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A Letter To Cora

Dear Cora:

Every morning provided the weather holds, you scooter to school. About a block and a half into it, you arrive at your friend Lily’s house, and invariably you pause there, lingering in the hope that she’ll come walking out the door at that moment and you two can continue on to school together.

When I catch up with you, you’ll always say that your leg is “tired and needs to rest”. One day I teasingly pointed out that your leg always seems to get tired at the same spot on our journey; you shrugged and said matter-of-factly, “My leg always wants to rest with my friends.”

Well, I don’t know about your leg, kiddo, but I know for certain that your heart rests with your friends. You spent the past few years essentially “borrowing” friends from your older sister, but this year you’ve truly come into your own and have spent kindergarten developing your own sweet little gang. You are always begging me for a play date with Lily, or Maggie, or Logan or Rawan – always wanting to spend more time with your friends. And it’s not that you’re not comfortable in your own skin: you can easily entertain yourself in your room for hours at a time. No, you simply love your friends. You have an easy confidence with them that, frankly, I envy: I can’t imagine being that comfortable with myself and open with so many others at your age.

This has been a big year for you, kiddo, starting kindergarten and all. And I have to hand it to you: you’ve hit the ground running and haven’t looked back. You seem to truly love school – the teachers, the friends, the learning, the whole thing. You come home filled with excitement and awe about the life cycle of a plant, or full of trivia about our home state. During music class I can picture you singing lustily; indeed, the music teacher told me once that she allowed you all to act out a song about Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and you nearly took over the whole class with your sweeping portrayal of multiple characters. In the same song.

Ballet is still high on your list of Awesome Things To Do, and for that I’m profoundly grateful. For the talent show this year you chose to do an improvisational dance, and I was in awe of your unselfconsciousness as you got up in front of all your friends and did your thing. When you dance, you look so supremely confident – not snotty or stuck up about it, simply completely at home with what you’re doing, inhabiting the dance and your performance with ease and comfort. You look as if it never occurred to you that someone might not want to watch you dance, and thus it never even occurs to us to look away. I don’t know where you’ll go with dance, kiddo, but I hope it always brings you such joy and freedom.

Being inside school seven hours a day hasn’t dampened your love for the outdoors at all; if anything, your green thumb has blossomed into an entire green limb! Your favorite vacations are our weekends at the nearby cabin; you have yet to meet a tree you didn’t want to climb; and you will happily putter in our side or back garden for hours at a time. This spring as we cleaned up our yard, you fell in love with a few plants at our local nursery. You’ve got a lovely little clematis vine that you begged us to bring home, and you won’t let anyone take care of it except you. Some evenings when we eat dinner outside, you’ll happily head to the herb garden and put together a fresh “salad” for me – peppermint and spearmint leaves mixed with, say, sage and basil. I’ll say this for you – your creations are original and I happily swallow them for you.

I am head over heels in love with you, Cora. You’ve been having a bit of a rough patch recently, not wanting to (for example) do homework when you’re told and thus wasting the next three hours (you’re quite stubborn!) sulking, stewing, crying, raging, cooling down, begging, and starting over again. I’m trying hard to hang in there and simply love you through this, baby, though I know my responses to you are not always grace-filled. And in these situations I’m glad that we’ve both got a savior whose grace covers an actual multitude of sins!

This year has been amazing, my love. I’ve missed you so much while you’re at school, and miss our Cora and Mommy days of yore. But I see how you’re blooming, growing more independent and confident, and I know this is where you’re meant to be. I’m grateful you still want to hang out with me out of school, baking or making herbal remedies or hand soap or gardening or . . . the list is endless and you’re always up for something. Hanging out at Starbucks on a chilly day with a book and a good cup of cocoa; or spending a lazy afternoon reading outside on pillows piled high on a Mommy Day; or even checking you out of school for a bit so we can go have a picnic for lunch, just the two of us: these are all times I treasure and am so vividly aware will end sooner than I want.

You, my little baby, are six years old. I really can’t believe it, and it seems like just a couple years ago I met you in the delivery room for the first time. At the same time, you have such a hold on my heart that I can’t imagine life without you. I can’t wait to see what the next year holds, Cora, and look forward to exploring it with you.




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