Two days ago, Sunflower turned 7 years old.
When I look at pictures of her from when we first met, when she was 3, I am shocked at how small she looks. She is larger than life now, independent, quite outspoken, quick to put me in time-out when she is playing school or fire me if she is pretending to be my boss.
Sunflower can mow her father down to the ground playing football, then turn around and don sequins and bathe in perfume to go out in public. (Even a trip to Wal-mart is sequin-worthy, in case you were not in the know about these things.) She takes no prisoners when she plays the Memory game, is smart as a whip, and is well aware of that fact.
She could barely reach the doorknob of the front door (or at least pretended she couldn’t reach it) when I met her. Now we have to buy new pants every time we turn around, she is getting so tall, so fast. She likes to insist that toddler-sized clothes still fit her so she doesn’t have to give up her favorite clothes, even if the shirt doesn’t make it over her head anymore and her arms jut straight out at her sides like tree branches because the sleeves are too tight, or the pants come to an abrupt stop at her knees and refuse to budge any higher.
Gary and I used to read her books, and now she reads to us. We barely have to help her with words anymore. Dove likes to grab a book, sit down next to Sunflower, and, not to be outdone, pretend she is reading too.
But there are things that haven’t changed. As soon as Sunflower wakes up, she wants her father, wants to hold onto his neck if the mood strikes, or else hide under the covers and giggle until he “finds” her if that mood strikes. It is still hard on her to go back and forth for an every-other-weekend relationship with her father. She is still bossy as ever, just now with a more elaborate vocabulary. She still likes to carry a purse, likes us to watch her ride her bike, and is still willing to try almost anything once, even mushrooms, unsweetened tea (not a hit), and Cyndi Lauper (definitely a hit).
So…happy birthday, Sunflower. This is only late because it gets harder each year to find the words for how I am feeling, watching you grow up. But for the record, you are doing one heck of a job.