Six . . . Six is only one number more than five, one grade, one year . . . but it feels so different.
Five is baby teeth and new beginnings. Five is venturing out into the world, maybe making a friend. Meeting a teacher. Learning to ride a bike.
Six took my breath away.
Six looks like a loose front tooth—tiny and wiggly, soon to be replaced by a big tooth, one that will stay forever.
Six looks like a bright purple bike zooming down the driveway.
Six looks like playing with your big brothers and their friends now—you are big enough to keep up.
Six sounds like fluent reading, with lots of animation every single night. You want to do it all by yourself.
Six sounds like the joyful screams from your birthday party. You invited your entire class. We know them all now, know their parents—you all bounced together in a big jump house. You have a group now. You belong. Little girls called Dottie and little boys named George ran barefoot through our yard in the sun.
Six smells like hair that uses my shampoo now, not Johnson’s Baby Wash. Your hair smells like my hair, and maybe a touch of leftover chlorine from the swimming pool.
Six smells like big people food—tater tot hotdish and black beans are your favorite. Sometimes family pizza night on Fridays.
Six smells like new Barbies fresh out of the box.
Six feels like I don’t have a baby anymore. Six feels like a new phase.
Six feels easier in some ways and hard in others. Six feels like I miss you—your short hair, your pacifiers, your lisp, your baby-ness.
Six feels like it came too fast, but I don’t want to dwell in the past. Six feels like the very, very beginning of letting you fly.
Six is magical, and bittersweet, and gratefulness, and happiness, and longing, and exciting.
Six is a big number . . . when your last baby turns six.