You turned 10. TEN. Double digits. Child of mine, how is this possible?!
I read through your birth story last night (something I’ll share with you when you’re older and won’t make you gag) and looked through all the pictures we’ve taken of you on your birthdays to-date and my mind was more than a little blown because these years went by fast. Faster than I would have ever thought possible.
Sometimes I miss your sweet baby cheeks. I miss looking down at your darling face and eye lashes while you nurse. I miss your squeaky voice and holding your tiny hand in mine. I miss how you fit on my lap and how your face would light up when I walked into the room.
But most of the time, I don’t miss much because I’m loving the time we’re in right now. You are one of the smartest, wittiest kids I know. You’re sweet and kind hearted and have more energy than a puppy. You’re loud and enthusiastic and without shame (within reason)- all things I adore about you. You manage a crazy schedule better than I do and your joy is infectious.
Earlier tonight, you were watching a video and your laugh resonated through the house. Even though I couldn’t see the video because I was doing laundry, I couldn’t help but start laughing because of how hard you were laughing. That kiddos, is just who are you. People are drawn to you, in part, because of this joy that you have.
I won’t lie to you- the tail end of year 9 has been challenging. Your emotions are close to the surface and I never know which way the wind is going to blow. Thankfully 85% of the time you’re still your normal happy-go-lucky self. But when you’re not? It ain’t pretty for any one. Eye rolling, tears and yelling are more common place then I’d like- but these crazier times have led to some great heart-to-hearts. I promise you that no matter how many times you roll your eyes and stomp around, I’ll always be here to listen. I may get mad and I may do some stomping of my own, but at the end of the day- I’ll *always* be your soft place to land.
As you get older, here is what I want you to promise me. Promise me that you’ll:
> Keep your kind heart, it will never lead your wrong.
> Remember your manners, they’ll get you out of more tight spots than you can imagine.
> Don’t forget to laugh. If you look hard enough, there is always humor (even if it’s dark, gallows humor. Sometimes that the best kind)
> Keep perspective. There are very few things that are worth getting terribly worked up about, so learn to let things go.
> Fight for what’s right. Those very few things that are worth getting worked up about are VERY important, so don’t hesitate to fight hard for them.
> Respect yourself. You’re a smart, passionate kid who has one hell of a future. Respect your mind and your body enough to make the smart decisions to keep yourself safe and healthy, even if that means not going along with the crowd.
> Respect others. Be kind, listen to what others say, respect their feelings and be empathetic. Stand up for those that can’t stand up for themselves, even if that means not going along with the crowd.
> Blame me. As you get older and people start doing things/saying things that make you uncomfortable, blame me. “I can’t because my mom will kill me.” “I can’t because my father can smell a lie a mile away.” I’ll be the bad guy in any story you need me to be because if your heart is telling you something isn’t right, listen to it.
You, my sweet, darling, amazing child, are a complete and total miracle. We couldn’t love you more if we tried and I’ll never tire of reminding you of that. Watching you grow is one of my biggest privileges and I cannot wait to keep seeing who you turn out to be.
I love you,