I can feel you slipping away from that baby girl we brought home from the hospital.
Everything in your appearance marks the passage of time.
Your limbs are sprouting out into long, olive-skinned appendages. You finger tips summon up to almost the edge of mine, when we measure our hands together. Your hair, as tousled and terse as your heritage demands, is growing like a weed. Longer hair looks good on you, but I miss those china doll ‘do days too. Those perfect little Fred Flintstone feet, once just the size of my thumb, have grown almost four sizes in a year.
You’re moving at lighting speed. I can hardly breathe.
I knew the day you were conceived. Some may balk, but I knew.
I tell you this today because as your bold persistence, refusal to be anything but independent, your immutable spirit is something I’m familiar with.
You see, that didn’t just happen.
You share half of my DNA. My genetic code. We are fighters. Survivors. Forces to be reckoned with.
When I was pregnant, your father and I went to the specialist to find out if you were a boy or a girl and if you were healthy. We took a very special sonogram that was recorded onto a video tape.
On that tape, we have about three minutes of you, in utero, pointing your finger like you were trying to tell us all what to do.
And you haven’t stopped.
Neither have I.
It is a classic case of which came first. The chicken or the egg?
I celebrate that moxie that makes you so unique. Moxie is good. You never want to let that go.
I know your moxie is also carefully grounded by your genuine compassion for others. Your empathy and enthusiasm to support those who need it is remarkable. Especially for your young age.
That is a good thing.
I am proud of that. I am proud of you.
I know that your emotional nature is deeply rooted in the fact that you care about people and things so much. That you love with all your heart and that you are loyal. These are great things.
You like rules and order but don’t necessarily want to be reminded of what they are. I get that. Structure and boundaries are necessary for success. Knowing what you need in order to achieve success is a brilliant thing. It takes the guess work out.
I see momentary flashes surging through your atmosphere, of what’s coming next. There are so many changes ahead for you. And change, is not good or bad, it’s just different.
I see you becoming more independent. More self-assured. Funnier and more strategic in your communication. I see you going farther and learning more. I see smiles and I see tears. I see confusion and I see contentment.
You have two parents that love you more than anything in the world. We support you, and co-parent in a way that leaves no gaps.
You are our first priority. Period.
You have a family of uncles, grandparents, cousins and one very big (Canadian) dragon. You have a wider circle of friends and neighbors and teachers from near and far, that are committed to you.
This is not something I ever want you to take for granted. These are your people, and you are their people. There must be appreciation and consideration of how powerful that connection is.
You will need to foster this connection as you move forward.
You tend to relationships by being the good friend, daughter, granddaughter, niece, that you are. Give your time freely. Listen more than you talk. Be kind. Be there.
Respect yourself and others.
It’s also important, when tending to relationships, to just let go of the ones that don’t want to be a part of your tribe. I know it sounds crazy, but there are people who need to be out on their own.
I don’t understand it, and you won’t either, but just let these people go. It’s not worth your energy.
These are all good practices as you grow up.
You will need your people as you move along your journey. Even when you’re my age. Especially then. There is comfort in knowing that someone, has your back.
We are your circle of life. And you are a part of ours.
I see things I cannot protect you from and things you cannot protect me from. Things you’re going to have to navigate on your own.
Learning opportunities that I wish I could relieve you of, but that’s not how it works kid.
There are no short cuts.
I spend a lot of time reminding you to focus. And you always want to know “why.” Well, this is why.
Do one thing at a time. Enjoy the process. Don’t speed through it. There are consequences for moving too fast. Missing out and creating a mess are the top two.
In just about a week, we will celebrate your 10th birthday. A decade old. Double digits.
As I said earlier, you’re moving at lighting speed. I can hardly breathe.
I can hear the clack, clack, clacking as we approach that dangerously upward-sloping section of track on this roller coaster of life.
Deeply-inhaled breath held tight, hands on safety bar, seatbelt on.
The anticipation and excitement is palpable.
The ride, unforgettable.
Thank you for being you.
I am so proud and so in love with you.
I can’t wait for the next ten years.