Nine years ago this morning, I remember calling in to work saying, “I don’t think I’ll be in to work today because apparently I’m having a baby.” I called them back less than an hour later to tell them you were born. You made a swift arrival into this world, sweet pea. A swift arrival. An early morning arrival. Every year I’ve said, “You’ve been an early bird ever since!” The past week or so, however, you’ve had days where you’ve slept so late that I haven’t seen you before I leave for work – grandpa arrives to watch you and your sister and I say, “She’s still sleeping!” and he’s amazed as I am because since when do you sleep past seven a.m.?
Since now, apparently.
For your birthday, I bought you a pair of leggings from H&M with a print of pug faces all over them. They are so gaudy, but I think you are going to love them! I bought them two months ago when I was shopping for your sister’s birthday and I have been holding on to these pug pants ever since. I also picked up a pug tee, another shirt with a dog with a matching headband, socks with dogs on them, and a Web Kinz that looks like it could be our puppy’s twin. But smaller. You still really really love dogs – and while some people think, just how many dog stuffed animals does a kid need? I don’t much worry about it because you like what you like.
You’ll be entering fourth grade in the fall and you’re an amazing student – teachers really like your creative mind and your reading skills are exceptionally high. You ask amazing questions and you are curious and insightful. You’re friendly and welcoming and you like people. You have pretty awful handwriting though. Your teacher last year said he wasn’t worried about it- he could still read it and could see the thoughts you were trying to express and it wasn’t worth fussing over. I think you just get so impatient. You want to get those thoughts out. You prefer typing though.
Lately, I find you often typing stories on the computer. Or you’ll tell me about a dream you had that you plan to make into a series. You amaze me – because not only do you have all of these ideas ping-ponging around in your brain, but you’re fabulous at expressing them. While you don’t always like to share what you’ve written, when you do, I’m completely impressed. And I’m proud of you a lot and I’m proud of me a little – even though you would still be you if I wasn’t one who likes to read and write but I like to think that by seeing me read, that you decided that it wasn’t an awful thing.
Who knows. You’d probably be a writer if I was illiterate.
Your hair was cut into a short, sassy do earlier this summer and I’m in love with it – the ease of it, the elimination of that big ever-present snarl that was always a daily battle. You like to brush your hair now. You look more like YOU. A little bit older – not too much – but you were lost behind that tangled hair. You radiate and I can see your clear blue eyes and your delicate shoulders and you aren’t trapped by hair. It seems a silly thing, to be so amazed by a haircut, but it truly makes me smile.
You are empathetic and are very concerned with others’ feelings. Not just other people, but things. I worry about your heart sometimes, how much you hurt for things – you cuddle with one stuffed puppy and worry that the rest might have their feelings hurt. Your hurt is sweet and genuine and I am blown away by your big heart and your caring but I am afraid for you and afraid of the world sometimes that isn’t always kind to tender-hearted souls. I hope that you will be strong when faced with life’s challenges. But I’ll try to not worry too much about it – for I’d rather you feel too much than nothing at all.
Empathetic. Kind. Silly. Fun.
Big heart. Sweet smile.
The other day on a trolley ride, I asked if you would sit in my lap. “MOM! I’m too old to sit in your lap…in public,” you said. Good to know you’re still my little girl, even though you’re getting older.
Some days you and your sister are best friends. Some days the bickering drives me bonkers.
Some days you clean your room without asking. Some days I find ten empty Capri Sun pouches hidden behind the couch.
Some days you want to write and write. Some days you want to play at your friends’ houses until I say it’s time to come home.
I really like you, Pumpkin. Not only do i love you but I genuinely like you. I think you’re a really neat kid. I think you’re lovely. I like having you around. I am so blessed, really, to have two amazing daughters.
I am so glad you were born. I hope that 9 brings you a lot of great things. You’re gonna move mountains, miss.
Happy birthday, sweet girl. I love you with my whole heart.