Dearest Princess Elie,
Happy Birthay, my dear. Today you are eight years old. Woah. I am the mother of an eight year old. But what does that mean? You'll have to forgive me, I'm doing the best I can to muddle through and make sure I'm allowing you to grow and experience, while you are still learning to be safe in the big-wonderful-world.
This year has been a big one for you, and us. We moved to a different country; you left behind a house where our family gained two more children and made many memories. You've begun to be involved in after-school activities. You've started actively helping prepare food by cutting bell-peppers, broccoli and cauliflower. (Even if I do quietly cringe to myself in the corner the whole time you are wielding a knife.) You are reading more and more advanced books and still devouring any printed material you can get your hands on. (Yesterday you were reading the promotion material on the restaurant table where we were eating lunch.) You love to write stories and draw pictures. You make up songs and imaginary games with gusto. You have taken up the piano and would take up the violin if I would let you squeeze it in. All the while you are busy, busy, asking questions, making observations and growing into such a beautiful young lady.
You have handled the transition to England with a smile and a head-down determination to make friends and excel in school. You struggled a bit in the beginning of the year because your age mates have had one more year formal schooling than you have, but you have caught up and are doing just fine. In some ways, social adjustment has been a more difficult task. You are so friendly and open, unfortunately not everyone appreciates or understands that. You have struggled with being different, but you are amazingly self-confident. I know that it puzzles and saddens you that the other children can't just accept that everyone is not the same. You have learned to ignore their cruelty with an amazing matter-of-fact attitude and keep your head up. You have found friends and you always go to school with a smile on your face. We are so proud of you.
You continue to be a mensch, in the truest sense of the word. You are always concerned with helping others, big and small. Sometimes this causes a bit of an uproar, like when you believe that a child walking alone must be lost and we must do something NOW. But for the most part, your desire to help other people is generous and sweet, well-meant and good-hearted. You are always ready to help Dadam and I, or one of your siblings. You have an amazing memory and are excellent at reminding us when we've forgotten something. You are a pro at taking turns and sharing.
You have recently started sewing projects on your own and have done a great job with that. You love to create with your hands and are always excited to try new projects. I can see that sewing is something you will like to do a lot of and it is so fun to share that with you.
I love watching you grow and change. I know that Dadam and I expect a lot from you and you meet our expectations amazingly. I sometimes forget that you are only eight because you are so mature in so many ways. You are beautiful and amazing. And I love being your Mommy.
Happy eighth birthday, my Princess Elie.