let me tell you about six-year-olds.

a six-year-old has character, a constantly blossoming personality that distinguishes her from the rest of the six-year-olds in her class, in the world.  a six-year-old knows the lyrics to her favorite songs. she knows whether or not she likes broccoli and that barack obama is our president. she knows that the recycling goes out on mondays and what the word “pregnant" means. she’s been on an airplane and she probably knows how to operate an iphone. she loves her sisters and playing hot lava monster and watching finding nemo over and over. she’s learning to read and write and play the piano. 

a six-year-old has gotten twelve million time outs. she brushes her own teeth, a few of which are currently wiggly. she runs through sprinklers. she laughs and sings and talks back and pushes boundaries. she asks “why?" seventeen trillion times.

"i don’t know," we answer, one by one. 

"but why?" she presses.

six years is longer than the time you spent as an undergrad. it is longer than most relationships people in their twenties have ever had with anyone outside of their immediate families. six years is long enough to believe that the cancer isn’t coming back, and long enough for perishables to decompose and find their way back into the earth.

six years is an eternity. 

twenty children have been killed. most of them were six. one was named Charlotte. there is also Catherine, Grace, Noah, and Jack. Rachel, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Ana, Dylan, Madeleine, Chase, Jesse, James, Grace, Emilie, Caroline, Jessica, Avielle, Benjamin, and Allison. 

a six-year-old has a favorite breakfast food. she rides bikes and dreams about what she wants to be when she grows up. she imagines weddings and graduations and feeds pretend bottles to babydolls. 

"why?" she asks.