7th Birthday

Dear Andie,

    I truly cannot believe you are now 7 years old.  Seven!  It seems so old!   Seven is like the real deal kid stage...no longer a little kid...but just a kid now.  Where has  the time gone?   You are growing into the coolest, unique human being.  You are so comfortable being you and I never see you trying to be anyone other than your self.  I love that about you.

     It has been a huge year for you.  This year we moved to Fiji.   When we told you about the move, you were excited about the adventure, but you also cried a bit too, knowing it would hurt to leave
Atlanta.   You have a good understanding of your emotions and you are able to articulate them in ways that many adults cannot even do.  You told me that while it was exciting to move to a fun, new place that a part of you felt sad too.  You said that you had two feelings at the same time.  ( Exactly.  I did too Andie!  I still do!)   You were six when you told me that.  In my experience, most six year old kids do not articulate themselves like that.   Since we have moved here, you miss your friends, dog, family, and home in the states  You talk about them often  and long to see them.   But, at the same time, you are thriving here!  You have made so many friends and love your new school.  Just this week you told me, "I am going to miss Fiji and all of my friends here when we move back to Atlanta."   The wonderful thing is you connect with all of these friends, experiences, and places so that when you leave, you miss them and they miss you.   You are sad because the connections are real.   You make true, deep friendships instantly.  That says so much about who you are.

     Whenever we go anywhere, you immediately talk to those around you.  You are anything but shy!  Sometimes you are so forward Mommy feels she needs to hold you back so that you give people their personal space, but usually people don't seem to mind.  People are drawn to your openness and your bright smile.  They are drawn to your energy!  Andie, you have a young spirit about you.  You don't worry what others think and simply being around you can be refreshing.  You laugh freely and live fully!  You are 100% in the moment of whatever you are into at all times.  Sometimes this can drive me crazy because if you are into your art, or your legos, or your imaginary game... you don't hear me when I speak to you.   You cannot be bothered to pick up your belongings because that doesn't fit into  your game in that moment.   At home, you  frequently leave your shorts and/or underwear by the toilet because you can barely be bothered to pull them back up again!  You don't even notice that you are not wearing your clothes because you are so in your moment.   While it may make me batty at times, I love this about you too.  You put 100% of yourself into whatever you are into.  This makes you the best 7 year old artist, dancer, lego-builder and puzzle expert that  I know!

       Last week you had a dance recital.   You rocked it!  You had a huge smile and danced perfectly!  You have amazing stage presence!   Other parents came to me afterwards saying  how you stood out in the crowd with that huge toothless smile of yours!   You have always done amazing on stage whether it was in chorus in Atlanta or just in our own nightly dance parties on the porch.  You like the spotlight and perform fantastically!

      Your teachers say (and report card shows) that you are exceptionally compassionate, love to take care of others, and a good problem solver.   You look out for those that are not included and work to make them feel special.   They also say you have trouble organizing your things.   (You get that from Mommy).   You know what, I'd much rather have a disorganized kid with a huge heart than an organized one who's mean!  I see your compassion with your sister.  You hate to see her cry.  You argue with her sometimes, but more often  you all play pretend games together.  I love to hear the two of you and your imaginations running wild.   You are so creative!

      You love nature and animals.  You are happiest when you are outside (or when you are watching tv).   You are an awesome swimmer but you hate to be cold so you don't like swim practice.  You are a great cook and love to help your daddy in the kitchen. You are such an awesome dancer.  You just feel the music and let yourself go!  You play with both boys and girls, your age and younger and older.   You don't like going to sleep.  You are always scared you will miss out on something.   You wake up often at night, sprint down to our bedroom, and then speak to us at max volume like you have never even closed your eyes!  You LOVE presents.   You love knick-knack toys, especially if you feel like that toy may be un-loved by someone else.   You have a really difficult time not losing your toys, but you love them all the same.  You have an infectious laugh and love to have fun!  You are always ready to play and laugh.   Your are super cuddly and tell me frequently that you love me.  My heart melts every time.

      I love you too Andie Passin.   We are so incredibly blessed to have you in our lives.   Happy 7th birthday sweetheart.  I cannot wait to watch your grow into the amazing person you have become.  Mama loves you.



1 year old

2 years old

3 years old

4 years old

5 years old

6 years old

Your giggly self!  (almost 7 here)

The naturalist you- one with nature!  

Here are all of the past birthday letters:

          It is hard to believe, but you are now two years old.   The past two years with you have easily been the most fulfilling of my life thus far.  There is not a day that goes by that you don’t cause me to smile and feel warm with pride.  One year ago, on your first birthday you were wobbling to stand, and not quite yet walking.  That came a few weeks later.  You went from a few unsure steps in the morning to walking full laps around the house in the afternoon.  You are a quick study; very determined to master any task- walking, puzzles, buckling your seat.  You did not want help walking, and you still do not want help with almost every mission you accomplish.  From the very beginning, you have been very independent.  While at times I may be impatient with your independence, secretly I love it! I love that you are already determined to accomplish great things by yourself! 
          This year you have gone from the waddling baby, to the fiercely independent toddler.  You have gone from barely walking to running every chance you get (often away from me…straight into the street!)  You love to run around our house, shouting, “Go! Go! Go!”  If you have any toddler friends at the house, or anywhere for that matter, you lead the pack, encouraging everyone to “go, go, go” with you.  You are amazingly happy almost all of the time; although you are not shy to let me know when you are not happy – usually if you are not getting your way – not getting to swing, or watch Dora, or blow bubbles right when you want to.  You have a great, clever sense of humor and laugh easily.   Like when I told you that you had to pee to get an m &m, and you smiled and made a hissing sound with your mouth…hopeful for the candy.  Or, when you laugh hysterically every time mommy finds you in your hiding place. Or, when you tell me to look at the apple, and I correct you, “Sweetie, that is a pear.”  Your reply – “No mommy, that’s not a pear, it’s a kangaroo!” with a huge grin on your face, proud of your joke. 
          Six weeks ago, your baby sister Zoë was born.  You have been a wonderful big sister so far.  You love to hug and kiss Zoë and you always want to help out.  When she cries, you show worry and immediately try to fix the problem.  I cannot wait to watch your relationship grow.  At first I was so worried that you would feel overshadowed and doubt Mommy’s love, but the more I watch you; I see that I underestimated you.  You were meant to be a big sister.  You are already so empathetic, and you are not yet even two!
When I pick you up from school, my heart melts and I cannot help but smile hugely when you jump up and down and yell , “Mommy!”   I know the days are short when you will be so happy to see me- and I love that we both are SO excited to see each other.  There is nothing I want more in this world than to make you happy, be a good parent to you, and for you to feel loved, secure, and confident in the beautiful young person that you are.  
I love you Andie.  Happy second birthday to my amazing daughter.

Happy 3rd Birthday Andie!
      I cannot believe what a big girl you are now Andie!   You have matured so much in this past year.  Your vocabulary, your sense of humor, you r understanding of how things work and how people interact have all deepened.  Every day, you amaze me.  For starters, you are so smart.  And, I know every parent believes this about their child, but I just KNOW it about you.   You love to listen to books…even without pictures.  You follow along with the stories, asking appropriate questions throughout.  When I had to fill out a development al assessment on you for your birthday, there was a picture of a stick person.   I had to ask you what this was, and you replied, “a  human.”   I love it.   Not …daddy, or someone you know, or even a person, but “a human.”   You are insanely creative…so much so that sometimes it is hard for mommy to keep up with you in your pretend play.   You  always  have a different role for me.  I am the mean queen, or a thirsty mouse, or scary puma, or your baby.   You could play these games for hours, and unfortunately it is usually me that has to stop the game for some aspect of real life, like unloading the dishwasher or something boring like that.   But, you don’t let that stop you.  You are persistent.  You follow me everywhere, maintaining your role in whatever the pretend game is at the time, and when I talk to you as your mommy, you are quick to remind me that I am not mommy, but the mean queen.  
You are so outgoing.  You say hello to everyone!  On a long road trip to Virginia this year, you proudly announced to the whole gas station that you just pooped on the potty.  You make friends everywhere you go… preschoolers and adults.   Sometimes when we say bye to them you like to tell them, “We’ll call you later and maybe we can get together.”  That always gets a chuckle.   You have many friends.  You know how to be a leader and a follower.   A few months ago we went to see a children’s author/musician at an arts festival.  Of course you were dancing the whole time, signing at the top of your lungs.  I looked down for a minute to fix Zoë ‘s sippy cup and all of a sudden I hear you singing on stage.  The performer asked if anyone wanted to join him, and you got on stage faster than I could blink.   You decided to sing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and you sang it beautifully….loudly, but brilliantly.   The audience loved it, and that only made you sing louder.   I was so proud.   I never had that dramatic side like you.  I am inspired by your gusto. 
Even though you are so outgoing, you are also such a love bug.  You love to cuddle and be held.  You frequently tell me that you love me, and every time you do, my heart melts.  I cannot imagine loving you anymore, but I do every day.  You are incredibly empathetic, and whenever you see anyone upset, your rush to their rescue.  At such a young age, you mostly seem to understand what people need when they are sad.  You know whether they need to laugh or just need a hug.  
You are an amazing big sister.  Zoë only has eyes for you.  She laughs more with you than anyone.  She wants to do exactly what you do.   You perform for her regularly.  You tell everyone you meet about your little sister, and you introduce her with such pride!   You still hate to see her cry and can usually make her stop.   You are so patient with her.  She has just begun hitting you and pulling your hair, and I cannot believe how well you handle it!  You rarely hit back.  You have learned how to “use your words” instead.   You usually share with her and give her an endless supply of hugs and kisses. 
Today you dictated a letter to me to send to your cousin, Colin for his birthday.   This letter took very little prompting.   We wrote the first one, but ran out of room so we had to write the second one.  (You like to talk!)   I think this letter shows just how extraordinarily caring you are.  
Dear Colin,  I love you dear.  I wish we could come to your party.  I drew you a picture.  Next time I see you I will pick you a flower.  I will make you happy.  This is a giant.  Happy Birthday Colin.  Ok.  From, Andie” 
And the second one….
Dear Colin, I love you as big as the whole world.  The whole world loves you.  Don’t be scared.  I will always make you happy.  We will both be happy.   Dear Colin, I will build your own tower.  And, I will give you a sticker.   Don’t be scared.  I will make you happy.   Happy Birthday.  I am three too.   I sent you a toy for Colin.   Please write me a letter too.   I love you really much.   I will mail you this letter.  From, Andie.”
I love you, Andie.  I too love you as big as the whole world!!!    My heart bursts with this love every day. 

          Wow! You are four!   I cannot believe you are four years old!  You are such a big girl now!  There is something about four that seems so much older.   You have always seemed older than your age to me, and now that you are four…..wow.  This means that kindergarten is so close, which means that time when you are my baby…when you want to cuddle with me and be near me every waking moment…and our fun adventures together will change.  They will still continue, but it will change.   It breaks a part of my heart.  
The other part is so excited to see you grow and thrive!  You are truly amazing, Andie! I love to watch your mind at work.  You are incredibly creative! You have an imagination that knows no limits.  You love to solve problems and you are good at it.  You love to play pretend.  You could pretend all day if Mommy had the energy/time to do so.  You love to think.  Today you told me, “Wouldn’t it be neat if we had 8 eyes…so our eyes would go all around our head?”   I asked you why that would be so neat, and you said so that we could see in all directions, you would never miss anything.   Oh, and you never want to miss out on a thing.  You hate sleeping because you want to be a part of the action, all of the time!  If Daddy and I hug, you want to be a part of it.  If you hear your sister giggling, you are quick to go and find out what is going on so you can join.   You LOVE to have fun! 
Andie, you have such an amazing personality.  You know how to grab people by the heart and never let go.  You know how to charm anyone, when you choose to.  You will talk to anyone…from the lifeguards at the pool to the people in the grocery store, to the teenagers loitering on the corner.   You have a fierce love for your family.  Nothing makes you happier than when we are all together.  You are always the first to notice if everyone is in the same room, and you let us all know that the whole family is there.  You love your baby sister, Zoë.  You are exceedingly patient and loving with her.   You are always proud of her.   You worry (too much) about her.   You love to laugh with her.   The two of you have really started to play together.   You are a constant role model for her, and you fill that role well.   She only has eyes for you!   I love to watch your relationship with her grow.
You are so loving. You love to cuddle and hug, and tell those that you love how much you love them.   You can be very independent in one moment and then in the next need Mommy next to you for even the littlest things.   You have an incredible ability to focus.  If you are engaged in a project you will not quit until you have it done the way you want it.  You can sit and work on a picture, a painting, or a work of tape and cutting for 30 minutes easily.  You are completely determined.  If you have a difficult time with a task the first time, you will stick to it until you get it right.  Of course, this has to be a task that you care about.  If it is cleaning your room, forget about it!   You have definite likes and dislikes and you are not afraid to let anyone know.  You like things to go your way…as most people do.  
Andie, you have an incredible laugh that you utilize frequently.  You are so playful!  You have a huge heart and have always been empathetic naturally.   If someone is upset, you are the first one to rush to see if they are ok and try to help them to feel better.   You are such a unique, special soul Andie.  I love you SO much it hurts!   You will always be my Andie.   I am so happy that I have the pleasure of loving such a exceptional kid.   I am excited for what the future holds for you.   I love you Andie.  Happy fourth birthday.   
Love, Mommy

Dear Andie,
Right now I am sitting right outside of your room writing you this letter, waiting for you to fall asleep.  You and Zoë want to see me in your doorway to help you sleep.   You are having trouble sleeping, probably because of the big day you had today.   Today was your first day of kindergarten.
You have been five now for three weeks.  I have been delaying writing you this letter because I knew I would probably not be able to get through writing it without crying.  Now that I know you made it through a day of kindergarten, I think I can do it!  
You graduated from preschool in May.  You have been SO proud of yourself for this accomplishment.  For a whole month you talked to anyone  who would listen about how you are officially a preschool graduate!   About half way through the summer, you started asking about kindergarten.  When I ask how you feel about it, you simply say, “nervous.”  When I ask if you are excited, you say you are….but I am not truly feeling that.   I am sure it is my nerves affecting you.  
You see Andie, I have not been nervous because I think you cannot handle it.  I KNOW you can handle hard things.  You amaze me in your strength, your independence, and your confidence.   I know you can do this!   It is just that right now you are so alive.  Your spirit is invigorating.  You will sing at the top of your lungs…in the middle of Target.  You will go up to anyone, unafraid to ask questions.   This past Sunday you went to White Water Park with Lucy, and her step-dad came back and told us, “Wow, you don’t have to worry about her.  She has no fear. She only wanted to do the biggest slides.  When we told her we didn’t know if she was tall enough, she (you, Andie) walked right up to the lifeguard and immediately asked if you could ride that big slide”.  
The night before you started kindergarten, you had a dream that you couldn’t find your cubby.  It was your first anxiety dream.   It sort of broke my heart.  Even though I know you have to go through life struggles, you have to have your own heartbreak…it is hard for me to watch you struggle in any way.   I don’t want school to break your spirit Andie.  I want you to remain that incredible young girl who is afraid of nothing!  I want you to thrive in kindergarten, absorbing everything you can…making friends with those who are kind and not worrying about those who are not.  I do not want you to be like I was …constantly worrying what others thought of me.  
But, silly me.  I truly have nothing to worry about.  You will soar.  You are five years old and you are already so empathetic and creative.  You love to create stories.   Your mind is always working!  You are the sweetest big sister.  You are always looking out for Zoë.   Yesterday your bestie, Reid, wouldn’t share with Zoë and you had a heart to heart with her.  You convinced her to include your baby sister.   It melted my heart. 
Sometimes you can be completely defiant.  You have your mind made up and will fight for what you want.   While it can be frustrating now…I admire your will.  You stand up for yourself and what you think is right.  Again, I hope this stays with you for life.
When you graduated from preschool, your teachers wrote all of the students a letter.  Below is what your teachers said about you.  I couldn’t ask for a better description of you.
Andie, when you entered GPCP as a cat, you were so tiny it was hard to believe that you were even old enough to be a cat in the one year old class.  Your beautiful bright eyes were always accompanied by a smile that never stopped and so we called you Andie, the “forever smiling baby.”  We have watched you grow from that tiny little cat into a big sister ladybug picking dandelions for new baby Zoë and a nurturing friend to all.   When you first became a frog you were never out of arms length from Reid.   Then over the past two years you’ve slowly stepped out of your following your own curiosities.  Your thirst for knowledge keeps you full of questions and your willingness to always share your answers and new discoveries with us is one of the things we love most about you and why you’ve become such a great friend not just to Reid, but to us all.  If we needed advice, we could ask Andie.  If we need help figuring out what a letter looks like, we can ask Andie.  If you need to see what a fairy looks like floating fancy free through the air, we can ask Andie.  Thank you Andie for sharing your answers and stories with us.  You are a great friend to have, a beautiful singer, a confident, independent, empathetic leader and we know you are ready for whatever new curiosities kindergarten holds for you.  So step out there and keep asking great questions!   

I love you Andie Passin.   You are going to rock your fifth year!  

          Wow!  You are six!  Such a big girl now!  In two short weeks you will go on to first grade.  I cannot believe how quickly you are growing and how mature you have become.  Even in all this growth, you are still my sweet Andie.   As I was settling in to write you this letter, I heard you singing in your room as you tried to fall asleep.  You always sing with so much feeling. You truly let it go, and sing with your whole heart.  I LOVE it! I love hearing you so unabashedly sing. I love that you have no fear of judgment and can sincerely just be you!   You are like this not only with your singing, but just generally in life.  You have no fear in asking questions, walking up to strangers, riding rollercoasters, or introducing yourself to friends.  I hope that side of you stays with you forever.   Your confidence shines and attracts all those around you.  I admire you so much for this, as I was never this way!
          Also, Andie, you are an amazing friend to all that surround you.   You play with everyone and are very careful to leave no one out. You play with boys and girls and float from group to group.  You are well-liked by all.   When your friends see you in the morning, they rush to hug you and are eager to share daily news with you.  Your laugh is infectious.  You have the BEST laugh and you use it often.  You are so easy to be with because you love to make those around you feel happy; not to the extent that you sacrifice your own happiness, but in a way that everyone can feel content. 
          You love nature and I believe you are happiest when you are outside exploring.   Your kindergarten teachers often remarked on what a naturalist you are. They said that you thrived outside and loved learning about anything having to do with the environment, plants, and animals.  They also frequently commented on what a special friend you were to everyone and how you were the perfect example of what a friend should be.  Ms. Waggener mentioned that you could be uber-focused when you wanted to be, or if the subjected interested you. Sometimes, you become so focused on one task, it becomes quite difficult to remove you from the situation.  The only times you got notes home from kindergarten was if you had trouble transitioning from one task to the next.    
          When you get upset, you mostly know how to handle yourself.  You know you need some time away from your sister, me, or whomever upset you.  You usually walk away to your room, breathe, and distract yourself with something else to ease your mind.  Typically, this does not take long and you are ready to come back to us with a calm mind and heart.  Occasionally, you cry and you want Mommy to hold you, which I am happy to do.  You are still my baby.
          I have loved watching you and your daddy lately. You two are really close. He seems to understand you in a unique way.  You have an exceptional bond and I know that as you get older it will only deepen.   While you argue with your sister regularly, if she is ever upset, you are the first to rush to her side.   You take care of her like no other.   Recently, when some of your friends were at the house to watch a movie, Zoë was desperately trying to keep up with you (like she always does) and in the process was annoying your friends.   When she requested to sit next to your friends during the movie, no one wanted to sit next to her in return.  You quickly amended the situation by volunteering to sit next to her.   You knew how to make everyone feel better.  
          You are an amazing artist, an excellent tree-climber, an empathetic friend and family member; and the Passin family is incredibly blessed to have you as a member of this family.  I love you SOOOOOOO much.  I love watching your grow.  I love seeing the beautiful person you are becoming.  Every night when you sleep, I go into your room, kiss your cheek, and get emotional with pride.   My heart bursts for you Andie Passin.   Happy 6th birthday my love. 



  1. These are so beautiful Kate, what a gift you've given Andie


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