Dear Z,

Yesterday you got dressed in pants with a belt through every loop and slung your purse across your body and helped your sister into the car as we headed to Target. You were ready to receive a present and, as it was the day before your birthday, you had to wait an unbearable 18.75 hours. Luckily, you'd been saving your allowance for months and had quite a stash of bills wadded up.

You were sure you wanted a new outfit for your American Girl doll and after hearing that Target sold clothes that would fit her, were cheaper than the official clothes, AND you wouldn't have to pay shipping and handling, you were dressed and ready in a flash.

We did have to get you from the car to the store, which, since you're currently scared of bees and anywhere bees might possibly reside, required cajoling and vise-grip hand holding on our walk to the store.

Once inside, you broke free, skipped to the toy aisles and then walked sideways facing away from the toys so as to minimize exposure to other tempting plastic bits.

Your sister trailed you and did her very best to skip, to walk sideways, to keep up.

You chose a doll outfit.

You got distracted by a Barbie dog walker that was on sale.

Can I afford THAT?

Read the numbers here. How much do you have again? So what do YOU think? CAN you afford it? Is that what you want?

I tried hard not to judge or sway you. Your dad and I want you to learn about money and buying and satisfaction on your own, now, when it's small bits of money. Money can't buy you happiness, we've told you, but it can be fun.

You were so excited in the toy aisle you kept having to calm yourself down. We want you to learn how to do that, too.

In the middle of the clothing/Barbie conundrum, your sister grabbed a plastic shopping cart full of food off the shelf and disappeared into the automotive supplies. Her fit upon having it wrenched from her fingers tugged your heartstrings and you started counting your money again.

E! I'll have some money left! I can buy you something too! You love dogs so how about we find a dog that costs less than five dollars?

We did. We found a stuffed dog that cost less than five dollars. I had to remind you to let her chose which one as she's going to need to learn for herself how to chose, too.

You were so proud of yourself, buying something for yourself and buying something for your sister. On the way back to the car, you forgot to hold my hand in a death grip, or really at all, but I didn't remind you, even as we entered the parking lot. You were close to us, your sister and me, and so proud of all your decisions, I knew you wouldn't go far. So I let you walk in a parking lot without holding my hand and this felt so big, as I remembered how much we battled over holding hands in parking lots several years ago.

That I can even say "several years ago" in relation to you, my very first baby, is still stunning to me.

That you grow and change and mature every day is just as miraculous to me as your birth, five years ago today.

Happy Birthday Z.


Your Clueless But Hopeful Mama


Hillary said...

What a sweet girl! (And what good parents she has.) Happy birthday to you both!

Stephanie said...

Happy birthday, Z!

I was just thinking last night that I am STILL sometimes surprised by my own motherhood. How is it possible that these children have been here with us for YEARS now?

twisterfish said...

What a sweet letter to your daughter. You are teaching her wonderful lessons. When I got to the part where she got a dog for her sister I couldn't stop smiling.... So precious!

Marie Green said...

Oh, that was just the sweetest. The thought of her spending her own money-- long saved and all-- make me tear up a bit. What a beautiful daughter you have!

(Also, M is deathly afraid of bees, too. As she should be, as they are DRAWN to her. She was stung 8 times last summer, and on three of those times I witnessed a bee fly up, sting her, and fly away. WTH??) Luckily (??) it's been so damn cold and miserable here that the bees aren't out yet.

Erica said...

This made me cry. What an awesome, awesome girl you're raising.

Sarah said...

I think to raise a kind child is my highest priority, way above smart and pretty and athletic and all that. The world needs more NICE people. So good for you!

Michelle said...

This made me tear up. What a lovely little girl you are raising. You must be exceedingly proud. Happy birthday!

B said...

You're doing a great job- what a terrific kid. I was so touched by Z budgeting for that dog for E!

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