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We’ve been kicking balloons from room to room for a week. They’re leftover from when we filled her room the night she fell asleep as a five year old and woke up as a six year old, trading one year for another somewhere between prayers and dreams and the sunrise.

Her mother and I celebrated her with surprise after surprise the entire day because six years ago she started doing the same for us. We had a few of her friends, some since birth and the other her best forever, show up randomly at places we already were. First, the indoor trampoline park where they jumped from walls to floor to foam pits and air bags then later, the bowling alley and arcade where the laughs rolled faster than the bowling balls.

We ate lunch at her favorite restaurant and cooled off with ice cream from her favorite creamery before collapsing on our couch at the end of the day. Over pizza with pepperonis displaying her age and candy she declared her favorite from last Halloween, we watched a movie and looked back at the last six years.

Then over the weekend, we watched her take a deep breath and blow out her candles surrounded by friends and family. Entertained by obstacles and gymnastic challenges, her and her friends tackled them all before she was strapped in and swung from the ceiling. Later she told me it was the best birthday ever and maybe because the words came out crisper and cleaner than ever before, spoken from someone with another year of life experience, I believed her.

When she was three, she couldn’t wait to be six. Now that she's six, she can’t wait to be twelve. Meanwhile, I’m just trying to soak it all in and hang on for the ride. If the next six years fly by as quickly as the last six did, I better tighten the straps. One thing is for sure, whiplash included, she’s the best gift we’ve ever received.

( Read more about previous birthdays : Five, Four, Three, Two )


June 21, 2017

The house lights were dim making shadows of the audience and there was an audible catch of breath from several around us once the curtains slid open. She tends to have the same effect on me too -- breathtaking. The spotlight was on her and we watched her strike a pose before the music started then she found the beat and encouraged her fellow dancers to do the same. The fringe of her skirt swayed and shook as the toes and heels of her feet tapped along, a group of tiny dancers with a ton of stage presence. 

From tap to ballet, she returned to the stage with her friends having traded fringe for tulle. They twirled around as they do, a beautiful disaster at some points at this age, and we smiled until our cheeks hurt then we clapped until our palms did too. Watching her arms and legs extend measuring the grace and height she's gained since last year this time further proves how quickly she's growing up. The curtain closed at the end of her second performance and just before the left met the right, her eyes met mine and despite all the rhythm in the room my heart still skipped a beat.


June 7, 2017

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