She skips nearly everywhere she goes. This particular time it's to the fridge and back.

"See Mama, I'll show you. Here's my schedule. NO gym on Tuesdays. So see! I can wear my fancy shoes and fancy dress tomorrow for my birthday!"

Still skipping, now waving the yellow paper. It's only a few yards, a few seconds, but it's enough for me to choke back tears.

"C'mere, Darlin'. Give me a hug. I can't believe you're gonna be SIX!"
"Well, I can't believe you're gonna be 88!"
She waves her magic words, abracadabra, turning watery eyes into belly laughs.
"I'm not that old, silly goose!"

I hug her, probably too tightly. I read too much detail today, saw too many faces that looked far too much like hers. And I don't know whether I want to sob with grief because those children are gone or cry with gratitude because mine isn't.

So I do both.

Six years old is a delightful, beautiful, sound-out-chapter-books and skip everywhere age.
Six years old is believing in Santa, bossing the dog around and buttering your own toast (or at least making a valiant effort).
Six years old is knowing exactly which tights you want to wear, but maybe still needing just a little help to put them on.
Six years old is hands cupped over mouth in excitement, hands on hips in defiance, hands laced in mama's when the path feels momentarily too big to tread alone.

Six years old is where I find most of what's right with the world.

My little monkey is six. 

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