Happy Birthday, my beloved Emmanuelle.
When you first came out, I remember feeling so confused as to who you were. I’ve never been a mom before, but there you were, ready to be loved whether I was ready or not. But when I held you, I knew I would do everything I could to protect you, to love you, to give you the best of what we can give, to raise you confidently, to encourage you, and to let you know how much you were loved.
When all the nurses and doctors finally left, your dad and I read your life Bible verses and prayed over you, being our first dedication of your life for His glory. Your dad chose your verses. We chose your name so early on, knowing that in the beginning of our relationship, we knew that God was with us. So we gave you a name that not many girls had- Emmanuelle. We added grace because we both love that word.
The first few weeks, we called you Zem because of your Lolo Perl combining Perze & Marchesa. haha. Your dad called you ‘Em-Em Poop Poop’ because of your projectile pooping ability. I called you monkey because I was crazy and that was the first word that came to my mind when I saw all the hair on your head.
Now you are seven.
Before you turned seven, your sixth year was full of achievements. You started ballet and piano lessons, and had one violin lesson. You went from E reading level to M in 1st grade and got another Peacemaker/Citizenship award. You even started simple multiplication. You committed to Friday and Saturday ballet practices so you could perform in a professional ballet performance w/ your school in Don Quixote. And still, you had time to practice for your first cantata solo this past Easter and continue to be in the children’s choir.
You visited the Phils. for the 2nd time, went ziplining by yourself, swam in a beautiful beach, and got to see your Tatay’s hometown again, as well as spend some time with your lolo, lola, titas, titos, and cousin Isabel. You got to see West Virginia and spend a weekend with the family. You also got a chance to see the Smithsonian’s Space Museum where you brought your Space book and notebook. Months before the Space museum, we took you to the planetarium in Phila. so you could hear their lecture on stars. How fascinated you are with space! We had to go to B&N to buy you 3 books to satisfy your curiosity. You would take it with you to school to show your science teacher and friends, spewing out facts about nebullas and black holes. We’ve even pasted stars on your wall and hung planets from your ceiling. You asked for star earrings and space jewelry, shuttle pins to put on your backpack.
You started liking My Little Pony and Lalaloopsie. You pleaded with me to find you tickets for the Fresh Beat Band. You also started loving musicals, esp. Annie & Mary Poppins, singing always and learning so many songs. One song you particularly were fond of was “Price Tag.” Your hobbies included rollerskating, drawing, swimming, and video games, even word puzzles. But one thing that surpasses all these is playing outside and just being in nature.
Most of your front teeth are your permanent teeth, having even once taken out one of your baby teeth by yourself. So many of your photos this year were toothless ones. hahah. I’ll cherish those.
And still, one thing that hasn’t changed is your love and affection for ‘big girl Elephant.’ How you cry when you lose her. She is your nightly companion when you sleep in your room.
So much has happened when you were six, and your dad and I are so proud of you, you have no idea- in just one year. And did you know that Zienne’s incredible boost in development is mainly because of your constant companionship with her?? You’ve taught her so many songs, so many words, so many phrases and emotions, it’s hard to tell which is all just her and which you were the influence to. She really looks up to you and follows you admiringly.
Happy Birthday, my love.
This year, you have learned a lot of lessons, but the one lesson I’ve always reminded you this year is to never give up. Speak up and let people know who you are, what you can do. And if you don’t know what you can do, I always want you to try and not give up. This has helped you in your confidence in ballet and the piano, in reading and participating, in singing and performing. And it shows. We love watching you grow, Em. Although I’m sad seeing six year old Emma morph into seven year old Emma, we’re so excited to know who you are becoming. It is a privilege to raise you. God bless you, anak, you are a constant blessing, not just to us, but to so many people who have the pleasure to know you.