A Birthday Letter to Susanna – You are Five!

Sweet girl, you are five.

You have been so excited for this day but in all honesty, my heart has been aching a little at the thought of it. Five seems like a whole new stage of childhood. You are growing before my very eyes and it’s going much too quickly. It has been such an exciting year, full of change both in you and around you.

When I think back to this time last year, we had no idea of what was ahead of us. You turn five in the middle of a global pandemic, the world is pretty chaotic right now, but you, as always, are our calm. You have matured so beautifully in the past year, teaching us so much as we journey life with you. Preschool was cut short and that made me so sad for you, I had visions of your little graduation day and the fun we would have as you prepared for day trips with your classmates. On that last day in March I sobbed with your teachers. They had watched you go from a shy little pre-schooler to a confident and kind girl in the space of 18 months and were so sad to say goodbye to you all too soon. I will be forever grateful for the love and learning your preschool poured into you. It was never the preschool we had planned, but God knew exactly where you were meant to be. You absolutely thrived. Your first Nativity was a highlight for your Daddy and I. Our precious little girl stood proudly on stage as an Angel, sang her heart out, threw in a few dance moves for good measure and then said her line so eloquently; “Jesus was born-ded on the first Christmas Day”. Oh my heart just about exploded in that moment. You tend to do that to us. In every parent-teacher meeting and report that came home there was a recurring theme; ‘Susanna is very kind and helpful to her friends, she is a natural leader and very popular with her peers’, as if we didn’t already know but it was so nice to hear someone else say it too.

Your kindness doesn’t end at the school gates, it is such a core part of you. As a big sister you have grown more gracious as your little Tonnie Dirl has become more mischevious. You giggle so hard at all the little things she does and very patiently help her along in life. You are wonderful with her. At such a young age it is already so clear that you are a natural caretaker, you are so gentle and sweet with younger children…even when they steal your toys or trash your game. You have taught Connie so much, she is absolutely besotted with you and loves joining in on your games of make believe or hide and seek. Watching your relationship unfold is my greatest joy in life, it is especially sweet to listen to you interact with her, I never knew someone so small could be so loving.

I wrote last year that life is vibrant and fun with you in it and I cannot think of a better way to say it, if anything, it has become even more so as you grow. You are an excellent communicator, often saying things that make us snort with laugher, I am still writing them down when I can but there are just so many funny things. My new favourite thing is your vast catalogue of facial expressions, sometimes there are no words and I glance at your wee face and burst into laughter. Those eyes say a thousand words, especially when you are exasperated with your sister. It also makes me giggle to hear you using different voices for all the characters in your games of make believe, your imagination is second to none.

You still love animals, babies, swimming and ballet but now you have also added gymnastics to your list of favourites. We enrolled you in a summer scheme after lockdown and you were absolutely buzzing after every session. Now you attend every week and literally count down the days. I think it’s even more exciting because you get to see your friends Sofia and Emily from Preschool, and sometimes even go to a café with them afterwards. My little social butterfly.

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We have entered into a really lovely phase with you where your strong will is much less tricky. You accept when you aren’t allowed to do something and take time to talk through your emotions rather than getting cross or frustrated. I guess that’s one of the great things about our baby growing up, but I wouldn’t have changed a second of it any sooner. We have all learned along the way. Your love language is quality time and nothing makes you happier than getting a little simple “date” with mummy or daddy or a sleepover with Nannie. We go for hot chocolates together when we can but it is never long enough, I could sit and listen to your chats for hours on end. It is such a joy to be in your company, you make me so excited for things in life that had long lost their sparkle. You are amazed by simple little things and it’s utterly contagious.

This year we went into lockdown and I feared for how you would miss your friends, preschool, family and all the adventures we had grown so accustomed to. It wasn’t even a week into lockdown when I realised my fears were completely unnecessary. You threw yourself in to life at home, in our own little bubble and you absolutely thrived. As a family we found so much happiness in a simple and slow way of life. We set time aside for ‘preschool’ which was mostly art and songs and exploring outside. I watched you blossom before my eyes and that was, without a doubt, the greatest thing to come out of an awful situation.

You have made the past five years feel like magic. We marvel at all the things you do, each day, there is something new to amaze us or even just give us a giggle. You aren’t sure whether you want to be a dentist and a ballerina or a hairdresser and gymnast when you grow up, but I have no doubt that whatever you choose to do, you will be amazing at it! You give so much Susanna Grace and we are so blessed by you.

So as we enter into your fifth year of life, we want you to know how incredibly proud we are. We are proud of your kind heart, your loving and gentle soul, your beautiful little face and stunning red hair. We are proud of your confidence and humour, and how you seek to serve. We are proud of how clever you are, how keen you are to work hard and how much effort you put into everything you do. Most of all, we are proud of your love for God and your understanding of the Fathers love at such a young age. Keep leaning in to him. Never be afraid to ask the big questions, or the little ones. If you ever doubt things, we are here to chat it through, we won’t judge or get angry, we want to journey it all with you. Here’s to the highs and lows baby girl. Keep being you, we adore you!

Lots of love,

Mummy & Daddy xo

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