Another year has come and gone and today you are turning ten and – WHOA – ten? Where have all the years gone? I find that the past few weeks, in preparing myself for your birthday I find myself more nostalgic than I have been in the past. I don’t normally get worked up over your birthdays – because I am just excited for all that lies ahead for you. Somehow, ten feels different. Ten means you’re old. Ten means I’m old. Ten. It’s kind of a big deal, no?
This year has been fourth grade and season two of competitive gymnastics and the year that you are all of the sudden wearing women’s shoe sizes. This was the year your teacher let you choose your own spelling words and you would challenge yourself each week with words like “mimeograph” and “entrepreneur” and “ambidextrous” – and do you know how many adults can’t spell those words?
You AMAZE me.
Gymnastics this season was even better than last year – because you still radiate that confidence when you compete, but this year, I see the increased skill. Your roundoff back handspring was terrific this season – and I loved watching you become more solid in your skills in your routine. I love every time you execute your routine and you finished and I could whoop and cheer for you. I am so proud of you out there.
This is the year that they are going to talk to you in school about all the “changes” that are gonna happen as you get older. I’m sorry if that talk at school emotionally scars you. I’m here whenever you need, for whatever questions you have, and I promise I won’t embarrass you or make you feel dumb for asking. I’ve always wanted to be someone you can come to with anything, no matter what it may be – and I hope you know that I’m here. I’m going to do my best to keep making sure you know that. I love you and I worry that as you get older that you will shut me out, and that’s partly your job – to be difficult and to push the boundaries that are set for you – but even if I’m pushing back and standing firm on boundaries, I’m still here for you and will always love you. Know that I’m here. No matter what.
One of my favorite things about you has always been how you have my love of reading. I’m glad we started our book club this year (even if you spoiled the ending of the “Mango Shaped Space” book for me!). And when you came home with “Bridge to Terabithia” I was so happy because I remember that book so vividly. I love that you have found the same joy in books that I have always had. I like reading what you’re reading. We need a new book; let’s pick something soon.
I love when you sing in the car. The other day, I was driving you and your friend and Pumpkin to the store and you were singing “Raise Your Glass” so loudly and unabashedly. I love that. If I could have driven safely and recorded the concert taking place behind me, I would have. The sound of singing voices makes me smile. I love to see the carefree side of you. And you? You have a beautiful voice.
For the first time recently, I noticed that you have my smile. I had kind of told myself that I was a recessive gene pool and that even though you didn’t look a thing like me, you at least had pieces of my personality. But a few weeks ago I saw it. In a picture of the two of us together, I saw our smiles and they were the same and it brought me far more joy than it probably should have. But yes, it makes me happy.
You got a cell phone this year. Your texts are my favorite. When you first started using your phone, you sent me so many “I love you” messages. Gosh, I love those. And then, that very first day you texted me from the bathroom asking where the toilet paper was and I laughed so hard that you did that. I still laugh. You are a funny kid.
When I was younger, grandma used to call me her soul child. It wasn’t that she didn’t love my sister or brother – it was just that there were ways that grandma and I are similar that my brother and sister aren’t. You are so much like me, Princess, that I can often know in any given situation how you will react. And in someways, you are probably more sensitive than I am, but for the most part, I think I read you well – I’ll try to not be obnoxious about it.
When we went shopping for birthday gifts, your sister picked out a koala bear WebKinz – you love koalas, and had asked for koalas. Somehow, in the midst of this sea of stuffed animals, she spotted the koala face and has been beside herself with excitement since-she’s too excited to even sleep! I hope you like the koala bear, and I hope you realize how much your sister truly loves you and admires you and really cares about making you happy. And I hope that once you open that bear today she starts sleeping again!
You are the queen of cupcake baking. Drawing. Writing. Singing along to the radio. Mastering gymnastics stunts. Shining blue eyes. A nose sprinkled with freckles. Radiance. A quiet self-assurance. A bit of doubt.
You impress me often – not even necessarily by doing anything, but just by being. I still remember the moment I first held you and it doesn’t even seem like it could possibly have been ten years ago already, but somehow? Ten years has gone by.
I try so hard to not say the same thing in every letter every year. I am so excited about the you that you are. I am so excited about the path that you are on. I’m excited to see where each new year takes you. You have so much ahead of you, and that’s exciting.
You’re smart and beautiful and kind and loving and creative and you have such a fun-spirit.
And today you’re ten.
I wish you the happiest of birthdays today. I hope you know how blessed I am to have you in my days. I love you with my whole heart and I am so very lucky to be your mom.
Love you lots and lots of tater tots,