Dear Maddie Lou Who,
When you pad down the stairs in the morning, hair fluffy, nightgown disheveled, then curl up in my lap, your first questions always comes out like a wee little who down in who-ville, sweet and curious and anticipatory: "What are we doing today?" I wish I had the presence of mind and stillness of heart to savor every moment like this, where your wide-eyed curiosity and sense of wonder at the day ahead stirs some deep, vibrant love within me.
Kindergarten continues to grow on you, but you're still using around the words "hate" and "school" in the same sentence with frequency. And now there's the homework to "hate" as well. Sigh. Only eighteen more years of homework ahead. Every day, the same question: "School today?" Five out of seven days, the same response. Five out of seven responses, not so favorable. Every day I send you off to school, hoping the magic switch gets flipped and you'll be super excited for school the next morning. Still waiting... (updated at time of posting: Less drama, more happiness associated with school days. Phew!)
In happier news, you conquered the pull-up! After an entire Summer of practicing, you finally got those eyes above the bar and we are SO PROUD of you! I couldn't even come close to attempting a pull-up, but you stuck with it for months, practicing and practicing until you accomplished your goal. Way to go, strong, capable girl!!!
A teacher work day afforded us a much-needed Mama-Maddie date. We spent our two and a half hours together grabbing breakfast at Chow (you love the Marion Pancake) and hiking at San Damiano. It was a treat to get you all to myself. I love that SD is our special place, where we connect with each other, with God, and have some amazing conversations. It's hard to believe you're only five and a half; at times our deep spiritual talks are on the level of a friend. You are both wise and curious, characteristics that lend well to long talks and walks in the woods.
Today at lunch you asked me how to know whether the little voice you are hearing inside your heart is God or not. We've been talking about really spending time listening, trying to discern the voice of God. I told you that if you ever thought God might be speaking to you, to ask him to reveal himself to you, to ask him, "God, is that you?" (We've read the Samuel story LOTS of times). Today you said, "I think he's trying to tell me something, because this is what I keep hearing:
'You are my beloved daughter. I love you so much.'"
I told you that it sounded very much like something God would say. There is no greater joy for me than to watch and observe your growing relationship with your Heavenly Father. You SO want to foster a relationship of listening with Him, and I just know that he is going to honor your pursuit of him.
We had your first Kindergarten conference this week. Mrs. L had plenty to say, but the thing she praised the most was your "kind and loving heart." Needless to say, I was a mess of tears and pride (hello, pregnancy emotions) upon hearing her reflections. Of course, your Daddy and I (and all who know you) recognize that you have a compassionate, loving, inclusive heart. You are always reaching out to those on the fringe, to kids who might feel left out. Mrs. L. noted that you've become quite a friend and comfort to a girl in your class who does not speak English as her first language, and it's made quite an impression.
Because we're all about celebrating the big and little things, Daddy thought of inviting you out on a special dress-up dessert to your favorite spot, Esin. You donned a party dress, three hair accessories, three necklaces, a bracelet, a ring, and a purse. You were quite fancy. Creme Brulee was your dessert of choice and you had no problem finishing it all by yourself (with a few bites reserved for Daddy & Sam). You even tried Daddy's coffee. So grown up.
Madeleine Noelle, it goes without saying that you are so, so precious to us. You have a heart of gold, an unmatched personality and zest for life, and a tender spirit that seeks truth. I feel so lucky to be your mom. You've taught me so much in such a brief tenure here on earth. Can't wait to continue learning through the years with you.