As has been my habit lately, I’m writing this horribly late. I’m so sorry about that, but we’ve had such a full, fun summer that writing has taken a backseat to living. If it makes you feel any better (because I know you pay attention to these things), Scorch’s birthday post was just as late.
So you, my darling funny face turned 9 over the summer. 8 was a fun age, but 9? At 9, I expect you to soar. I like you at 9- the age suits you. You have turned into this long legged, tanned spitfire- still so much a child, but I’m starting to see the hints of the amazing young woman you’re growing into and I’m in awe.
8 was the year you continued to figure out who are you. When you were 7, you bloomed and at 8 you continued to shine. You have always had a huge sense of self, but 8 is when you started to sink into your own skin in the best way possible. We had countless conversations this year about friendships and what they mean and what they look like and how I expect you to treat others. Not because you were doing anything wrong, but because everyone around you is growing up and sometimes the world around you doesn’t always seem stable.
But we’ll always be that stable home base. Your touchstone where you can be you- which ever you you decide to be that day. Some days it’s the quiet, laid back you, content to curl up on the couch. Other days it is the touchy, miserable child who spends more time spitting fire than speaking. Some days – heck, some minutes- it’s both. And we’ll always love you no matter what.
Parenting you is my biggest joy and my biggest challenge. Scorch and I are on the same wave length, but you and I? Well, we’re different. You don’t let your true self shine around a lot of people- most often, you’re reserved and quiet. Standing out in front of a crowd of people you’re not close to is pretty much your worst nightmare. The fact that I call you one of your numerous nicknames, frequently hug you or play with your hair or – some days – even talk to you at all in public is infuriating to you. You hiss at me to call you by your real name and to stop touching you. You’re not a baby, darn it! <insert literal foot stomp here>.
So I have to temper my natural inclination to be loud, to overshare and to run my fingers through your hair. I want you to be more flexible and less worried about what others think, but I also want to be respectful of the person you are today and the amazing person I know you’ll grow to be.
So, for your 9th birthday, I have some wishes for you:
> I wish you fearlessness. I hope the child we see at home starts to explore the world more and makes her presence know. “Quiet as a church mouse” isn’t a phrase I ever want to hear again.
> I wish you joy. Joy in your friendships, joy in your family and joy in what ever pursuits you decide to try. Nothing warms my heart more than hearing your belly laugh.
> I wish you strife. Not a lot of it, obviously, but I feel like you’re on the edge- where life is going to start to get more complicated and, sadly, you’re going to have to learn how to deal with it. So I wish you small fights and sorrows today so you are better prepared to deal with the bigger ones down the road. No one’s life is sunshine and roses all the time and knowing how to be resilient will serve you well.
> I wish you friendship. I’m still friends with many of the people I knew in 4th grade. I wish you those friendships that stretch and grow with you as you make your way in the this world.
> I wish you confidence. You, child, will move mountains one day. Hold on to that knowledge, keep it close to your heart and never stop listening to the voice in your head that tells you right from wrong. It will take you exactly where you’re supposed to be.
> I wish you love. May you always have it overflowing in your life- the love of friends, of lovers, of family. A love of something- books, a sport, a hobby, a passion.
Raising you is one of the biggest privileges in my life and I’m thankful each and every day that you’re mine. I can’t wait to see what 9 brings for you, Smooch- I know you’re going to rock it!
All my love,