(if you're not Eva or family, you might want to scan this... it got super long :)
My Dear Eva,
You've completed a sixth year, and you're on to your seventh with great excitement! This has been a beautiful year for you. I confess, I never did write a birthday letter for you when you turned five. For several months surrounding your fifth birthday we were struggling. Always, constantly, heart wrecking, anger inducing struggling. I didn't know what to write last year, and I was so frustrated. You already know this, but moms get tangled up in their sin too, and I was really weighed down by it last spring. Well, this year is a little different. You seem to have moved past that rough patch, and by God's grace, made some major leaps forward.
To be honest, we noticed a significant change in you during last summer. Almost overnight you went from constantly combative to generally considerate and desiring to grow in godliness. We adventured all summer long- swimming, hiking, biking, gardening, imagining. I asked you tonight at dinner what your favorite memories of the last year were. "Playing with Katherine", you said. We remembered that super fun afternoon in Colorado when you and my cousin Katherine discovered the joy of building mountain forts and creating kingdoms among the huge rock outcroppings. You bravely climbed 20 feet in the air to be on top of the big boulders, declaring your reign and rule to every scraggly pine tree in the area.
You and Katherine threw pine cones at anyone who ventured near, but were eventually captured by courageous enemy knights otherwise known as your fathers. You had hiked so far to find your kingdom that I couldn't see you at all. But I could hear your strong voices echoing in the rocks. I sat at the picnic table, breathing deeply of the piny dry air and savouring this adventure with you. I thank you for transporting me back to my own childhood for a brief moment, reliving my own exhilarating, high altitude adventures of rocks and sticks and vertical endeavors.
Another big adventure for us all was "kinder". Senora Ponce Carmona welcomed you with a hug on the first day, and by now you are fiercely loyal to her. She has been a good teacher for you, recognizing your strengths, but pushing you to expand your repetoire and try some challenging things. Ahora puedes hablar todo el tiempo en espanol... por supuesto no pudes hablar con la reina de Espana de cosas muy altas, pero en casa y en la escuela eres muy capaz de comunicar. Nos gusta hablar en secreto y hacer chistes de tu papa. De vez en cuando, me dices algo que no comprendo, y yo realizo que vayas a hablar muy bien el espanol, mejor que yo, en poco tiempo.
Spanish immersion kindergarten was truly the right choice. I'm so glad that we humbly accepted the strong "gut" feelings that Daddy and I both had and let you out the door. It felt so early... you are little still. But school has given you much independence, stretched your brain in ways that I never could, and been such fun. Yesterday you did the Spanish version of "eenie, meenie, miny, moh" while you and Hope were playing, and it was so fun for me to listen and learn something new. We have loved watching your reading and writing absolutely explode in English and Spanish simultaneously. I think your favorite book to read in Spanish right now is "Es tu Mama una Llama?" and in English is "Come Back Amelia Bedelia". Of course you LOVE crossover books, and you are currently enthralled with the Spanish/English rhyming in "Say Hola to Spanish".
Friends are becoming very important to you too, although you are generally introverted and need plenty of alone time. Right now your best friends at school are Mari and Kate. Among our family friends, you really love to play with Kara, who has lived in our neighborhood for this school year. Some days you and Hope adore each other and play beautifully together, and other days you grate on each other's nerves the whole time. I guess that's how it goes with sisters! When it comes down to it though (like nights when you are scared of imaginary ghosts and shark attacks), it sure is nice to have a sister to snuggle with in bed.
In our family, you are growing into a fantastic older sister and helper. You've learned how to do a few simple cooking tasks like frying eggs, making toast, and getting drinks. We call on you often to get a snack for Esther or Hope and to help me set the table at dinnertime. You almost always respond with cheerful willingness, which is a real blessing to your busy parents. Esther loves it when you read to her, help her walk down the stairs, or play silly little games with her. You are becoming a wonderful role model for both of your sisters!
The biggest growth this year, the one we are most thankful for, is your heart towards God. You have always been interested in God and have easily grasped spiritual concepts, which is a good thing. However, your heart has not always been tender and soft towards Him. We realized that was changing one night this winter when you pulled Daddy towards you at bedtime to ask some very important questions. All the talking, thinking, praying, and learning about God was penetrating your heart, and you had a few things to clarify. That night Daddy encouraged you to confess your sins to God and put your full trust in Jesus' death on the cross to cover those sins. He told you that you couldn't do anything to earn God's favor, and from experience you already knew that you had done plenty of things against God. Later that night, and many nights since, we have heard you quietly thanking God for sending Jesus as the payment for your sin and confessing your love to God the Father.
As the eyes of your heart have opened to the gospel, we've watched in amazement as your behavior and attitudes have gradually been more and more governed by the Holy Spirit. Of course you are still a child and act as a child often (just as Mommy and Daddy still struggle with sin as well), but heart change is beautiful. The greatest thing we desire for you is that you experience the joy of knowing Jesus Christ and the fellowship of the Body of believers. We are so happy to see that God is bringing you down that path and pray for more fruit in years to come!
This is a long letter, dear daughter, but it is only because Daddy and Mommy are so thankful for you and enjoy you so much! Little things about you right now that we want to remember- you love all things about school, but especially reading, science, math, and art. You draw all the time, and just this week figured out how to make shoulders look more realistic :). You create math problems in your head... this week it has been things like 50 x 10 = 500 or 30 x 10 = 300. Science right now is all about worms and seeds. You tell me (in Spanish, of course) tons of interesting tidbits about worms around the world. You are silly, love to laugh, and daydream about your plans for the future (currently including violin lessons, piano lessons, and getting a dog). You oppose cheese, but eat TONS of anything and everything else.
You are still competitive, contemplative, and cautious. When you grow up, you would like to be a Children's Librarian or a Veterinarian. You blush, get giddy, and show tons of interest in any kind of love story... you are probably a little boy-crazy already! Your favorite colors are blue and orange, and although you like jewelry and make-up, you don't prefer super girly stuff. Your weekend attire is always yoga pants and a baggy sweatshirt, so you and I match quite often! (Actually that's an understatement. You absolutely insist on wearing "comfy clothes" such as fleece pants, pajama pants, and sweatshirts as much as possible.) You are currently enjoying swimming lessons, but are patiently waiting for the "real deal", which will be ballet in the fall.
Basically, Eva, we love you so much and are blessed to be your parents. We're thankful that you are in our family! Happy 6th Birthday!
love, Daddy and Mommy