There’s so much I remember 6 years ago. Time is a constant exam to see how far your memory stretches, but from the first day, I made sure to memorize it despite my fatigue. Because on days like today, there is a story I need to tell you about you. I love you, Zienne.
I watched you as you slept last night, wishing I had kept you up until 12am so I knew I had those last few minutes seeing you smile and talking with 5 year old Zi, but you were so tired from you daily activities. It’s ok; I made sure I took your photos yesterday of 5 year old zienne, asked you to answer your yearly interview questions, hugged you and asked you my yearly request of staying that age, and told you how proud I was of you- of 5 year old you.
Me: Zi, do you really have to turn 6 tomorrow?
Zi: Do you want me to?
Me: No. It will make me sorely sad.
Zi: I dunno how to make it stop.
This was you, yesterday after school. You chose your own outfit and fixed your hair by yourself.
Zienne, you are still the same giggly, fun loving, laugh out loud, raspy voiced, musical, analytical, skeptical, detail oriented, talented, thoughtful, energetic, loud, yet somewhat shy little girl. This year, you’ve amazed us in your drive for achievement, in school, in your instruments, your singing, and even in simple things you set out to learn, like using the yoyo, hula hoop, somersaults in the water, snorkeling in the open water, etc. You have such resolve and are never pacified until you master what you’re interested in.
In school, you’ve earned the highest marks with such ease, reaching farther and farther in your reading level without my help. You teacher always mentions how much of a joy it is to have you in her class. You are progressing with your violin playing, but what I love most are the moments you think I’m not looking- when I hear you in your room singing your original songs, making up lyrics that are stuck in your head. When I hear you change the style of your singing voice to experiment with how you sound. When I see you climb up on the piano bench and tinker with melodies by ear.
And Zienne, I love your heart- the way you cried from the bus because you thought they had left Emma in school, when she was actually picked up early from school. Or the time you missed Tito Fred & Tita LJ so much that you texted them every day to feel close to them. Or the way you looked on the plane leaving the Philippines, as if you had let go of a treasure. And most especially, the way you tuck your trust in your Ate Emma, how your laughter is strongest at home when amongst your sisters.
Your dad and I are so thankful, acknowledging we are always under the grace of God, knowing your life is authored and blessed from His hand. Nothing escapes His ken, and we never take all the moments with you for granted. We acknowledge the honor it is to be your parents, and we look at each other sometimes in amazement of how wonderful it is to raise you, to observe you grow, and to be recipients of your trust and love. Even in the simplest things as your smile, the look in your eyes, we are thankful for His goodness. Every day, our gratefulness is renewed. Praise God for every page of your life, and now, this new chapter.