Yowzer, seven?! How did that happen? And it’s been another rocky year, hasn’t it? I once again find myself sitting here, typing, and only wishing normalcy for you.

As I write we are in the middle of our sixth lockdown. Your seventh birthday party was cancelled, and yet you responded so well. You didn’t cry. You didn’t let it diminish the excitement that fizzed out of you as your birthday approached. I admire you for that. For your ability to keep going, to still find joy, to not dwell on what couldn’t be.

We still had a lovely time, and cake with friends was still something we made possible – albeit in a COVID-safe setting.

This birthday will be your last as an only child, with your sibling due in seven months. And I can’t wait to see how you are as a big sister. I think you’ll be amazing. Your caring heart, your kindness … it’ll all be funnelled into being a big sister, I can see it now. It’s probably the best role for you, and I can’t wait to watch you master it!

This year has been an odd one, but with it we’ve seen you grow in independence. With our little street community a social and lovely one, you’ll often walk down the street by yourself in search of a friend. During COVID you’ve all taken to sending each other little notes, or treats, and I love watching the care in which you do that – and the independence of spirit as you march down the street without us, letter in hand.

This year you started basketball and gymnastics. Your social calendar – when not in lockdown – has been heaving. Funnily enough, you chose to quit basketball because you ‘wanted an evening to yourself’. It’s a hilarious thing for a seven-year-old to note, but I have to admit you were right – you did need a night without an activity. Gymnastics, however, has turned into a love. And, while you’ve never been able to sit still, now your perpetual motion is very ‘bendy’ at all times, with you often somersaulting even in story time.

You’re now settled into school. Well … as settled as you can be when it’s been stop-start for two years. But you love it. You tell me you enjoy school so much, even when you’ve had niggles with friends.

This year you’ve had to learn to stand up for yourself, after your favourite friend kept running off on you during playtime. It broke my heart when you told me you spent lunchtime up a tree, alone. You were so grateful when I said I was going to talk to the teacher about it. Part of me wanted to suggest the end of the friendship, but you are fiercely loyal, and instead called out your favourite friend for being a dick, and insisted they be better. You set the bar high missy, with your goodness, and sense of fairness. And you ask everyone else around you to be the same. Even those less emotionally mature than you. What a wonderful person you are to be around. I hope you keep that sense of social justice. Funnelled in the right direction, it’s pretty powerful!

You are absolutely obsessed with reading, much like I was at your age. The other day you said, ‘you know how you can recognise me if you’re looking for me? I’m the person with the book,’ and you’re right. Every morning you lie in bed reading for an extra hour or so (Dad and I appreciate the sleep-in, thank you), and every night, after we read with you, you read another chapter book. You seem to enjoy humorous books the best – probably because you have such a great sense of fun!

You are just sunshine to be around. It radiates out of you. You don’t walk, you bounce. You giggle constantly. You have an opinion on everything, and your chatter is non-stop. And it’s just pure joy. I find myself wishing that the joy stays with you. That you are as exuberant in adulthood as you are at age seven. It’s been a shitty time, and yet you still beam light. What a wonderful person you are becoming. I am so proud, and just love you more than I ever thought it was possible to love another person. You really are my sunshine.