vies for first place in this area, asking his grandmother today, “How was Europe formed?”).

:: tender heart :: When I asked you if you wanted to make your grandpa a birthday card, you said “Yes! But I’m going to need a really big card because there are going to be lots of hearts.” I hope you will maintain your loving nature and with it, your ability to bring even the shiest of friends into the fold with your patient and kind ways. You are a genuine people lover, and I feel lucky to be loved by you.

:: endeavorous spirit :: Endeavorous is not a word, although I’d like to make it a new one for you because I feel it sums you up so well. You are willing and even excited to try new things, whether they be activities, sports, or food. You encourage our whole family to experiment with your love of life. Thank you for being a stupendous individual.


Teaching Charlie to play baseball.