If there is an almost 5 year old on this planet who knows themself better than you know yourself, I have yet to meet her or him. You walk through life so full of confidence, so ready to attempt things you cannot do, and so sure that every person you meet loves you. And the occasional shock that one of these things might be misguided at any point in time hardly slows you down.
Let's face it, Helen, your life is easy. You get to see Connor do everything before you do it, carefully studying what people tell him. You also get to be among the older children in your cohort - given your October birthday. It almost seems unfair.
But you don't waste your advantages. You use them for good. You find the quiet person in class to love, you delight at telling anyone and everyone that they are your best friend and watching them light up, you wear your heart on your sleeve and share your disarming smile so freely that in general, people treat you very gently.
The only downside you have is that you rarely stop talking. This is good, of course, because I need not watch you to know what's going on, but it's also very tiring. Last Saturday, I went to the market. Connor joined me for a really lovely trip. You rattled to your dad so much during that hour Connor and I were gone that by the time I came home, your dad was demanding a plan on how we were going to accomplish our weekend jobs. Because your dad? He needed a break.
You are wise beyond your years. On float night last weekend, you and Connor were floating around the pool on an enormous float. A few minutes before that, some game of King of the Mountain was being played, but once it was just you and Connor, you spotted your opportunity. You laid down on the float and as soon as you noticed he was off-balance, you gave him a shove and he plopped right into the water. You laughed louder and with more delight than I have ever seen a child laugh, and the smile on your face is something I hope I never forget. Your dad and I were laughing too, and then I noticed another look cross your face. You realized that as soon as Connor got on that float, you were done for - and so you slid off. Laughing all the way to the water. You knew your time on that float was over, and it was totally worth it. Well done, Helen, well done.
You have become a strong swimmer over this past month, really taking a leap forward when we were in Cape May with your cousins. You came back and attacked the diving board, learning how to do a front dive, and a hurdle. Mostly, though, you like to grab your knees for a cannon ball, or spread your arms like a helicopter, jump, twist, and crash into the water. Over, and over, and over...you can do this. Such fun.
You have reminded me this past month not only how fun the diving board is, but how fun it is to run into the ocean at dusk with all your clothes on - not giving a hoot if you come out a mess.
Everyone whose life you touch is so lucky. Even if they don't realize it at first.